Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chicken days

After a long week of work for Vance, I wanted to make a nice satisfying meal for him last night. I settled on basil Thai chicken with coconut milk and stir fry vegetables.

I adjusted the recipe from 6 servings to 4, and changed out a few elements to use the ingredients I had on hand.
  • 1-1/3 cups uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2-2/3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • small onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced (I used jarred ginger)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • sliced fresh vegetables (I used red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, yellow squash and snow peas - about 1/2 cup of each)


  1. Follow directions on box for rice - prepare and set aside (covered to keep warm).
  2. In a bowl, mix the coconut milk, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes.
  3. In a skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, ginger, and garlic, and cook until lightly browned. Mix in chicken strips, and cook about 3 minutes, until browned. Remove chicken and lightly saute vegetables. Return chicken to pan and stir in the coconut milk mixture. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced be about 1/3. Mix in green onions, and basil, and cook until heated through. Serve over the cooked rice.

Serve with soy sauce on the table - yum!
In preparation for my parent's visit this weekend, I have been looking up good summer recipes. For Sunday dinner I will take a stab at Roman-style Chicken with italian herbs and bell peppers by Giada. Accompanying my chicken will be shredded zucchini and orzo with parsley.

Shredded Zucchini (from the kitchen of Mary W. Clark)
4 servings
- 5 zucchni (about small-medium sice)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 table spoons of butter
-Peel the zucchini about 75% (removing any bruises but keeping some of the dark green skin)
-Using a grater, shred the zucchini (about medium size, the same size you would use to shred cheese)
-Place shredded zucchini pile in a colainder and douse with salt liberally. This is to help draw the moisture out of the zucchini.
-Allow zucchini to drain and if you are pressed for time, wring some out with your hands
-In medium saute pan, saute butter and garlic
-Saute the zucchini over about medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the zucchini is soft
-Drain any excess water and serve!

Will report back on the chicken! Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What to do with all these vegetables?!

Good evening friends! Another night float for Vance means another night of cooking and watching a movie for me! Tonight I have Red Riding Hood and all this zucchini and yellow squash staring at me. In my face. All up in my grill. I start traveling for work this week so I need to use these veggies!

I improvised as I went, but the result was delicious! My zucchini cups are based on a recipe from Brown-eyed Baker. It is a zucchini bake that calls for Bisquick (I know...a little strange - a little Southern).

Here is the run down:
5 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ cup grated sharp Asiago cheese

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove minced garlic
½ cup finely chopped red onion

2 cups Bisquick

3 cups thinly sliced zucchini and yellow squash (I used about 1 large zucchini and 2 small yellow squash
1 slice (doesn't have to be very big) ham

The goods.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 6 cup muffin pan and set aside. Cube the ham into small pieces and lightly saute on the stove top to draw out the moisture - set aside.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, cream, cheese, parsley, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic. Whisk in the onion, and then the Bisquick. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the sliced zucchini and squash, being careful not to break up the slices. Fold in the ham cubes. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups.
Make sure the Bisquick powder is full incorporated.
3. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool to warm room temperature before serving.

Voila! These are great for any meal - you could make smaller muffins and serve as an hors d'oeuvre.
The recipe made 8 large muffin cups. I believe these would freeze well. I am off to watch my movie, night all!

Monday, August 15, 2011

You say tomato...

 In honor of the East Nashville Tomato Festival that occurred this past weekend, I am focusing on tomatoes for a spell. Vance and I went to Marche a few days ago and I had a lovely watermelon and tomato salad. So light light and delicious! Select a ripe tomato and cube along with some sweet watermelon. My salad had a yummy slab of goat cheese on top and a sprinkle of fresh basil.
Easy and fast!

My parents are coming at the end of the month and I am going to make this salad and put on a few drops of this great balsamic glaze my mom gave me. It is great on fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, salads, etc.

We had dinner last night with friends Liz and Brian at Germantown Cafe. The menu is amazing - fresh and simple dishes and of course they have fried green tomatoes. I love these!

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

If you can find it, use fine white cornmeal, which is the primary cornmeal used in the South. Buttermilk adds flavor and tang, but is not strictly necessary.


  • 3 medium, firm green tomatoes
  • Salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (optional)
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil or other vegetable oil


1 Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place in separate shallow bowls: the flour and Cajun seasoning (if using), buttermilk and egg, and bread crumbs and cornmeal.
2 Heat the peanut oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and the buttermilk together. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then buttermilk-egg mixture, then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain. These are fantastic with a little Tabasco sauce or remoulade.
Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish.

*You can freeze leftover buttermilk - my mom told me so. :)
 I would serve these with either a remoulade as suggested or perhaps a greek yogurt based dip.

After scoring a bundle of yellow and red grape tomatoes, I made this easy dish with fresh herbs. I also added zucchini from the farmer's market.
Real Simple gets it right again!
 Enjoy the season and throw a few cherry tomatoes or slices of tomato in everything! I made a beef stir fry a few weeks ago and in addition to the traditional Asian vegetables like bok choi and snow peas, I also used about a handful of cherry tomatoes. It lightened the dish and made it feel more summery.

Hopefully more tomato inspiration to come this week. Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Don't throw that out!

Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week...when your husband is a surgery intern! So tonight I am using browning bananas to make muffins and rotisserie chicken remains to make chicken stock for soup.

10 Minute Banana Muffins (adapted from bread recipe below)
Banana Bread
Makes 1 full-sized loaf or 2 small loaves
Preheat the oven to 350.

In one bowl, combine:
1/2 stick (4-5 tablespoons) butter, softened

2 eggs

2 or 3 very ripe bananas

2/3 cup sugar
Use a potato masher, fork, or spoon to squish the banana and mix the ingredients together. It is alright for there to be small (1 centimeter) chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the banana to be reduced to mush.
In another bowl, combine:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.
If you like, stir in additional ingredients here, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, dried cherries or apricots, or chocolate chips. A handful (about a half a cup) is about right.
Pour the dough into greased baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Small loaves take around 30 minutes, a normal-sized loaf takes around 50 minutes. (For muffins, I checked them at about 30 minutes - I was using a 6 pan muffin so they are pretty big).
Remove from the oven. This bread is great warm, but it is excellent cold too.
After they have cooled for 5 or 10 minutes the loaves can be removed from the pan to cool. Once they are cool they can be individually wrapped and frozen.
The recipe only makes about 5 large muffins - I added chocolate chips to a few of the muffins for me!

Chicken Stock...
Whenever I buy a rotisserie chicken from the store or roast a chicken at home (or turkey), my mom always reminds me to make stock for soup. It is so simple and is a great way to save money and make delicious soup!

Take the chicken (after you have enjoyed most of the meat - this is right when you are thinking you should toss the remains but don't!) and remove as much skin as you can.
At this point also pull off any good looking meat - this will be used in the soup, just stick it in the fridge
Discard skin/fat
Fill a stock pot with water
Put the chicken bones in the pot
Cut a small onion into quarters and put it in the water
Take some celery greens (leafy tops) and put add them to the water
If you have some fresh herbs, add a few sprigs to the water (rosemary, parsley, etc.)
Add some salt and pepper and put the pot on about low-medium heat
Simmer the stock for a few hours (about 2 to 3), after about an hour your kitchen is going to smell wonderful!

Tonight, I didn't have any celery so I added a few fresh basil leaves, sprigs of rosemary, 3 bay leaves and a small bunch of parsley to the stock.

After you have simmered the stock for a few hours, use tongs to remove the chicken bones, celery, onion, etc. Take the remaining stock and pour it through a strainer into a bowl or pot. Cover the strained stock with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. I typically refrigerate the stock overnight, as you need about 6 to 8 hours to chill and settle.

This next part is a little weird, but must be done. When you remove the stock from the fridge - take a spoon and skim off the fat from the top of the liquid. Once this is done, you are ready to make soup! Find your favorite soup recipe and get to town with your homemade stock. 

I typically make a chicken corn noodle soup with spaghetti, corn, carrot, onion and celery. Yum! 

Night all! I am going to eat a muffin and a watch a movie.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

new food website that I am loving

My go to places for good recipe inspiration tend to be Real Simple, Food Network, and Martha. Yesterday I stumbled across Food & Wine's website and was floored at the amazing looking dishes. I love the magazine but have never explored them online until now!

Here a few things that I am adding to the docket!

To start...
Grilled Apricots with Burrata, Country Ham and Arugula
Burrata is similar to mozzarella but is a bit softer and creamier - I am sure fresh mozzarella would work really well too. I may use spinach instead of Arugula.
Perfection in a glass, I believe.
Maybe if some of my girlfriends visit me in Nashville, I will make a pitcher of Watermelon-Tequila cocktails.

Trout with Curried Lentils
The Nashville Farmer's Market sets up at Vanderbilt on Thursdays. I am definitely going to get some fresh zucchini to make Zucchini-Ricotta Fritters this weekend - yum!

I think I will pair these with some good tomato sauce for dipping and a big salad. Dinner = done.
Lastly, I also found a recipe for Lamb Tagine with prunes and carrots on Food & Wine. I am going to give it a whirl next week and will report back!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Orzo Salad rocked our world!

I keep forgetting to take pictures of food that I cook to add to the blog - but last night I remembered! And I followed the recipe to a T!
Mediterranean Orzo by Marilyn Lebowitz

I added some rotisserie chicken from Harris Teeter and a crusty roll - delicious and easy dinner! The recipe calls for chicken stock, but you could substitute vegetable stock to make a vegetarian dish.

Tonight is cream of tomato and basil soup and panini for one because Vance starts work at 5:30 p.m. I am thinking chick flick!!