Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ricotta Sauced PASTA ala Kalyn's Kitchen


Hello again my friends, old and new...
Old friends will know me as Dave from my blog "My Year on the Grill".  You new folks probably found this blog while looking around the website,  "eRecipeCards.com".  Either way, I am the driving force behind both.Welcome to my series of posts highlighting recipes that I personally have cooked (with a few adaptations, I am one of those cooks that just can not follow a recipe word for word, but I always find inspiration).  All of the recipes featured on this blog have appeared on eRecipeCards.com.  The site dedicated to bloggers as a place to see and to be seen.  One of the many features on eRecipeCards is an electronic recipe box set up for each individual user.  This eRecipeBox holds whichever of the submitted recipes on the site for easy access.  Easy to find whenever it clicks your memory. This particular recipe was added a couple of weeks ago.  I knew I wanted to give it a try, so I saved it in my eRecipeBOX, and fast as you can say, "Bob's your Uncle", it was only two clicks away from being found.  If you are not making use of the eRecipeBox on the site, bet your system of finding a recipe again is more complicated.... But I digress...

This post came from a new blogger buddy Kalyn from KALYN's KITCHEN.  Kalyn is an old pro at blogging, in her 7th year!  She is active as a BLOGher contributing editor, as well as a panelist at their conventions   She also posts nearly every day.  She has achieved a near impossible feat, she dropped 40 pounds 7 years ago and has maintained that weight loss the entire time!  Her blog features healthy interesting food, with fresh ingredients.  Each and every recipe she posts helps show the joy her kitchen shares with her huge family.  Old and new bloggers alike should take a leap over and look through her body of work.  Inspiring, informational and darn good recipes...


I was drawn to the recipe because of it's use of Ricotta cheese as the base for the sauce.  And at this stage, I highly recommend you jump over to her recipe to see what she did.  My efforts are very much "inspired by", as opposed to a direct remake of her dish.

First, I had a very nice patch of Arugula growing in my garden, but I picked most of it earlier in the week.  BUT, I did have a nice bit of baby spinach, which she did recommend in her post.  She also used basil and a bit of pesto in the dish.  At some point soon, I plan to harvest my basil and make up a batch of pesto.  But not this day.  But I added a few nuts, some extra oil, garlic and spinach to the ricotta to make a creamy spinach cheesy pesto.

And finally, as I do most nights I make a pasta, I hunted through my garden and tossed in a few "extras".  What's pasta without peppers.  I have a nice variety ranging from sweet banana peppers to some VERY hot little gems.  I seeded them, made a thick dice of em and added them to a diced up sweet candy onion.  And I topped the whole thing off with some halved cherry tomatoes (also from the garden).

Now, I knew there was a VERY hot pepper in this mix.  So I sauteed these in just 1 TBS of Butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar (maybe a tsp) until the onions and peppers caramelized.  The sweet and the heat liquid produced during the caramelization and sweating of the viggies, combined with the tang of the sweet Ricotta made an excellent sauce.  Certainly not Kalyn's original, but a fine tribute to her inspiration!


 The biggest change, I switched her vegetarian pasta dish to one topped with slices of a Honey Mustard chicken breast I had grilled up earlier.  For that recipe (also inspired from a post I saw on eRecipeCards.com, you will need to look up yesterday's post of Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken ala My Tasty Treasure

OK... Here's what I did...

24 ounces of whole wheat spiral Pasta, cooked 9 minutes nicely al Dente
12 ounce Ricotta Cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
a couple of Pinches of Salt and Pepper

A BIG batch of Spinach, stems removed
 (probably at least as much as in the bags they sell in the store)

a second batch of Spinach (about a cup) to make the spinach pesto, minced
1/2 cup walnut pieces (it's the nuts I had in the pantry, I am under strict orders from my wife not to buy ingredients I rarely use for a second dish.  I love walnuts and they make a fine pesto, but Pine nuts is generally the accepted ingredient for pesto)
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup EVOO (more of the oil)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
another pinch of Salt and pepper

Handful of peppers, mixed varieties
1 large Candy Onion
1 TBS Butter
1 tsp Brown Sugar

2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved


Sounds like a lot of ingredients, but if you use a pre-made pesto, and do not take the time to caramelize the peppers and onions, it comes together VERY fast.

  • In order, I grilled the chicken
  • I started caramelizing the onions and peppers
  • I cooked the pasta as directed, drained
  • While the pasta was cooking, I made the pesto, combining the spinach, walnut pieces, minced garlic, Parmesan cheese and Olive Oil.
  • When that was ready, I worked on the sauce, just combining the Ricotta, 2 TBS EVOO, Parmesan Cheese, Lemon Zest
  • When the onions and peppers were nicely caramelized, there will be about 1/4 cup of liquid in the pan.  It has a WONDERFUL flavor, not to be lost.  I added the big batch of spinach to the liquid and allowed the spinach to cook in the HOT and sweet sauce.  This really made the sauce special (if you like the heat from those little peppers).  
  • I mixed the pasta, peppers/onions/spinach and the walnut-spinach pesto together
  • topped with the chicken slices, tomato slices and some more grated Parmesan Cheese!
We had a small dinner party, single dish and it was incredibly well received!  FILLED with layers of flavors, just spicy enough to keep me happy and creamy goodness of the sauce.

******************************************************

This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Uses For a Rotisserie Chicken"  (Now close to 100!)...I am so confused... $5.49 for a fully cooked, fully seasoned Oven Roasted, Rotisserie Chicken. Yet shop in the raw meat department and most raw chickens are at best $8 each and usually far closer to $10. Anyone have an answer??? Me either. So, I can either rail against the machine, or learn to embrace the beauty that is the $5 chicken! In this pin are recipes I have made, and recommend. MORE than 52 (I just can't stop)..
You get the idea.  From Scratch Pizza to Chinese Take Out recipes, Lots of Soups and Chili... Appetizers to Main Courses (Still can't find a dessert, but I am looking).  More than enough ideas for that store nought bird to shine with just a little extra work

***********************PINTEREST*********************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken ala My Tasty Treasures

Hello again my friends, old and new...

Old friends will know me as Dave from my blog "My Year on the Grill".  You new folks probably found this blog while looking around the website,  "eRecipeCards.com".  Either way, I am the driving force behind both.

Welcome to my series of posts highlighting recipes that I personally have cooked (with a few adaptations, I am one of those cooks that just can not follow a recipe word for word, but I always find inspiration).  All of the recipes featured on this blog have appeared on eRecipeCards.com.  The site dedicated to bloggers as a place to see and to be seen.  One of the many features on eRecipeCards is an electronic recipe box set up for each individual user.  This eRecipeBox holds whichever of the submitted recipes on the site for easy access.  Easy to find whenever it clicks your memory. 

This particular recipe was added about a month ago.  I knew I wanted to give it a try, so I saved it in my eRecipeBOX, and fast as you can say, "Bob's (or wacky Dave's) your Uncle", it was only two clicks away from being found.  If you are not making use of the eRecipeBox on the site, bet your system of finding a recipe again is more complicated.... But I digress...

This recipe comes from Donna at the MY TASTY TREASURES Blog. Long time readers of My Tasty Treasures will notice a change in Donna's blog.  For a very entertaining more adult read, go back in her archives for a steamy look at food blogging.  Lately she has concentrated on the basics of her cooking experiences and dropped the R rating.  Either way, old style or new style, she is a joy to read whenever she posts.


I especially enjoy the look of her blog, bookend on each side with appetizing photos and links to some of her greatest hits.  Her Christmas cookie archives alone are worth bookmarking her site and being able to find again.  With only a bit less than 250 posts in the last three years, she has earned over 600 followers.  Her body of work has earned her spot as a Blue Ribbon blogger on eRecipeCards.com.  You can take a look at her submitted work by clicking HERE.


 Donna's personal life must keep her very busy.  I was exhausted for her just reading her profile.  Mother of 4, Step-Mother to 4 more, Registered Nurse, avid runner and wife to a fire fighter.  Much of the food she posts in her blog ends up at the firehouse.  And we all know, they deserve the best.


It has been a pleasure for me to look in on Donna's blog for the last 3 years.  It is also a pleasure to make this very easy, crowd pleasing recipe I found on eRecipeCards.com recently.  I just used the search feature to find something interesting to do with some boneless skinless chicken breasts.




It's a simple marinade/glaze for Honey Mustard grilled chicken breasts, with a couple of interesting surprise ingredients.


Oh, and one more reason I liked this post so much.  Her recipe also featured photos from a family wedding, including shots of her and her firefighter.  I always like being able to put faces and personalities to a blog and the recipes that are posted.  Donna, you look so happy and your firefighter made my wife purr.  Thanks for making your blog so personal and fun to read.  The rest of you should click HERE to see her original posting of the recipe and the photos of her and her hunk.


The recipe is very easy.  I made it just a bit easier as I tossed away the measuring cups and spoons.  Donna carefully listed the amounts of each ingredient used.


I just used ...


a BIG squirt of Honey (OK, about 2 TBS)
a BIG squirt of Dijon Mustard (OK, about 2 TBS
a BIG squirt of Mayonnaise (can you guess the amount???)
a BIG squirt of a commercial BBQ Sauce (yes, a couple of TBS)


And that's it, mix well, rub into the chicken breasts and grill normally.


I did that diamond turn thing to get the chicken especially pretty.  Get the grill HOT.  Plop the chicken over the hottest part of the grill and cook for 3 minutes.  Turn 90 degrees, return to the same spot and cook for another 3 minutes


Then flip over, insert a remote temperature thermometer prob into the thickest part of the chicken and cook until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.


Your chicken comes out soft, moist, tender and delicious!  The spice of the BBQ sauce, the tang of the mustard and the sweetness of the honey makes this a real winner for everyone.  Could easily serve these as an entree...


or




Add them to a WONDERFUL pasta salad that I also saw on eRecipeCards.com.


But for that recipe, you have to comeback tomorrow.


So, comeback tomorrow for another dish inspired from something posted on...




Friday, July 29, 2011

BBQ Fritos Encrusted Pork Chops ala What's Cookin, Chicago?



Hello again my friends, old and new...


Old friends will know me as Dave from my blog "My Year on the Grill".  You new folks probably found this blog while looking around the website,  "eRecipeCards.com".  Either way, I am the driving force behind both.

Welcome to my series of posts highlighting recipes that I personally have cooked (with a few adaptations, I am one of those cooks that just can not follow a recipe word for word, but I always find inspiration).  All of the recipes featured on this blog have appeared on eRecipeCards.com.  The site dedicated to bloggers as a place to see and to be seen.  One of the many features on eRecipeCards is an electronic recipe box set up for each individual user.  This eRecipeBox holds whichever of the submitted recipes on the site for easy access.  Easy to find whenever it clicks your memory. 


This particular recipe was added about a month ago.  I knew I wanted to give it a try, so I saved it in my eRecipeBOX, and fast as you can say, "Bob's (or wacky Dave's) your Uncle", it was only two clicks away from being found.  If you are not making use of the eRecipeBox on the site, bet your system of finding a recipe again is more complicated.... But I digress...


This recipe comes from Joelen from the "WHAT's COOKIN, CHICAGO" blog.  


Joelen has quickly become a favorite of mine.  Her recipes are just a shade challenging, without being so complex I am put off by them.  Always, her recipes are family friendly and wonderfully photographed.  her body of work is very impressive.  I could not quickly find out how long she has been blogging, but she has earned nearly 900 followers who think she is worth looking in on at least once a day (me included).  Her blog is easily indexed, with hundreds and hundreds of recipes.  For example, I looked at her cookie file and found over 50 cookie recipes.  I didn't count, but she has easily three times as many recipes for chickens.  The girl has the chops.


She has been to culinary school and works as a chef at an ethnic Filipino Restaurant, with plans of opening a specialty food truck.


Her blog, her recipe index as well as her "about Joelen" pages are MORE than worth a rainy afternoon perusal.   For a fast view of some of the recipes she has posted to her blog, head over to her individual page on eRecipeCards,com that features her recipes (just click on the green logo to the right).


This particular recipe is what I made after being inspired from her post for Potato Chip Encrusted Pork Chops.  That's her photo to the left.  The reason I wanted to give these a try, my nieces and nephew are coming to visit in a few weeks.  Always a fun time for wacky Uncle Dave to cook with the children.


It dawned on me that what could be a more fun lunch than pork chop sandwiches, with a fun coating...


Like BBQ potato chips (which I did not have in my pantry), or BBQ Fritos (which I did)!


I had to make a few adjustments to Joelen's recipe (remember, I rarely do an exact copy of a recipe, only an inspiration of one).  My long suffering wife with the inconvenient day job has ordered me NOT to buy ingredients that I am only going to make one dish from and then they sit in our pantry for a year or worse, take up space in our fridge until they go bad and we have to waste Earth's resources.  that's a long way around saying I needed to find a substitute for the buttermilk Joelen calls for.  I mixed a cup of Milk with 2 TBS of Lemon Juice for a serviceable substitution.


I also have a salt substitute spice mix I call "Sodom and Gomorrah", equal parts course Sea Salt, Garlic Flakes, white Sesame Seeds and Black Sesame Seeds.  No good reason for changing the salt and Pepper Joelen suggested other than it was handy and it adds an extra little subtle taste of the baked sesame.


And of course...




I used Frito Brand Honey BBQ Flavored Twists in place of her original potato chips.  Again, it's what I had.  I imagine the texture of the flavored corn chips was different from her tater chips, but I was working on dishes for the kids.  I think twisty Fritos are more fun than chips, but that's just me, planning for a specific audience of 3 kids under 7 years old.


OK... here's what I did...


1/2 Sweet Onion, Sliced and cut into rings to line the bottom of a baking dish


1 TBS Onion Powder
1TBS Garlic Powder
1 TBS  "Sodom and Gomorrah",
   may sub S&P to taste

3 Boneless center cut Pork Chops
1/4 cup AP Flour
1 cup Milk mixed with 2 TBS Lemon Juice
    (should substitute Buttermilk)

1 Egg, whisked
2 cups uncrushed Fritos BBQ Twists, made about 1 cup crushed


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  1. Combine Onion Powder, Garlic Powder and  "Sodom and Gomorrah" in a small bowl, rub on the meat, both sides.  Rub in well, allow to rest for 5 minutes so the spices soak into the meat.
  2. Dredge the seasoned pork into the flour
  3. Dredge the floured seasoned pork in the egg
  4. Dredged the egged, floured seasoned pork through the crushed BBQ fritos (pressing into the meat if needed, coat evenly and completely)
  5. Place the coated chops on top of the onion rings 
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, flip and insert a remote prob temperature thermometer into the meat.  Return to the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes!
VERDICT... LOVED EM!

Again, click HERE to read Joelen's original post and recipe with more details, but I loved the taste texture and especially look forward to wacky Uncle Dave making these with the kids!  Joelen's was much more elegant looking, but my sandwich will be a kid pleaser!

Thanks Joelen!



And comeback tomorrow for another dish inspired from something posted on...





Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mexican Corn OFF the Cob ala One Perfect Bite


Hello my friends, old and new...

Old friends will know me as Dave from my blog "My Year on the Grill".  You new folks probably found this blog while looking around the website,  "eRecipeCards.com".  Either way, I am the driving force behind both.

Welcome to the first of many posts that are dishes prepared from recipes submitted by bloggers to eRecipeCards.com.  The site dedicated to bloggers as a place to see and to be seen.  One of the many features on eRecipeCards is an electronic recipe box set up for each individual user.  This eRecipeBox holds whichever of the submitted recipes on the site for easy access.  Easy to find whenever it clicks your memory.

I've been holding on to this recipe in my personal eRecipeBox ever since Mary of the "One Perfect Bite" Blog submitted it, nearly 6 weeks ago (see, that eRecipeBox sure does come in handy).  I made one BIG change in her recipe, so I can easily say that this recipe was INSPIRED.  If you visit her original post, ELOTE - MEXICAN CORN ON THE COB, and even from that title you can see the difference.  I chose to cut the corn from the cob instead of leaving it on the cob.  I was having a large dinner party and it just seemed easier to serve in a bowl instead of dealing with the mess of eating it off the cob.

Let me say a word about Mary and her blog...  "One Perfect Bite" and Mary is an old pro in the food blogging world.  Mary has been blogging since 2008, posts every day (an amazing achievement), has over 1,000 posts and has earned enough respect to have over 2,500 followers.

Of all the blogs I see, hers is the most ready to make the jump to cookbook author or magazine published contributer.  Her posts all have a distinctive look.  She starts with either a personal story or a history of the dish.  She rarely ventures away from classic dishes (either US or international).  She explains the dish and adds her notes on why she changes an ingredient.  Often she mentions the process of making the dish a couple of times in order to get the taste or texture that she likes.  Then she clearly lays out the recipe with an ingredient list and step by step, easy to follow directions.

Mary also has quite an accomplished eye as a food stylist and photographer.  Take a look at the corn on the cob to the left.  That is her photograph.  She takes the time to add a garnish (the lime wedges), as well as a sprinkle of a red spice (my guess is paprika) to add a color contrast to the yellow corn.  Pretty plates and mixing background colors makes each dish unique and appealing.

For new bloggers as well as experienced foodies, time on her site is always a learning experience.  In my blogging life, I am guessing I have made more dishes from her recipes than any other blogger.  She always takes the time to respond to any email questions I have as well as dropping me friendly comments on my blog.

So, thanks Mary.  It is always fun and a learning experience to stop by your blog.

And it also gives me a new way to look at a simple dish... Like your recipe for Elote, Mexican corn on the cob...

Here's what I did...
Elote - Mexican Corn OFF the Cob...
Inspired from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:
6 cobs of Corn
(boiled in salt water, kernels cut from the cob)
3 TBS Butter
4 TBS Mayonnaise
Juice and zest from 2 Limes
(reserve 1 TBS Zest as garnish)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
(again, reserve 1 TBS for garnish)
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (more to taste if desired)

  1. Again, for Mary's original version of the dish, click HERE.  She baked her corn, as well as substituted mashed Chipotle in Adobe Sauce.  She also used a Mexican cheese, Cotija cheese in place of my easier to find, Parmesan cheese.  I am under strict orders from my wife to stop buying ingredients for one dish.  While normally I ignore her, she went shopping with me that day so I couldn't go off hunting a new cheese without her getting suspicious.  I did a little research and Parmesan is close to the taste of Cotija.
  2. So, with those changes in mind, I boiled the corn for about 5 minutes.  Water to cover the cobs, with about 3 TBS of salt added to the water.
  3. I allowed to rest draining for 5 minutes.  Then cut the corn from the cob.
  4. While the corn is warm, I mixed in the remaining ingredients.  I kept this in a warm oven until ready to serve the meal (about 30 minutes, while we had appetizers).  No problems at all with the corn drying out.
  5. When ready to serve, garnish with remaining cheese and Lime zest


I served this with a cold bean salad (oddly enough, another of Mary's recipes,(Cold marinated Herb Flavored green Beans), a warm Rosemary Potato Salad and my signature dish of a bacon lattice wrapped spiral cut pork loin with raspberry chipotle marinated sausage stuffing.

It was a pretty good meal... Thanks Mary

And comeback tomorrow for another dish inspired from something posted on...

Media

FMP