Showing posts with label Peg Cochran. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peg Cochran. Show all posts

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Chicken with Balsamic Glaze

I love recipes that are quick, easy and yet have that little something "extra" to them.  I thought this recipe fit the bill so I decided to try it.  I made a few changes to it so I'll give you the original recipe plus the options I came up with!  It was a big hit with both me and hubby, and I'll definitely make it again.

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 large boneless, chicken breasts cut in half horizontally (I used four boneless chicken thighs instead)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half (I used half a pint and it was plenty in my opinion)
2 minced cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
basil leaves, sliced

First make the balsamic glaze.  Put the vinegar in a small pan over medium high heat.  Reduce until the consistency of a syrup. (I over reduced and got an almost jam like consistency. Easily fixed by adding a bit of water and reheating it.)

Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat the oil until very hot.  Add the chicken and let brown for about one minute. Turn the breasts and brown the other side.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and cook for approximately ten minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken to a serving dish and keep warm.

Turn the heat back up to high and reduce liquid in pan until it is syrupy.  Reduce heat to medium and add the onions.  Saute until the onions are soft.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds then add the tomatoes. Cook for two minutes (I wanted my tomatoes cooked more so I cooked them longer than that.) 

There were so many lovely browned bits in the pan that I decided to deglaze it with a tablespoon or two of water at this point but that's optional.

Spoon onion/tomato mixture over chicken and drizzle balsamic glaze on top. Sprinkle with basil.


This was a little too thick--I had to add water

Chopped veggies ready to go

Brown chicken

Saute veggies

Enjoy!


Listen to my Podcast!


I just recorded a fun podcast with the lovely Jenny Wheeler of Binge Reading about reading and writing cozies!  You'll love her delightful New Zealand accent!

https://thejoysofbingereading.com/peg-cochran-cozy-mystery-queen/ 



The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.

Follow me on Facebook to learn about upcoming giveaways! 

 


Monday, September 4, 2017

Around the Kitchen Table - Unusual Food Pairings







Welcome to Around the Kitchen Table, our monthly chinwag!  We look forward to the conversation with you today (and always).  Be sure to leave a comment today and you may win this terrific Mystery Lovers Kitchen tote bag.  Be lucky and have fun!

Recently I was doing some research into unusual food pairings. Amazingly, many of the articles on the subject list foods that make perfect sense to me. Who hasn't had peanut butter and jam on a bagel? After all, bagels are bread. A lot of the pairings seemed to be the silly things we eat when someone forgot to go to the store, like cream cheese on Oreos, and marshmallows in popcorn.

But I found some oddball combinations, too. Apparently, there really is such a thing as dill pickle ice cream. Has anyone tried it? Or how about Elvis's favorite peanut butter sandwich with banana and bacon? So many of the unusual combinations matched a sweet with something salty. Peanut butter and tomato sandwiches? French fries dipped in milkshakes? Potato chips in your sandwich? Pancakes instead of bread to make a sandwich?



My mom used to make German pancakes for dinner. She served a big salad first, and then I was allowed to eat my pancake (slightly thicker than a crepe) with sugar sprinkled on it and rolled up like a crepe. I still remember that lovely crunch of the sugar. My parents ate a fruit compote with theirs but sugar was all I wanted. The combination wasn't nearly as weird as my parents allowing me to do it!

What strange food combinations have you tried?


🍴


LUCY BURDETTE: You've reminded me that my best friend and I used to eat sandwiches with gherkins and potato chips layered right in. They were delicious! Right now I'm on a serious kick with candied pickled jalapenos. I originally bought them to dress up July 4 hot dogs (no sodium in them at all!) After seeing my son-in-law chop them up and toast on cream cheese and bagels, I've been obsessed. Today I had them sprinkled over avocado toast with sliced radishes. Makes my mouth water...These are made by the Backyard Food Company in Rhode Island...


🍎

Sheila: While I was a very cautious eater as a child (heck, the categories of food on my plate couldn't even touch each other, and I had to eat the protein first, then the starch, and finally the veggies), I've lost all my food inhibitions now. Sometimes it's easier when you travel in foreign countries, because you don't know what it is you're about to chew on, only that it smells good. In the Yucatan I sampled turtle, conch, and corn ice cream. In Australia I discovered that they put sliced beets in all take-out sandwiches, which gets kind of messy and turns the bread pink. In Washington DC I discovered sliced octopus with smoked paprika--first time I'd eaten either, but I've kept a large container of smoked paprika in my pantry ever since.


🍑

Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane Maffini The top of my head is blowing off with this topic!  I do have to say though, according to some, Canada's alleged national dish is POUTINE.  And what you ask is poutine?  It's a French Canadian creation that pair fresh French fries with cheese curds (lots available locally) and gravy.  It looks like road kill (I'll spare you a photo) but the taste it's unbelievably yummy.  Running a close second is a new to me product: chocolate coated potato chips.  Should this be legal?  I don't know, but I think it would give heroin a run for its money.  Just sayin'.  Think before you take that first bite! 


🍒

Linda Wiken I used to love, as my Sunday morning breakfast treat, waffles with butter, real maple syrup, and a fried egg on top. Of course, there had to be a runny yolk involved! What a tasty mouthful that was. I'm glad you've asked this, Krista because I had forgotten all about my concoction. I'll have to give it a try this Sunday and see if it's still as yummy as I remember. And you know, because it's real maple syrup, thanks to my friend who does the entire tapping and distilling process at his lot, there are no calories!


🍇


chocolate cheddar ice cream
Daryl Wood Gerber:  Krista, I adore french fries dipped into my milkshake. I have also eaten a chocolate omelet with sour cream on top. That was a specialty at the Egg and Eye restaurant (since closed). I never thought I'd like cheese with jam, but after writing the Cheese Shop Mysteries, that has become a go-to match for me and for my family. It makes for such a pretty cheese platter, as well. I've always liked cheese with apples and grapes, but jam? It hadn't occurred to me. I have tried bacon fudge, and bacon ice cream. I haven't tried (nor will I) pickle ice cream. I've heard of garlic ice cream but haven't tried that yet. I love salted caramel ice cream, so the sweet and savory do work for me. Oooh, maybe salted caramel ice cream with bacon?? Oh, yeah, I've got to try this! I made chocolate cheddar ice cream and shared that recipe here on MLK. It was delicious!


🍓

Cleo Coyle: Great topic, Krista. Marc and I are always intrigued by oddball pairings—our own included!
Fudge and Fried Chicken for Christmas?
See our oddball holiday blog post here.
On the foodie front, the subject reminds us of one of the strangest food pairing posts we ever did. Fudge and Fried Chicken, as it turns out, is a tasty combination! You can see the post here, which came about after we learned that KFC fried chicken has become a wildly popular Christmas dinner in Japan. (No kidding, it’s so popular they place orders far in advance. The post explains how this foodie phenomenon came about.) The chocolate fudge, on the other hand, was a yuletide tradition in Marc’s family, so we combined the two for our holiday post. Of course, Fried Chicken and Waffles has been a beloved combo for years. As a soul food dish, it’s served at two famous Harlem restaurants: Sylvia’s and Amy Ruth's. We even paid tribute to the Amy Ruth's in one of our Coffeehouse Mysteries (Once Upon a Grind). The head chef there once said her secret to a great batter is praying before she cooks. The Amish would agree with that! They also have a version of Fried Chicken and Waffles, which they serve covered in gravy. The soul food leans toward maple syrup. That sweet and salty combo with the drizzle of syrup all over the crunchy waffles and fried chicken batter makes for truly amazing eating!

🍊

PEG COCHRAN: My mother and grandmother also made us German pancakes, Krista! Only we had ours filled with cottage cheese that they added sugar, cinnamon and a raw egg yolk (can you imagine??) to. Then of course, sugar on top. I've eaten a lot of strange foods--like durian in Asia--but not so many odd combinations. I guess chili chocolate might be one of them. The combo of spicy/hot with the sweet and creamy really floats my boat! One time I also made chocolate chip cookies with bacon--they were good but then bacon anything... I also put 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder in my chili. And this weekend my granddaughter Camille created her own interesting combination--two waffles with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff between them. We've christened it "The Cami."
🍴

Leslie Budewitz: Ha! Looks like I'm the first of the Kitchen Crew to flunk our Table Talk! I honestly can't think of any odd food pairings I enjoy -- and Mr. Right tells me putting salt on chocolate no longer qualifies, and dipping my fries in mustard never did qualify. In fact, he compliments my ability to pair salads, main courses, and wine in good flavor combinations. (He, on the other hand, will happily combine leftovers I think have no business getting any closer to each other than sharing a shelf in the fridge -- chili and turkey, topped with salsa, or gravy, in a tortilla? Mmm, no thanks!) Like several of my blog sisters, I love discovering new foods when I travel -- we'll talk about that next month -- but combos? Oh, yay -- I finally came up with one. At Bistro Paul Bert in Paris, we ate a chocolate torte with creme anglaise and a basil sauce. A bit odd, yes? And simply divine! Hmm, we have basil. How will it go with Tillamook's Oregon Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Ice Cream, served with my very own Chocolate-Cabernet Sauce? Come on over and we'll try it!


What strange food combinations have you tried?

🍍🍜 🍡 🍵

.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Almond Flour Tart #Recipe @PegCochran

This is a Mark Bittman recipe I discovered and decided to try.  Hubby loves sweets but also has to watch his carbs so I thought this cake would be perfect with the substitution of Splenda for sugar.  I also had blueberries on hand so I decided to live dangerously and threw those in!

I ended up making this again a couple of nights later--that's how much he liked it.  But then he likes anything with sugar in it so take that with a grain of...er...salt.  These pictures are from the first time I made it--I thought my skillet was a little too big so the second time I used an 8" cake pan, and it turned out perfectly.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ to ¾ cup sugar (according to personal taste) or substitute the same amount of your favorite artificial sweetener that can be used for baking
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, more if you want to garnish the top of the cake
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Powdered sugar for garnish


Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, ground almonds, cream, sliced almonds, lemon zest and juice.




Melt butter in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over low heat.


Add almond mixture to pan, tilting pan to distribute batter evenly. 



Continue to cook tart on stove top until edges just begin to set, then put pan in oven and finish cooking, about 10 to 15 minutes more.




When tart is done, put it in broiler for about a minute or until just golden on top. Mine came out of the oven already quite golden so I skipped this step. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and sliced almonds.  


It doesn't look too pretty--my skillet was too 
big--but it was delicious!




Bon Appetit!




The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.

Follow me on Facebook to learn about upcoming giveaways! 

 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

San Francisco Pork Chops #Recipe @PegCochran


I found this recipe online but now I've lost the name of the site.  There are numerous recipes for San Francisco Pork Chops but I couldn't find any reference to how they got their name.  I can only guess that the name is a nod to San Francisco's Chinatown because of the inclusion of soy sauce in the recipe. 

Most recipes were similar to this one although some gave directions for making this in your slow cooker.  Either way, we thought it was delicious.  Perfect when served over rice or with mashed potatoes to soak up the delicious sauce.

San Francisco Pork Chops


Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 boneless pork chops
1 clove garlic, minced 

1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup soy sauce 
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water 

Directions

Dry pork chops on paper towels.  Recipe is for four but I made only two for the two of us.


Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add chops and brown on each side, approximately 5 minutes per side.  




Remove to a platter.

Add garlic and onions to oil remaining in skillet and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and onions are soft.
  

Whisk broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, 2 tsps. vegetable oil and red pepper flakes in a bowl until combined and brown sugar is dissolved.  




Return chops to pan, add soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil.  Cover skillet and reduce heat to low.  Simmer until pork chops are cooked but still tender.  


This will depend on the thickness of your chops but start checking at 15 minutes.  Chops should reach an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees.

Transfer chops to your serving platter.  Whisk cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth.  

Stir into liquid in the pan and stir until thickened, about five minutes.

Pour over chops and serve. 

 
 Bon Appetit!



The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.

Follow me on Facebook to learn about upcoming giveaways! 

 

Monday, August 7, 2017

AROUND THE KITCHEN TABLE: CHAOS IN THE KITCHEN #GIVEAWAY


Welcome to Around the Kitchen Table, our monthly chinwag!  We look forward to the conversation with you today (and always).  Be sure to leave a comment today and you may win this terrific Mystery Lovers Kitchen tote bag.  Be lucky and have fun!

VICTORIA ABBOTT aka Mary Jane Maffini: My husband mentioned recently (in the kindest possible way) that when I cook, it's as though there's been an explosion in the kitchen. I would have taken great offense if a) it wasn't true some of the time and b) he didn't always volunteer to do the clean up.  He added, "It's mostly when you bake."




The evidence was clear.

I do my best to be neat, line up the ingredients in the order of use and put each one away when it's been added.  But all it takes it a few extra visiting dogs or hot and cold running relatives or (shudder) CNN blaring in the background and all is lost.  Until the clean-up crew, that is.  Except for the time there was tea on the ceiling.

For some reason, my hubby and my brother are both creative but neat cooks.  Me, not so much.

Of course, we're almost always happy with the results and the kitchen does recover whether I do it or he does.  Still, I dream of a neater future.

So what about you? Or you precise and disciplined? Or more like these exploding stars? Do you pick some dishes because they don't make a mess?  Pull up a chair and share your tips and your foibles. That's what we do around the kitchen table.

Leave  a comment and you may be the winner of TOO HOT TO HANDLE: a Fiona Silk mystery in which there's lots of chaos in the kitchen.  Be very afraid! 



🍴

From DarylMy kitchen is often a mess when I cook.  I do my best to keep it tidy but I simply can't. I stack things
The BEFORE picture!  HA!
up. I set them in the right order. And still I feel crowded. I've got the cutting board here, the mixing bowl there. I recall a lovely disaster at Thanksgiving--our first year in our new house in Los Angeles--and I wasn't comfortable with the oven and stove and the layout. It takes time to do the dance, you know?  Anyway, my stepdaughter wanted to learn to make mashed potatoes. With all 14 of the family hovering in the kitchen!!!  I got distracted. The pot of boiling milk and potatoes boiled over. What a mess! Plus I dropped a tray of stuffing on the floor. My nephew laughed his head off!  Rarely do they see me flustered, but that night - oy!



🍷

Linda here:
 I like to think of myself as being neat, tidy and well-organized. Okay, I like to think a lot of things about myself but a lot of it isn't true--sexy, svelte, super smart...you get the picture. So, this question that Victoria poses is very disturbing. I have to 'fess up and come clean, because it's a sure thing my kitchen counters won't be after a cooking session. And don't get me started on baking because that's when the flour settles like that fine coating of dust when drywall is being erected. I actually start out on the right track. I try to pre-measure or slice and dice everything possible so those dishes can be stacked out of sight in the sink or maybe even washed and dried. It's when the nitty-gritty starts and the clock is ticking that my cleaning karma disappears. I like to believe that my problem is not enough counter space but that's not going to change, so I better change me. Start with all un-essentials cleared away; stick to the allotted space; do only one thing at a time (a biggy for me to change); and, then proceed in an orderly progression through the directions. Easy, right? So what goes wrong?




🍀

From SheilaI'm just back from Ireland, where my kitchen is about the same size as the one I had in my first apartment a very long time ago. A stove (or cooker) and a shiny new stainless steel sink eat up about half the counter space, and a microwave claimed the corner. So I have to think very strategically about what needs to be chopped and ready to go into a dish, and I definitely have to clean up as I work, and put things away (in the teeny-tiny refrigerator). The stovetop has flat electric burners, so I have to be careful about putting anything down on them because you can't tell if they're still hot. And I still haven't figured out how recycling works over there. Yes, there is recycling--that's the good news--but in which categories? And I swear my handyman said something about tossing the biological (food) by-products out into the back yard for the local animals. I'm not sure whether he was kidding. I did make an effort to hang up as many cooking items as possible, but it's still a challenge.



🌸


the compost pile last night after soup-making

LUCY BURDETTE: Hmmm, I bet my hub would disagree on this, as he's usually the clean-up batter--but I try to be neat! But cooking can be a lot of work, right? Especially if you're using a food processor and a chopping board and more than one pan at a time, which is usually the case. And tasting and photographing...good heavens, that's what sous-chefs are for, isn't it MJ?



🍸

PEG COCHRAN:  I find that my mess tends to expand depending on the space available to me. In my first house, the kitchen was small and the counter space limited. But then we moved and I had a much bigger kitchen and more counter space and my mess expanded like my stomach after Thanksgiving dinner. Speaking of Thanksgiving dinner...that one meal creates more mess than anything else I cook all year. Pots, pots, pots absolutely everywhere. Every single serving dish soaking in the sink, every kitchen utensil spread around the counter. It makes me shudder just to think about it!



🍒



LESLIE BUDEWITZ: I'm definitely a clean-as-you-go cook. Fortunately, so is Mr. Right, since we often cook together in a small kitchen with one sink. No doubt my tendency toward kitchen tidiness came from my mother, a woman with a strong innate desire for order! Since I've been part of MLK, photographing recipes as I cook, I've returned to her habit of getting out all the ingredients before any chopping or mixing. And with the exception of the lovely farmhouse I lived in for 8 years, remodeling as I went along, I've always had a small kitchen. 

But I will admit one foible that leads to extra dishes: When a salad, a vegetable dish, or a casserole involves a lot of ingredients to be mixed together, I consistently fail to properly estimate the size of bowl needed. I might switch bowls, or pots, twice to get the right one. Happily, we share the dishwashing, too!




CLEO COYLE: We have a New York City kitchen (yep, tiny!) but we love to cook, so Marc and I learned the hard way to clean as we go. Not that a mountain of mess isn't possible on a busy day, it just leaves us with zero counter space and pots and pans piled high as the Empire State building. 


Coffeehouse Mystery #1
Click here to learn more.
Truth is, our situation inspired us to write a similar one for our characters in our first Coffeehouse Mystery, On What Grounds. Our amateur sleuth, Clare, also has a compact New York kitchen. When she attempts to fix a special dinner for her young adult daughter and the girl's new boyfriend, her ex-husband insists on "helping." The result is a little crazy and a little comical. But you have to have a sense of humor when you measure counter space by inches instead of feet. Happy cooking, everyone. May your servings be big and your mess be small! Love, Cleo




🍰

KRISTA DAVIS: I'm so glad that I'm not the only one. But Mary Jane, I truly can't recall anything landing on the ceiling! I have a bad habit of forgetting about rice, which means it boils over. It's not so much that I forget, but I walk away to write and my mind is elsewhere. I now keep a timer on my desk to remind me that I need to check on it.

You never know who might be in the kitchen sink!
I try to be organized but somehow everything spreads. And countless other items land on my kitchen island adding to the clutter. All the vitamins and jars of dog cookies, for instance. Right now there are seven giant yellow squashes taking up a lot of real estate on the counter.

Unless it's something that needs to be rolled out (let's not even mention huge quantities of Christmas cookies—oy!), I'm least messy when baking. I learned a long time ago to put out an old dinner plate, a large spoon and a knife. That gives me a place for the paper that wraps the butter, eggshells, and all kinds of utensils that need to be washed, and keeps me from running around the kitchen for every little thing.

One of my very favorite cakes is Dobostorte. It's seven layers and a labor of love, so I don't bake it often. But those seven layers require a lot of room!


Don't forget to leave  a comment! You may be the winner of TOO HOT TO HANDLE: a Fiona Silk mystery in which there's lots of chaos in the kitchen.  Be very afraid!  
(PS remember to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win.)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Burrito Bowls #Recipe @PegCochran


This is more of a “how-to” than it is a recipe since there is room for lots and lots of variation and individual choices and preferences.  Mexican foods (or foods with Mexican flavoring) are always a huge hit with my husband.  But we don’t go out to eat that often, so I prefer to make my own.

This is a “sort of” version of a Chipotle burrito bowl although making it yourself allows you to control what goes in it!

Suggested ingredients:

Ground beef, turkey or shredded, cooked chicken
Taco seasoning – either from a packet or your own mix
1 Cup rice—I used brown rice
1 Cup Salsa—I prefer fresh salsa but bottled will work as well
1 Can Black beans or your choice of kidney or pinto
1 Cup corn
Sour cream
Chopped onions
Avocado, diced
Diced tomatoes
Ranch dressing
Cilantro (optional)

Saute ground meat if using with Taco seasoning and enough water
but not so much it turns soupy.    
Mix black beans with corn.  Dice toppings.

Mix one cup of rice with one cup of salsa.
 


 Mix ranch dressing with chopped cilantro or cilantro paste (in a tube--usually near the fresh herbs)
Build your bowl:  layer rice/beans/ground meat in a bowl and add toppings of your choice.  Drizzle with dressing and serve with tortilla chips if desired.

  
Enjoy! 




The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.

Follow me on Facebook to learn about upcoming giveaways!