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Showing posts from October, 2010

More Italian Comfort Food

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Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and what did he find? Lots of wonderful new varieties of food that he brought home to the best cooks in the universe. Yummy pineapples, sweet potatoes and corn in the West Indies, and he brought sugar cane to Puerto Rico from which rum is distilled, from the Caribbean islands he brought sweet peppers to Europe. That's when the fun started.

From one generation of Italian cooks to the next, sweet peppers have been a mainstay ever since. I think you'll enjoy my slow cooker version of sweet peppers and veal stew – a mild cousin to the sweet peppers and sausages my grandmother used to make. A perfect way to use up the end of season pepper crop from the garden.

VEAL AND SWEET PEPPER STEW
1 1/2 pound veal for stew, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 whole allspice (or 2 whole cloves)
1 bay leaf
5 whole black peppercorns
1 can ( size) tomato paste
1 cup ready-to-serve c…

Brussels Sprouts Really Taste Good ... Honest!

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Our garden is still producing fresh veggies. We made golumpki with a gorgeous cabbage over the weekend, began a batch of home infused vodka with Concord grapes and tonight, supper was a yummy pasta with fresh picked brussels sprouts and chicken in a tasty olive oil and butter sauce. This recipe is an adaptation from Food and Wine magazine. Recommended wine pairing: a crisp, cool chardonnay from Cakebread Cellars.

Backyard fresh is as local as it gets, folks. I love our garden!

CHICKEN WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND PASTA
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound chicken tenders
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red onion, minced
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh brussels sprouts, cut into halves from top to stem end (frozen can be substituted)
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 pound medium pasta shells or ziti noodle…

It's soup season!

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Campbell's started canning tomato, cream of mushroom and chicken noodle soup in 1897 and America fell in love with soup convenience. More than 3 billion bowls of condensed soup are consumed annually in the U.S. - who doesn't have a can or two tucked in their cabinets? But there's no doubt homemade is better and the smells and subtle flavors of homecooked soup are worth the effort.

Crock pots offer up the opportunity to combine easy and slow. Once the rage, crock pot cooking rises and dips in popularity. There are pros and cons to using slow cookers: Some foods lose trace nutrients when cooked for too long. On the other hand, cheaper meats make better slow cooked meals and are great budget stretchers. For soups, the longer the better remains the rule and that's where having a crock comes in handy.

For lots of great sandwich ideas, check out pages 324-327 of The Silver Palate Cookbook. I like to make a grown-up version of grilled cheese made with French "pain de mie…