Showing posts with label Key West food critic mysteries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Key West food critic mysteries. Show all posts

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore #recipe @LucyBurdette



LUCY BURDETTE: With a ton of company coming this summer, it was time to try a new recipe in my crockpot, something that would pop with flavor even if it was lower in sodium. I opted for chicken cacciatore. Though there are many different versions of this dish, all include chicken, onions, peppers, seasonings, and some kind of tomato product. You can mix and match according to your family's preferences. I had fresh basil and sage, so I used those, along with dried oregano and a bay leaf. I also opted for a jar of the excellent heirloom tomato marinara sauce made by one of our local markets. You could replace that with crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and tomato paste if you prefer. I also added half a cup of red wine, plus mushrooms and baby kale at the end.

Ingredients

Four boneless skinless chicken breasts (add more for more people--there's plenty of sauce!)
One large onion, chopped
One large pepper, chopped
One large clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
One scant teaspoon dried oregano
Four fresh basil leaves, chopped 

Two fresh sage leaves, chopped
One bay leaf 
24 ounce jar marinara sauce or crushed tomatoes
10 ounces mushrooms (I used Baby Bella)
Handful of baby kale or spinach
Spaghetti of your choosing

Brown the chicken breast, either in a frying pan or in your slow cooker if it has that setting. I am lucky to have a browning setting on mine, which saves in clean-up. 



Scrape in the onions and peppers and cook another couple of minutes. Add the red wine and spices, along with the garlic. 


Let that cook down a few minutes, then add the marinara or crushed tomatoes.


Change the setting to low, and cook six hours. Add the chopped mushrooms and kale or spinach, turn the setting to high and cook another half hour. You might also add a handful of olives or several teaspoons capers if you like them and can handle the salt. 


Serve over spaghetti with Parmesan cheese grated over the top.



Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Magnificent (and Healthy!) Stuffed Peppers #recipe @LucyBurdette



LUCY BURDETTE: Before I talk about food, I wanted to acknowledge what a difficult week it's been for those in the path of Hurricane Irma. This included my beloved Florida Keys, though Key West itself sustained less damage than the islands further north. (And also in the Caribbean islands further south.) My heart is down there with the workers who are trying to restore phone, electric, water, and sewer service--and with all those anxiously awaiting news of their homes and businesses. I'm hoping and praying that life can return to something like normal soon on that magical spray of islands...

Now back to food...Two things happened this week that led me to this particular post. First, our green peppers began to ripen in the garden. Aren't they gorgeous? And second, in my quest to slowly clean stuff out of my closet and drawers, I found an old cast iron frying pan that came from my dad. He worked for International Nickel Company his whole career, and he was very proud of the nickel plating on this pan. I did not take care of it the way my sister does with her cast-iron pans, which is to say, don't wash them with soap. Instead, clean them with water and then oil them. You can see the logo on the back of the pan testifying that it came from the Griswold company in Erie Pennsylvania. Apparently they stopped making these in 1957, and it seems as though I have a collectors' item. So I thought I better start using it! (Even if I've possibly ruined the finish.)

I have a recipe for stuffed peppers which both John and I have loved. Unfortunately it's fairly high in sodium because of the sausage and the spaghetti sauce that I used to choose. And don't forget the cheddar cheese! If you're not concerned about sodium, you can find that recipe here. It was also a favorite of my mother-in-law. 


Meanwhile here are the instructions for this updated version, which was also delicious. 

Ingredients

5 to 6 large green peppers
One large or two smaller onions, chopped
One hot pepper, diced
Handful of fresh basil, shredded
24 oz spaghetti sauce (Mine came from a local store, Bishops, and has only 140 mg sodium 
per quarter cup)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Half cup rice (I use brown)
Half cup water
1 to 1 1/4 pounds ground beef

Brown the beef and set it aside to drain. Add a dollop of olive oil to the pan and sauté the chopped onions, Hot pepper, and rice for a few minutes. Add the sauce, the water, the beef, and the Worcestershire sauce, and sliced basil, and simmer this until the rice is soft, half hour to 45 minutes depending on the brand you use.

Slice the peppers lengthwise, and take out the seeds and webbing. 


Place them in a greased 9 x 13 hand. When the beef mixture is ready, fill the pepper shells with the sauce and top with a little grated Parmesan if you desire.Bake at 350 for half an hour or until the peppers are soft and the stuffing bubbly. Here's the whole photo review:


chopped peppers, onions and basil

Everything is browning
simmering in my father's pan
Stuffed and ready to bake
Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fresh Tomato Tart #recipe @LucyBurdette



LUCY BURDETTE: I was thinking of making a southern tomato pie, a la Paula Dean, as our tomatoes are coming in thick and fast. But reading the recipe, a cup of mayonnaise? And all that cheese and butter and salt? Fortunately, an email came into my inbox from David Lebovitz, and he had a link to a rustic tomato tart. And then I remembered a high calorie version I'd prepared with puff pastry. I decided I could combine the three and hopefully come up with something delicious. I used David Lebovitz's tart dough (though with less salt,) which is easier than a piecrust. And the whole thing is less overwhelming than a Southern mayonnaise pie!

Ingredients

Two large ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly
Fresh basil, as much as you please (8-12 leaves), sliced
One shallot or a bunch of green onions, chopped
About 3/4 of a cup grated cheese (I used the end of a fresh mozzarella ball and some Swiss)
Grated fresh Parmesan for the top
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or even less)
2 teaspoons mustard of your choice (I used my favorite Kozlic's Amazing maple)
Several drops or more Tabasco

For the crust

One and a half cups flour
4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
One large egg
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Cut the butter into the flour. I did this using my food processor. Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of water and beat together. Add this to the food processor and pulse until the batter holds together. Here's where you can add more water if you need, I did not. Roll this out between a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom and a piece of waxed paper on top. And transfer it to a baking sheet on the parchment paper and peel off the waxed paper.

Mix mayo with mustard. Spread the mayonnaise mustard mixture onto the bottom of the tart, leaving the outside edges bare. Arrange the chopped shallots over the mayo, followed by tomato slices and basil. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and fold in the edges. Bake at 385 until brown and bubbly, 30-35 minutes.










Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Strawberry Sorbet with a Hint of Mint


LUCY BURDETTE: We had the most incredible crop of strawberries this year. We couldn't keep put up with eating them, so we froze quite a few, mixing in a little sugar. I wanted to use some before they became afflicted with freezer burn and ended up in the compost heap. Since we were about to celebrate John's birthday with his favorite chocolate cake, I found a recipe for strawberry sorbet on the eatingwell.com website, which I tweaked with less vanilla and some mint. I thought it would be a treat for the people who don't eat chocolate, and a nice touch added to a slab of cake!

Ingredients

6 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
I squeeze of lemon
A sprig of mint




The strawberries you use for this recipe can be fresh or frozen. If frozen, let them thaw enough to separate. But make sure they are delicious, not the cardboard kind you get out of season. Grind the strawberries in a food processor until smooth.




Meanwhile, in a pan, combine the water, sugar, vanilla, lemon, and mint. Heat the mixture and simmer until the sugar melts. Discard the mint.




Stir the sugar mixture into the strawberry mixture and refrigerate for several hours until very cold.

Prepare in your ice cream maker as the manufacture directs. We loved the hint of mint!



I found with using frozen strawberries that I probably could have done without the ice cream maker step by freezing the mixture briefly. I don't think this would work with fresh strawberries, but let me know if you try it. If you freeze this overnight after making, it will come out hard as a rock, so let it thaw for a bit before serving.

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...









Thursday, August 3, 2017

Summer Spring Rolls #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: My sister and I were talking about the problem of lunch a couple weeks ago.  What can you fix day after day that is healthy and delicious? Do you have this problem too? We happened to order some spring rolls as a snack while at a wedding, and I thought they would be fun to try--especially since we have so many good vegetables available right now. I tried two sauces, one bottled sweet and spicy sauce from the Ginger People, and the other a homemade peanut butter ginger sauce. We really loved the peanut butter version most.

Ingredients for the sauce

Three scallions chopped
1 inch fresh ginger peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons good quality peanut butter
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup, or to taste
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons Siracha or other hot sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons water, to thin

Sauté the scallions and ginger in a little olive oil. You could also chop up a garlic clove if you wish. Add the peanut butter, the vinegar, the syrup, the hot sauce, the soy sauce and stir to combine. Add water to thin it to your desired consistency. Set this aside.

Ingredients for the rolls (this is very flexible!)

Rice paper wrappers (found in Asian section of the grocery store)
Shrimp (or tofu, though my hub says ick to that)
Cucumbers
Mango or avocado or even peaches
Carrots
Chopped mint, cilantro, or basil
Sprouts or lettuce or arugula or spinach

Clean and cook your shrimp and set aside. Cut the soft vegetables into lengthwise strips. Shred the carrots. Chop the herbs.

To prepare the rolls, soften the wrappers one at a time in water for 20 to 30 seconds until limp. Spread the first one out on a damp paper towel. Layer the ingredients in as the spirit moves you. You could add a drizzle of the peanut butter sauce to these ingredients, or you can serve the sauce on the side as I chose to. Wrap the ingredients together by folding in the top of the wrapper, then the sides, and then roll it up. Serve them right then and there or refrigerate under a damp paper towel until ready.



laying out the ingredients

Starting the sauce

Everything ready to go


layering it all on

aren't they cute??

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Roasted Tomato #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: you may be scratching your head and saying why, why Lucy, do we need to roast tomatoes? We have been waiting all year for fresh tomatoes and we want to eat them exactly as they are. My answer? If you have a garden, or a neighbor who has a garden, or you haunt the local farmers market, you may find yourself with a tumult of tomatoes--way more then you can possibly eat before they start to go bad. And at that moment, you will thank me for this recipe! (Which is really more of a suggestion or a reminder than it is an actual recipe.) Once the tomatoes are roasted, you can freeze them in batches for soups and sauces, where they add a rich deliciousness to the flavor...

Ingredients

A tumult of tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt or garlic as you wish

Cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Toss them with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt or fresh garlic, as you wish. On a large sheet pan, prepared with oiled parchment paper, lay the tomatoes out.




Roast at 350 until collapsed and beginning to brown. This could take 2 plus hours, depending on the size of the tomatoes. You could add herbs such as thyme or basil, but I would do that later in the cooking process so they don't burn.


That's it! Stir into pasta, or add into soup instead of canned tomatoes, or serve on their own as a delicious side...


Now, did you post an entry to our 7th anniversary contest? It's so easy and the prizes are amazing. Here's the dope...

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Swiss Cheese and Mushroom Quiche @LucyBurdette #recipe



LUCY BURDETTE: At our local farmers market in Connecticut, one vendor sells all kinds of mushrooms. I confess that I am a white mushroom consumer, though I have started using baby Bellas to branch out a bit. But this man's mushrooms look so good that I decided to try a recipe that could use one of his more adventurous varieties. He recommended shiitakes. I found a recipe in the Moosewood cookbook for a mushroom Swiss cheese quiche, and then set about tweaking to taste.

Ingredients

One large onion
1/4 pound mushrooms of your choice
Herbs of your choice (I used dill and thyme from our garden)
Four eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
 A couple shakes of Tabasco or cayenne
One crust 

Make the crust and set it aside. My father's recipe is pretty darn foolproof, but I tried the Moosewood version this time--cut 6 tablespoons of butter into a cup and a half of flour. Add water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together in a mass. Roll out between two sheets of waxed paper and plop into the 9-inch pie plate. (Delicious, by the way--and not a grain of salt in it!)

Next up: Grate the cheese. Chop the onions and put these to sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil. Wipe the mushrooms down, slice them, and add them to the sauté pan. Cook until soft and slightly brown. Sprinkle in the herbs of your choice. 


Whisk together the milk, flour, and eggs and mustard – I used the food processor and it couldn't have been easier. Add a few drops of Tabasco sauce.

Layer the ingredients into the crust: Cheese, followed by vegetables and herbs, milk and egg mixture.

Bake at 375 until golden and the center is set.




Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Now a question, do you post reviews and photos of books you've read on Instagram? I hear it's quite a thing these days....