Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cooking the Kale and Swiss Chard!

Finally!  My little garden has paid off.  I waited patiently for this moment! 

Here is my first harvest of the kale and Swiss chard I planted awhile back.  A big ole sink full!
I am please with my haul!
After I rinsed it, I spun it dry in my Salad Spinner.  I tell ya, those things are wonderful.  Of course, since it was nice and fresh, it was definitely making it to the dinner plate tonight. 
My favorite way to cook greens is to not over-cook them.  I don't care for mushy veggies in general and particularly greens. YUCK!  I lightly saute them and everyone raves.
Not pictured...sugar.
Garlicky Good Greens
1 mess of greens (I had a large colander full)
Garlic (I used 4 cloves)
Fresh course ground pepper-to taste
Sea salt-to taste
Crushed red pepper-just a pinch (of course if you like hot stuff, feel free to add to taste)
Sugar-about a teaspoon
Olive Oil-about 1/4 cup at most
Water-about 1/2 cup
Remove stems from kale and chard.  Discard (or put in your compost pile).

Cut up kale and chard.  The easiest way is to roll it into a 'cigar' shape & then slice it into thin strips.  Once you have sliced it all, place in a skillet.
Next, get your garlic.  Peel and cut off the root end. 
Using a garlic press, squish garlic on top of greens.  Yup, squish is a cooking term in my house.  If you don't have a 'garlic squisher', mince it.  Next sprinkle with salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and sugar.

Drizzle olive oil over greens and then add water to the pan.
Hard to see olive oil but it's there.  Other pic was too blurry.

Saute over medium-high heat, making sure to stir frequently until greens are getting tender and the water has evaporated.  Be careful and don't burn the garlic, otherwise it will become bitter.  You want the greens to retain their color but still be tender.  This takes about 10 minutes.  Yes, they will reduce a lot!  Always start with at least double the amount you want for the finished dish.

Serve and enjoy! 
I served my greens with Rosemary Roasted Cornish Game hens, Israeli couscous, and Rosemary sherry reduction sauce.  It was delicious.  Hubs asked if I could duplicate this exact meal for the In-Laws this weekend.  If that's not a compliment, I don't know what is!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Yuletide!

I absolutely refuse to put up Yule decorations before Thanksgiving.  I think Thanksgiving deserves our full attention.  It's an important holiday for families and for us as Americans.  We honor our forefathers and mothers and the blessings we have received throughout the year.  All good things. 

But now that Turkey day is officially over, it's time to start redecorating! WOOHOO!

My Mother-in-Law has gifted me the past few years with a beautiful set of holiday dishes by Pfaltzgraff called Winter Berry.  They are a lovely pattern and perfect for the entire holiday season.  She really put a lot of thought into choosing this pattern for me and I appreciate them very much.
So pretty!
They are now our primary dishes.  Yes, I have different dishes for the seasons.  I will admit I have six sets of dishes.  Yeah, you read that right.  Six sets!  I just love changing things out for every season. 

Things are a bit messy around the ole homestead right now.  I've been in the garage, pulling out boxes, checking light strands, and rearranging wreaths. 

Our typical Yule theme is blue and silver.  This year, I'm incorporating red into the blue with small hints of evergreen.  I think it'll be really pretty and will blend well from room to room.  The way our house is laid out, you can see the kitchen and dining room from the living room. Because of this, I have to be aware of how the whole pulls together.  I think I'll be able to pull it off.  When I'm done, I'll post some pictures and you can tell me how I did. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cookies for Turkey Day

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will be spending it with my In-laws.  My Mother-in-law is now gluten free.  Most of the desserts she makes include flour, so she can't eat them, so I wanted to make something special for her. 

I looked around online and saw a lot of peanut butter cookie recipes which were gluten free.  This recipe is a hybrid of several and makes a small batch. Perfect!

These are not super sweet so they are great after a heavy meal or with a cup of coffee for breakfast.  What?  Cookies for breakfast?  Hey, you only live once!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
Make about a dozen cookies
1-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
2 tablespoon soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash salt
1/8 cup chocolate chips
1/8 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350F. 
Combine all ingredient except chips & blend well. 

Add chips and blend again until chips are evenly dispersed into dough. 

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake approximately 12 to 15 minutes.

Allow cookies to cool then devour!

Here they are, all dressed up for their trip tomorrow.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Soup For Supper

It's one of those windy cool Autumn days that just requires homemade soup.  And bread.  Yes, homemade soup and bread! 

I rooted around my freezer and pantry and decided upon Chicken Noodle soup with my Honey Oatmeal bread.  Mmmmmm. Sounds so good!  Hubs will be thrilled. 

So the bread is in the bread maker and yes, the house smells wonderful.  Now on to the soup.

I'll be honest, I have a tendency to just throw stuff together.  I only really measure for baked goods because they are picky recipes.  I promise to try to keep track of the amounts of ingredients for you. 

I do think that you should adjust amounts to your family's preferences.  I mince the carrots, celery & onions because my Hubs isn't a big fan and he will eat them this way.  If you like them, cut them into bigger chunks.  Just remember, they will take longer to get nice and tender.  You can also use leftover chicken or turkey instead of starting from scratch.  No homemade chicken broth? Use canned or dry broth starter.  I often use all three.  No sherry?  Leave it out.  It will be delicious without it.  Or try some white wine.  I use Reames frozen Egg Noodles to save time.  Feel free to make your own or you can use dried noodles.  Again, use what you have on hand and what your family prefers.  As you can see, I didn't use fresh carrots because I was out.  I added 1 cup canned carrots when I added the broth.
The Lineup

Chicken Noodle Soup
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 cup minced Onion
1/2 cup minced Celery
1/2 cup minced Carrots
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into small cubes
6 cups Chicken broth
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Pepper
1/2 cup Cream (optional)
1 package Reames Egg Noodles
1/4 cup Sherry (optional)

Saute onion, celery and carrots in 2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until tender but not browned.

Add the other tablespoon olive oil and chicken.  Turn heat to medium high and saute until chicken is slightly browned.

Add chicken broth, bay leaves, parsley, garlic powder and pepper.  Bring to boil then turn down and let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add noodles and cream and cook until noodles are almost done, approximately 10 minutes. Add sherry and cook until noodles are tender, approximately another 10 minutes.
Noodly goodness!

Friday, November 2, 2012