Sunday, September 27, 2009

New England Maple Baked Beans

1 can pinto beans
1/3 white onion, diced
2 TB pancetta, diced
2 TB maple syrup
1 ts loose chicken bouillon (or 1 cup of chicken stock)
1 TB brown splenda
1 TB dried cranberries
fresh ground black pepper

smoked paprika

Rinse pinto beans, and preheat oven to 375F. In a dutch oven (such as le creuset), heat the pancetta, release the fat and brown slightly. Add the onion and soften. Turn off the heat. Add the rinsed beans, 1 cup of water, the chicken bouillon, the maple syrup, brown sugar, and the cranberries and black pepper to taste. Stir gently and bake in oven for 45 min at 375F.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Roasted Balsamic Beets with Pine Nuts and Goat Cheese

Balsamic Roasted Beets

Balsamic roasted beets

6 medium beets (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 star anise
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Brush the beets clean and cut in large chunks. Place in a baking dish, and whisk the stock, balsamic vinegar and rest of ingredients together, and pour over the beets. Cover with foil, and bake for 1h. Turn off heat, and leave in oven for another 30min.

Makes 5-6 servings.

Roast beet salad with pine nuts and goat cheese


2 TB rice vinegar
1/2 ts olive oil
1 ts spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
some salt

Whisk the ingredients to a vinaigrette.


1 TB toasted pine nuts
1 oz soft goat cheese
1 cup of roasted beets, cooled

Arrange the beets on a plate. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and top with pine nuts and goat cheese.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Giada's Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

It sounded good seeing Giada stir it up on TV.... and it is really good cooking and eating it myself with some leftover organic chicken -- chicken noodle soup with lemon, a bay leaf and parmesan. I added lemon, but used only half of the proposed amount. A wonderful dish for the slowly colder nights and the fall to come...

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 dried bay leaf
1 (2-inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
handful spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup diced cooked rotisserie chicken, preferably breast meat
2 TB grated Romano cheese
handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
fresh ground pepper

In a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth, lemon juice, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the diced carrots and pasta, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken and heat through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and the Parmesan rind and discard. Stir in the cheese and the parsley.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Food Scene in Portland, ME (NY Times)

THE overnight temperature is dropping toward frost this week and probably won’t rise above it until May. Most of the cruise ships are gone, and with them the fudge buyers, the lobster seekers and the chowderheads who clog the Old Port neighborhood in the summer.

But the quiet and the chill are deceptive. Portland’s many chefs and bakers, its turnip farmers and cookbook sellers and assorted mad food geniuses are gearing up for another lively winter.

read more.....

BRESCA 111 Middle Street (Franklin Arterial), (207) 772-1004.

COFFEE BY DESIGN 43 Washington Avenue (Cumberland Avenue), (207) 879-2233.

EVANGELINE 190 State Street (Congress Street), (207) 791-2800.

THE FRONT ROOM 73 Congress Street (Howard Street), (207) 773-3366.

MICUCCI GROCERY CO. 45 India Street (Middle Street), (207) 775-1854. (italian import store)

MIYAKE 129 Spring Street (High Street), (207) 871-9170.

158 PICKETT ST. CAFÉ 158 Pickett Street (Broadway), South Portland, (207) 799-8998.

PACIARINO 468 Fore Street (Cross Street), (207) 774-3500.

RABELAIS 86 Middle Street (Franklin Arterial), (207) 774-1044.

ROSEMONT MARKET 559 Brighton Avenue (Montrose Street), (207) 774-8129, and 88 Congress Street (Merrill Street), (207) 773-7888.

SCRATCH BAKING CO. 416 Preble Street (Pillsbury Street), South Portland, (207) 799-0668.

VIGNOLA 10 Dana Street (Commercial Street), (207) 772-1330.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

How the Cat makes Quesadillas

How the cat makes quesadillas

1 St. Joseph Lavash, cut into 4 quarters
2-4 TB ff refried beans
fresh ground pepper
1 ts chili oil
1/4 small red onion, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced and cut into thin strips
1/2 cherry pepper, finely chopped (no seeds!)
some leftover chicken or steak, cubed
1/2 ts cumin
1/2 ts chili powder
2-3 TB water
2 TB low-fat Mexican cheese mix

On a cutting board, prepare the lavash (cut in half, and then half the halves again). Pair 2 quarters each for a quesadilla. Cover one quarter each with 1-2 TB refried beans, and crush black pepper on the bean spread.

In a skillet, heat the oil and add the onion and cherry chili. Saute until slightly soft. Add all the spices, the bell pepper, chicken or beef (or both), and the water, and saute on low heat until the bell pepper is tender. Turn off the heat.

Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan to high heat. Distribute the bell pepper steak mix on the bean spread of the two quarters. Sprinkle with the cheese and close with the second lavash quarters. Place on the heated skillet, and, depending on the heat of the stove, turn the lavash to the other side, once it has browned on the bottom side. Turn off the heat, and let the other side get brown and the cheese melt. Serve straight up or with salsa, green onions and sour cream. Says the cat.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Walnut Kalamata Bread

Kalamata Pecan Bread

One of my favorite fast home-made breads, and instead of individual servings, this time in family size.

1 cup Insta bake
1/2 cup ground FiberOne cereal
1/2 TB baking powder
1/2 cup sliced marinated kalamata olives
1/4 cup walnuts or pecan, fresh chopped and slightly toasted
3/4-1 cup ff milk
2 TB of kalamata olive water

Mix all the dry ingredients first, and add olives and nuts. Add the wet ingredients, and mix. It will be a dry, clumpy dough, but not too crumble. It should come together as a dough, just not very smooth. Fill in a small bread baking dish, and bake at 400F for 45-60min.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pasta with Scallops in Cherry Tomato Sauce

Scallops and pasta

2 oz Fiber Gourmet rotini
1 cup of canned cherry tomatoes (Whole Foods brand)
1/2 cup of water
1 TB ketchup
1 garlic clove, minced
fresh ground black pepper
Mrs Dash garlic and herbs
1/8 cup red wine
2 fresh mushroom, cleaned and cut into thin slices
1 TB skinny sundried tomato pesto
3 large fresh or thawed scallops
1/2 small can of chopped clams, drained and 1 TB clam juice

Cook pasta according to instructions. In a pot, heat the cherry tomatoes and the water. Add the garlic, pepper, Mrs. Dash, pesto as well as the sliced mushroom and red wine. Heat well, and simmer for 5 min. Add the clams and thawed or fresh scallops, and heat through for another 3-4 min. Serve over pasta. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

It is still relatively warm and sunny outside, so not really time yet for hearty stews yet, nevertheless I felt like one. I had a few small steaks in my freezer, and improvised on the remaining ingredients. Melissa D'Arabian again was my inspiration: succulent slow cooked meat, fork tender, smelling delicious. So, here is a french inspired beef stew with some extra kicks.

ca 300 gr of chuck, steak or other type of lean beef, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 small red onion and 1 small white onion, diced
1 TB clarified butter (ghee)
2 medium-sized garlic cloves, chopped
2 springs of fresh rosemary or thyme, chopped
1/2 TB Mrs Dash garlic and herbs
1 cup of good dry red wine, a cabernet sauvignon or Cote du Rhone(my favorite is Menage a Trois)
1 cup of water
1/2 cube of beef bouillion
other vegetables such as dried porcini or fresh button mushrooms
2 TB tomato paste
1 TB flour, dissolved in 1/4 cup of water
1/8 cp red wine
1/2 TB creme fraiche
salt, pepper to your liking

In a dutch oven (or any skillet you can place in the oven with a tight lid), heat the clarified butter and sear the meat chunks. Once browned, add the onions and carrots, and sear, too. After 5 minutes, add the garlic and sear for another 1-2 min. Add the red wine, and scrap the bottom of the pan gently. Add the water, bouillon, and other vegetables. Stir, and take of the heat. Add the tomato paste and the flour. Cover with a lid, and slow roast in the oven for 3h at 325F. Occasionally, stir the stew.

Before serving, add salt and pepper to taste, and more red wine to give it a bit of an edge and the creme fraiche (or sour cream) to add it some elegance. Serve with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Enjoy!

Makes ca. 5-6 small servings or 4 dinner sized servings.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Farmers Pasta Salad

This is great simple pasta for the Labor Day weekend bbqs......

1/2 pound of mezzo rigatoni pasta (or any small shapes pasta of your liking)
1 red bell pepper, small dice
handful cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
1 can of small white beans, rinsed
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 small container of crumbled fat-reduced feta cheese
2 springs of fresh rosemary, chopped
handful of fresh basil, cut into small stripes
salt, pepper, Mrs Dash garlic and herbs
3 TB very good extra virgin olive oil
2 TB white balsamic vinegar

Cook the pasta according to instruction, drain, and cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables and place in a large salad bowl. Once the pasta is cooled, add to the vegetables, feta and herbs, add salt, pepper and Mrs Dash. Stir gentle, and drizzle olive oil and the white balsamic vinegar. Serve with bbq chicken or steak. Enjoy