"A good meal is like a present, and it can feel goofy, at best, to give yourself a present. On the other hand, there is something life affirming in taking the trouble to feed yourself well, or even decently. Cooking for yourself allows you to be strange or decadent or both. The chances of you liking what you made are high, but if it winds up being disgusting, you can always throw it away and order a pizza; no one will ever know." (Jenni Ferrari-Adler)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grilled Chicken in an orange-citrus vinaigrette reduction, sautéed peppers and black rice pasta

 This week i decided it is time to start cleaning up the freezer. I've had this chicken seating there for a while and it needed to be cooked before it got freezer burn.  I really don't really care for chicken all that much, but if i'll have to eat it then i might just make it fun.  

so the chicken turned out to be my blank canvas, then i just allowed creativity to run wild..... it turned out awesome! This is as best as i can remember since i forgot to write it down as usual.
Grilled Chicken in an orange-citrus vinaigrette reduction
(serves 4)

Ingredients
(for the marinade)
1 Garlic clove
1 Tbs of soy sauce
4 Tbs of Moscato- champagne orange vinegar
Juice of 1 orange
1 tsp of Mustard
½ Tsp of honey
Salt and pepper

4 Chicken thighs
Rosemary

Preparation
In a food processor add all ingredients (except for chicken and rosemary), blend to incorporate all ingredients.

Place chicken in a bowl, add marinade sauce and rosemary. Allow it to rest for at least 1 hour before cooking the chicken.

Place a skillet on stove top and allow it to heat in high heat for about 2min. Spray some cooking spray (you may skip this step if not using skinless chicken. Grill chicken for about 3 min (each side) in high heat till golden. Lower heat and allow chicken to cook through till internal temperature reaches about 170F or 77C (I’m buying a thermometer ehehehheheheeheh).

Remove chicken from heat, add the marinade mixture to the skillet and allow it to simmer in low heat scratching the bottom of the pan in order to deglaze it. When ready add chicken back it.

 
Sauté peppers

Ingredients
1 yellow onion
1 clove of garlic
2 Red peppers
2 sun dried tomatoes
Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts to garnish
Salt & Pepper

Preparation 
Heat up olive oil in a frying pan (medium heat) add onion and garlic and sauté till golden. Add red peppers and sun dried tomatoes and allow them to cook till peppers soften.
(I added a little dry-wine for extra flavor)

When ready garnish with Gorgonzola and walnuts.


Black Rice Pasta

Ingredients 
½ Package of organic Black Rice Pasta (I used the one from wholefoods)
Salt
1 Tbs of Butter

3 spoons of olive oil
1 minced garlic clove

Preparation  
Cook pasta in water with salt and butter till its “al dente” (bring water to a boil before you add the pasta).  Drain pasta, run it thru cold water (this will help wash away the starch that can makes the pasta sticky)

In a frying pan sauté garlic in olive oil till golden, add the pasta and sauté pasta for about 2-3 min. Don’t let it burn

 
Et la Mise en Place

This is how I did it bottom to top:
  1. Rice pasta
  2. Sauté peppers
  3. Garnish peppers with cheese and nuts
  4. Chicken
  5. Orange vinaigrette reduction
 Bon Apetit! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cherries

I'm a bit frustrated,  its already tuesday and still i have not yet come up with a cherry recipe for this weeks challenge :(
My sister told me i should sed in a recipe next week because the ingredient is easier, but i'm really committed to this cherry business.

Hope i get some inspiration, i sure need it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Butternut squash soup

What to do with 4 butternut squashes when there is only so much you can eat?
Soup! YEY!
Here my recipe:

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SPINACH SOUP


Ingredients
1 Butternut squash (peeled and cut into 2" cubes)
3 green onions (chopped)
1 yellow onion ( in quarters)
1 small potato
4 cups of vegetable stock (I used sodium free pack from TJ's)
Salt and black pepper
1/2 bunch of spinach (leaves only)
3 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Thermomix (bimby) instructions

Insert green onions in thermomix cup and program 3 sec vel 5-7-9. Add butternut squash, onion, potato and vegetable stock.  Program 20min/varoma/speed 2 (make sure the little cup is in place. i used the varoma tray to steam some meat). Without opening cup, add salt and pepper. Program 20sec/vel5. If ingredients are not liquified then process them for another few seconds.

Check seasonings, add more salt and pepper as needed.

Add spinach to cup (u can add it thru the little whole on top, no need to open it). Place basket on top and program 6min/varoma/spoon. ( if you would like to obtain a thicken allow it to cook for a little longer. Just don't forget soup will thicken as it cools)

When ready add the olive oil, program 10 sec/ reverse spoon.

Ready to eat1

Traditional approach

In a pan add squash, potato, onion and green onion and vegetable stock. Cook for about 40 min till all ingredients are cooked (it will be faster if using pressure cooker or if all ingredients are cut in smaller pieces). Add salt and pepper and stir for about 1 min.

In a food processor place vegetables add enough liquid to make sure ingredients blend.  You may need to do it a couple times is you don't want to be cleaning the kitchen cabinets later :) ) When done, restore liquified mixture to pan. Bring it to a boil and add the spinach. Do not cover pan. Allow it to cook in high heat for about 10min till  soup thickens.  You must stir liquid at all times otherwise it will burn.

Add olive oil, and serve.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quick and Delicious Meat Loaf

Ingredients:
2lbs lean ground beef (used 90-10)
8 oz heavy cream (used soy sour cream)
1 Pack of Instant Onion soup (used Knorr’s French Onion)
1 Chopped green onion
1 clove or garlic finely chopped
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
3 Slices of Prosciutto

In a contained mix ground beef, heavy cream, onion soup mix, green onions, garlic and spices. With your hands mix it till meat is well seasoned.

In a sheet of aluminum foil, lay prosciutto slices side by side. Shape ground beef mix into a loaf and place it on top of the prosciutto. Wrap the prosciutto around the meatloaf.

Instructions for baking:

Preheat oven at 350F. Cook meatloaf in a baking tray for 40 min.


Thermomix Instrutions:

Add 1000ml of liquid to TM cup (I was making soup at the same time to it kinda worked out). Wrap meatloaf in aluminum foil and place it on varoma tray. Place tray on  top of cup. Cook for 35min/ Varoma/ speed 2. (the meat will be medium, if you like it well done then let it cook for longer. Don’t forget to make sure you add enough liquid to the cup)


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pear, walnuts and gorgonzola risotto

I've been thinking about cooking this dish since I flew back from Brazil...... finally i was able to track a recipe down.  This will be my second attempt at making risotto. Kinda exciting. Now the missing link, should I cook it on my TM or go old school?

Since i've never done it without my Bimby (TM31) then maybe for the sake of the Lakers Winning last night and me getting my phone stolen..... i'll be stirring it myself. Need to relax!

So here is the illustrated recipe :)

PEAR, WALNUT AND GORGONZOLA RISOTTO

Ingredients:  

2 cups of Arboreo Rice  
4 Tbsp olive oil  
1 Tbsp butter ½ onion, chopped  
1 cup of dry white wine  
6 cups of chicken broth  
2 pears (with skin) cut into small cubes 
 8 Tbsps of gorgonzola cheese  
Parmesan cheese, to taste  
black pepper to taste  
Chopped walnuts  

(I'm cutting down recipe to 1/2 cup of rice (serves 4). All other ingredients will be adjusted accordingly). 

Preparation: 
 
Prepare chicken broth as per packaging instructions.  If you are using already made liquid broth, then just  simmer it in low heat.  (If you would like to make your own chicken broth then, for Click Here if you are using a Traditional Recipe for TM users, follow the recipe on the Basic Book). Don't forget to add salt in case you are using a sodium free broth.

 
Cut the pears into cubes. The cubes should be small, but not small enough that the pear "fade out". Place the cubes in a bowl with water and juice of ½ lemon for the pears no rust. Reserve.


Put the oil in a pan and cook over low heat. Add the onion and mix well with a wooden spoon for 4 minutes or until transparent. If you prefer, grind the onion in a processor before you sauté it. 


Add rice and sauté it for up to 2 minutes over high heat, adding the wine in the sequence. 


Keep on stirring the rice till wine evaporates completely.


Add 1/2 a cup of broth and stir constantly, when dry, add another another. (this should take about 15-20 min)


Add the pears and gorgonzola cheese to the risotto and stir until cheese melts. 



Sprinkle the chopped walnuts and stir thoroughly.


Check the consistency: Don't forget, risotto should be "al dente". If it is still raw, continue cooking for another minute and, if necessary, add a little more broth. 


Turn off the heat, add the butter, stir and cover pot. Season with pepper, stir the risotto again. 


(i added a little fresh marjoram before serving).



Recipe was paraphrased and translated to english  from Homem na Cozinha: http://www.homemnacozinha.com
URL to article: http://www.homemnacozinha.com/risoto-de-gorgonzola-pera-e-nozes/. 

On leaving comments

Apologies if you tried to leave a comment on the Blog. The problem has been fixed :)
Thanks B. for letting me know :)

Organic Red Quinoa Salad

A delicious summer salad :)


 Quinoa ( cooking instructions)
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of water ( i used 1 cup of chicken stalk, it was sodium free so i've added some salt to it)

cook the same way you would cook rice. when the water is gone, you are good to go.

For the salad
Ingredients
1/2 can of corn
1/2 can black beans
1/2 can hearts of palm
cilantro
1 tomato
1 shallot finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
Olive oil
Vinegar
Herbs the Provence & Oregano

Chop tomatoes, shallot, hearts of palm, and garlic, place in a bowl and mix. Add beans, corn and chopped cilantro, herbs olive oil and vinegar, let it marinade for about 10 min (while the quinoa cooks). check for salt, and add some to the vegetables if you like.

when the quinoa is ready, fork it a little bit so it flakes and toss it with the salad. voila!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Iced Pomegranate White Tea

Oh, Summer has finally arrived to the southland!YEY!

Hot+ dehidrated = Ice Tea

But wait just before you get out to grab a 16oz bottle os snapple or lipton or arizona iced tea, have you ever thought about making your own?

Here is why should:
1. Its Cheap (the average 16oz iced tea will cost you anywhere between 1.25 to 2.5, home made will cost you cents)
2. Its Healthy ( you control how much sugar and caffeine goes on your tea)
3. Its Green (not plastic or glass bottles will be put to waste)

Do I need to say more?

So here is today's project:  HOME BREWED POMEGRANATE WHITE TEA 



1 -2 tea bags of Pomegranate White Tea 
3 Cups of boiling water
2 Cups of cold water
1 Cup of ice
1/2 sliced Lemon
1 Cinnamon stick
Sugar/ sweetner/ agave/ mapple syrup/ honey (to taste)

In a pitcher add the boiling water and tea bags. Allow tea to brew for about 10-12 min. Sweeten to taste. Add cold water, cinnamon stick and sliced lemon and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. Before serving add the ice.

VOILA, easy like sunday morning!

"Hecho en la casa"

A couple weeks ago a co-worker asked me what is that a girl like me is doing at home cooking. A couple days later a friend, after finding out about my hidden passin blurted out a "REEEEEAAAALLLLY? It just doesn't look like you". I even found out that my own step-dad things my sister is the child who has inherited cooking gene.

This is when I came to realize that most people in my life don't know I can cook and that most meals eaten by me on a weekly basis are prepared from scratch in the place i love to call "my little sanctuary".

And now to answer their questions, I cook because I love to, and yes I've been doing it since 1989. I can think of many ways in which cooking has benefited me and even changed my life. But mainly I do it because it makes me happy.

If you have decided that you've had it with eating out on a regular basis, or decided to ditch the microwave ready meals, then every time you feel discouraged just think  about all the money you can save just from brewing your own tea or coffee instead picking it up from Starbucks; or the 20lbs you can loose just by preparing your own soups and salad dressings.

You don't need to go from Ready-to-eat/ Take-out fanatic to brewing your own beer at home. Take instead a step at a time in the direction of a healthier and wealthier life.  One day you'll wake up to realize that about the journey after all, and not the destination.

Have a wonderful day!

POLENTA

I do not understand the fuss behind polenta. 

You can find it as a side dish at fine Italian or vegetarian restaurants, wholefoods, Trader Joe's and "Westsider" dinner parties.  Everyone loves to pronounce the word "POH-LEN-TAH". All of a sudden Polenta has become the word of the day. "It's all about is polenta polenta polenta!".

What i find to be really sad and ridiculous is that no one seems to know what Polenta is after all, and worse yet, that there are people willing to pay $3 to $4 per tube of this "rare and exquisite delicacy".

 
Americans have a natural gift for turning any food into something deliciously appetizing, and believe it or not, sometimes even polenta can look great :)

But what is Polenta really? Most are familiar with Polenta in this form. I like to call it RTE  (ready-to-eat)


But really, where i come from, polenta consists mainly of a "glue" like mixture of cornmeal or yucca flour and water.  No basil-garlic or chedar flavor!  Oh and until i moved to the US it has always been organic.

Historically, Polenta dates back to the Roman empire. Chestnuts were used instead of corn in its confection (remember corn was introduced to Europe and Africa only after the discovery of the Americas)


Today Polenta feeds millions of people in sub-saharan Africa and it constitutes their major source of caloric intake (no portobello mushroom or tomato sauce thou, and of course it only comes in "Original" flavor).



There is no reason really for the $3-$4 charge. If the 3rd world  is fed Polenta by the 1st word it not because of its nutritious qualities, but because it is cheap.

So next time you decide to replace your past by polenta, instead of paying premium price for a little tube, you should just make your own.

Here it is BASIC POLENTA ( by Giada de Laurentiis)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
(there is no salt or butter in the original version)

    Directions

    Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.




    You also replace the Cornmeal by Yucca or Chestnut flour (this is actually Polenta's original  ingredient. Add garlic and herbs and pack it in little cling wrap tubes and you too can sell it to your neighbors for 4 bucks a pop..... make it 6..... after all its home made.

    Enjoy :)

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    About Me....

    Hi, my name is Natasha, but you can call me Natty.

    I was born in Brazil to Angolan parents of Portuguese descent whose families trace to regions of Italy and Spain. I grew up in Portugal in a quite "gastronomically diverse" household.

    Accounting is like a genetic disease that runs in my family, somehow the legacy had to continue and destiny (ironic as it may seem) has chosen me.  And so in exchange for a check I spend the majority of my day seating in an office crunching numbers. I don't love it, it does not excite me and so I can do it day in and out without getting emotionally attached. And this is good.
    I love partying, dancing, hiking, reading, talking, traveling, sharing, starting new projects, cooking and feeding people amongst many other activities.

    other things about me:
    My name spells with an S not a C
    Home (now): Los Angeles, CA
    Will one day own a small hotel and restaurant in a Solar Paradise in the southern hemisphere.
    Believe one day I'll finally meet my invisible maid
    Facebook stresses me out :)
    Airplane food sucks
    People who don't know the issues should not be permitted to vote
    Paying premium pricing for things made in China is retarded
    went MAC and never went back
    Fashion: Story Tailors and Zambesi
    Addicted to SHOES
    Savory over Sweet

    About Delish from the Kitch

    Hello and welcome to Delish from the Kitch!

    And before you start wondering why is that you need to follow another food blog, bla bla bla, I'll just save you the trouble, and will tell you flat out YOU DON'T.

    This is a blog about a girl who loves to cook and share her food with others. A girl who would rather have cereal for dinner everyday than eat broccoli with grilled chicken. A girl who believes that if you are not good to eat you are not good to work. A girl who ABSOLUTELY believes cooking must be done with spirit and passion, and that mastering technique is not enough to cook food that will make YOU happy.

    This will be a space for sharing successes and failures, joy and frustrations, and most importantly the Spiritual growth, change and enrichment that come from patiently learning how to master techniques while devoting heart and soul to giving life to new creations.

    So grab a cup of coffee and join me in unwinding from the stresses of the urban live and surrendering to the simple pleasures that really make life worth living.
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