Showing posts with label Berry the Hatchet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Berry the Hatchet. Show all posts

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Weekday Bolognese Sauce #Recipe @PegCochran


This recipe comes from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything FAST.  It's a great cookbook with recipes that are fast but not boring and are still full of real ingredients. Many of the recipes are variations on a theme--you start with a base recipe and alter it this way or that way to produce different dishes.

While this bolognese did not have the incredible depth of Marcella Hazan's recipe which cooks for hours, it did have fantastic flavor and it's great to know you can pull it together on a weeknight!

Ingredients:

2 TBL olive oil
1 lb. ground beef, pork or veal or a combination of all 3 (I used beef)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red or white wine
1/4 cup cream
1 lb. spaghetti or pasta of your choice
Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat 2 TBL oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the meat, chopped onion, celery, carrot and onion. 

Brown meat




Add veggies to browning meat


When the meat is browned add 1/4 cup tomato paste and cook, stirring, about a minute.  Add wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.   Add diced tomatoes and let simmer until wine reduces by half.  Stir in cream and turn the heat as low as possible.


Add tomato paste, wine and cream

Boil pasta and drain, saving some of the pasta water.

Add some of the pasta water to the sauce if you want it saucier.  Pour over spaghetti, add grated Paremesan and enjoy!



As a variation, add 1 pound finely chopped mushrooms, or use half the meat and twice the amount of veggies, or omit the can of diced tomatoes.

These instructions are not exactly as Bittman wrote them--he gives a step-by-step timeline of what to do when.  I prefer having my chopping all done before I start, but that's up to you.


Amazon 

The entire town of Cranberry Cove is popping with excitement. Monica Albertson is baking cranberry goodies by the dozen and shopkeepers are decking out their storefronts for the first annual Winter Walk—an event dreamed up by the mayor to bring visitors to the town during a normally dead time of year.

But it’s the mayor who turns up dead during the grand opening ceremony, his lifeless body making its entrance in a horse-drawn sleigh. Monica’s mother and stepmother quickly become the prime suspects when it’s discovered that the mayor was dating both of them, and to make things worse, her half brother Jeff uncovers a clue buried near one of the bogs on Sassamanash Farm. Now it’s up to Monica to find out who really put the mayor on ice.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Grandma Mary's Bean Soup #Recipe @PegCochran

I've been trying to work my way through some of the food stocked in the big freezer we have out in the garage.  When something I use frequently--like chicken--is on sale, I will stock up.  But the freezer is getting a little too full and since it seems the apocalypse has been delayed for the time being, I thought I'd better start using some of the frozen food.

 While I was poking around I discovered the ham bone I'd saved from Easter dinner (I also found the ham bone I'd saved from the *previous* Easter's dinner but that's a story for another time.)  I always loved my mother-in-law's bean soup which she made after Easter with the ham bone, and fortunately I had the recipe so here it is!

Ingredients:

2 quarts boiling water
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns (I didn't count)
1 onion, peeled
3 whole cloves
1 lb. great Northern beans

I know there's an enormous divide among those who believe beans need to be soaked and those who don't.  I decided to be on the safe side and I soaked the beans overnight in cold water.

If there are any good bits of ham still clinging to the bone, or if you've saved some ham, cut it into bite-sized pieces and put it aside.

Put all of the above in a large soup pot, bring to a boil, skim the foam from the top and lower the heat to a gentle simmer.  Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  My beans must have been very fresh because they only took 2 hours to become soft and tender.



Optional step:  Since I had time before dinner, I put the soup in the refrigerator until the fat congealed on top making it super easy to remove.

Congealed fat--so easy to skim off!

More Ingredients:

carrots, sliced
parsnip, sliced
onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Leftover cubed ham
salt and pepper to taste



You will note there are no quantities for some of these ingredients.  The recipe called for 6 carorts, 3 parsnips and 3 onions.  That seemed excessive especially given the size of my carrots.  I put in 1 parsnip, 2 carrots and 1 onion.  It made for a full pot of soup and I didn't think it needed anymore.  Use your judgment.  If you LOVE carrots, you can add more.

Add the above along with the ham to the soup pot and cook another 30 minutes or until the veggies are cooked.  Mine took forever.  Note to self: make thinner slices next time.



Add a sprinkle of paprika (about a teaspoon or to taste), stir and serve.  If you want to go all retro, enjoy with buttered saltines.  If you want to be very grown-up, serve with good crusty bread.

For more good recipes, and a good mystery, pick up a copy of Berry the Hatchet, #2 in my Cranberry Cove series!



Coming in September -- an all new series!

 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Massaged Kale Salad #Recipe @Peg Cochran

I first read about the concept of "massaging" kale in the Huffington Post. It's not as kinky as it sounds--trust me, this is a G rated recipe!  Since I am always looking for new ways to get my husband to like kale, I decided to give it a try.  Ingredients are simple:

Bunch of kale
Olive oil - a tablespoon or two
Salt

First you need to remove the tough center stems from the kale.  The easiest way to do this is to fold the leaf in half and run your knife down the stem.  Then while the leaf is folded in half, you can slice across it to make salad-sized pieces.



 Kale stripped of its stems and cut into bite-sized pieces.  
This is pre-massage.  It looks a little tense, doesn't it?

Place your cut up kale in a salad bowl.  Add approximately one tablespoon of olive oil (quantity depends on how big your bunch of kale is.)  Add a sprinkling of salt to taste then begin the massage!  Rub the pieces of kale between your fingertips.  As you rub, you will notice the leaves become silkier and less "scratchy" to the touch.  Continue until you have massaged all of the leaves--it will take a couple of minutes.  The kale should be soft and silky and taste almost sweet.


 Ahhhhh.   Doesn't that kale look more relaxed now?  
This is the salad post-massage. 

Serve as is or add a dash of your favorite vinegar.


GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate the release of Berry the Hatchet, the second book in my Cranberry Cove series, I am giving away one copy to someone who leaves a comment below!



The entire town of Cranberry Cove is popping with excitement. Monica Albertson is baking cranberry goodies by the dozen and shopkeepers are decking out their storefronts for the first annual Winter Walk—an event dreamed up by the mayor to bring visitors to the town during a normally dead time of year.

But it’s the mayor who turns up dead during the grand opening ceremony, his lifeless body making its entrance in a horse-drawn sleigh. Monica’s mother and stepmother quickly become the prime suspects when it’s discovered that the mayor was dating both of them, and to make things worse, her half brother Jeff uncovers a clue buried near one of the bogs on Sassamanash Farm. Now it’s up to Monica to find out who really put the mayor on ice.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saucy Spicy Baked Cod #Recipe @PegCochran #Giveaway

We've been trying to eat more fish since it is low in calories and good for you. Okay, I've been forcing my poor husband to eat more fish even though he doesn't care if it's low in calories and good for him!

Fish is expensive so we're sticking to the more mundane fish--no Chilean sea bass or anything like that. I've found that cod is reasonably priced and a fairly "meaty" fish so you don't feel like you want to go out for a burger or pizza after you've had it for dinner.

This recipe is super simple. I found it online somewhere and tweaked it a bit. It's quite tasty considering that cod is a relatively bland fish. I served it with a salad of massaged kale which I will tell you about in my next blog post--stay tuned!


2 cod fillets, (to serve two people -- ours were around 4 ounces each)
salt and pepper to taste
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
chopped garlic--I used around 2 teaspoons
squeeze of lemon juice
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce--more or less depending on your tolerance for heat

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Rinse fish and pat dry

Combine olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and sriracha together and stir



Season cod with salt and pepper and pour the marinade over fish



Marinate in a baking dish for 30 minutes (turn the fish over halfway through)

Bake for approximately 20 - 25 minutes until fish is flaky

   

This is a super easy and healthy weeknight dinner!

I am so excited that book #2 in my Cranberry Cove Series will be out on May 3! Have you pre-ordered Berry the Hatchet yet? You know you want to catch up with Monica, Jeff, Gina and the gang!



The entire town of Cranberry Cove is popping with excitement. Monica Albertson is baking cranberry goodies by the dozen and shopkeepers are decking out their storefronts for the first annual Winter Walk—an event dreamed up by the mayor to bring visitors to the town during a normally dead time of year.

But it’s the mayor who turns up dead during the grand opening ceremony, his lifeless body making its entrance in a horse-drawn sleigh. Monica’s mother and stepmother quickly become the prime suspects when it’s discovered that the mayor was dating both of them, and to make things worse, her half brother Jeff uncovers a clue buried near one of the bogs on Sassamanash Farm. Now it’s up to Monica to find out who really put the mayor on ice.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!

GIVEAWAY! 

If you haven't read the first book in the series, Berried Secrets, leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy!


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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Chicken Breasts with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Olives #Recipe @PegCochran

I found this recipe on-line.  It comes from Molly O'Neill of the NY Times.  I'm going to give you her original quantities--I adapted the recipe for me and my husband (plus one leftover for my lunch!)

I always think things cooked in foil packets are fun!  I've done fish like this, too.  Just be careful when you open the packet--lots of steam will pour out.

Ingredients:
10 calamata olives, pitted and minced
8 sun-dried tomato halves in oil, cut into strips
3 tablespoons oil from sun-dried tomato jar or plain olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped basil or parsley (I used parsley)
salt and pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine olives, sun-dried tomatoes, their oil and your choice of herbs in a bowl and mix.




Tear off four piece of aluminum foil large enough to hold the chicken breasts.  Spray with non-stick spray on the shiny side.  

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place each breast slightly off-center on foil pieces.  Spoon tomato mixture over each breast.  



Fold foil over chicken and crimp to make packets.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  Let sit five minutes before serving.   






Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies for #Bookclubweek from @PegCochran & #Giveaway

Welcome to our Book Club!  Hi Lisa, Fred, Tina, Dru Ann, Shelley, Kathy, Sue and SueAnn.  Help yourselves to some cookies and a glass of wine or sparkling punch and have a seat.  There's the doorbell--I'll be right back.

Now that we're all here, let's enjoy some delicious bourbon bacon chocolate chunk cookies.  When I told my husband about this recipe, he was VERY skeptical.  Now he's a convert!

So, without further ado, here is the recipe which comes from Recipe Girl via a famous bourbon maker (I used a different brand--don't tell!)

Ingredients:

3/4 pound center cut thick bacon
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup reserved bacon fat, chilled until solidified
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon of your choice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Saute bacon until golden and crisp.

 Center cut thick bacon




Fry bacon until crisp and golden, drain on paper towels and chop into small pieces.

  
           






 Reserve 1/2 cup bacon fat and refrigerate until solidified.

 Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

With a mixer, cream butter, reserved bacon fat and sugar.  Add bourbon and vanilla and combine.  Add eggs one at a time and combine.  Beat in flour mixture and stir in bacon and chocolate chunks.







Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookies sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes (mine took 11 minutes.)  Cool on cookie sheet for five minutes then transfer to rack to cool completely.




 Enjoy!  Now let's begin our book discussion.

Tonight we'll be talking about Berried Secrets, the first book in my Cranberry Cove Series.



Here are a few ideas for things to discuss:

1.  Monica's business has failed so she leaves Chicago to go to Cranberry Cove to help her half-brother Jeff with his cranberry farm.  Would you be willing to do that for a sibling? Or do you think Monica should have stayed in Chicago and tried again with another business?

2.  Monica's fiance was killed in a swimming accident.  She is attracted to Greg Harper, owner of Book 'Em, a mystery bookstore in Cranberry Cove.  Should she risk dating again?  How long should someone wait after a tragedy or a break-up?

3. Cranberry Cove is a small town and gossip runs rampant (very useful when trying to solve a murder!).  Do you gossip?  Do you believe everything you hear?  Or do you close your ears to wagging tongues?

I'd love to give away a copy of Berried Secrets to someone who leaves a comment!  Tell me whether you'd prefer small town living or big city life!

And coming in May 2016 is Berry the Hatchet, book #2 in the Cranberry Cove series. 



 
Available for pre-order now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for joining my book club today!  Hope to see you back again.  Meanwhile, stop by my website to sign up for my newsletter--I'll keep you informed of new releases, contests and giveaways. And I love interacting with readers on my Facebook page.

Some of my other books you might enjoy:



Writing as Meg London: