Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Krista Bjorn 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Slow-Cooker Chicken Mole

If you are familiar with mole (MOH-lay) you know that it is a Mexican term used for the many sauces in Mexican cuisine, that include chile peppers, nuts, a blend of spices (cumin, cinnamon), something sweet like raisins or other dried fruit, and a hint of chocolate.  Mole requires a long gentle cooking, so it is perfect for the slow-cooker.

This version is a less complex, but an equally delicious mole sauce that can easily be put together. I placed all the ingredients (except the cilantro) in the blender, whirled it around until it was thick and well blended, and poured it over the chicken thighs and slow-cooked all day.

A perfect weeknight meal that can be started in the morning and ready by dinner time. 

Slow-Cooker Chicken Mole
Serves 6
Recipe from Food Everyday

4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 12)
coarse salt
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed
1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup raisins
3-ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
fresh cilantro leaves, for serving

Season chicken thighs with salt and place in a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker.  In a blender, puree tomatoes, onion, ancho and chipotle chiles, almonds, raisins, chocolate, garlic, oil, cumin, and cinnamon until smooth.  Add tomato mixture to slow cooker, cover and cook on high until chicken is tender, 4 hours (or 8hours on low).  Serve chicken and sauce topped with cilantro.

Note: Sauce can be used for enchiladas too.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Tomatoes on the Vine

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Glazed Citrus Doodles

This is how you hit my sweet spot....Buttery cookies with citrus.

Fresh from the oven

Right to my plate

Glazed Citrus Doodles
Makes 36
Recipe from Everyday Food

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and level)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange zest, plus 3 tablespoons juice (from 2 oranges)
4 teaspoons lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons juice (from 2 lemons)
2 large eggs
2-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with racks in upper and lower thirds.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon orange zest, and 2 teaspoons lemon zest on medium-high until pale and fluffy, 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.  beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour mixture: beat to combine.

2.  Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place, 2 inches apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake until edges are lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely.

3.  Whisk together 1 tablespoon orange zest, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, citrus juices, and confectioners sugar until smooth.  With a small spoon, spread glaze over each cookie.  Let set 1 hour.  (store in airtight containers, up to 3 days.)


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Andy Wallack 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Land of Lincoln-Discovering Chicago's Food Scene

During my travel experience I posted a facebook status update that said, "I am beginning to think that Chicago may have a more interesting food scene than New York City."  Obviously from the comments that I received, I struck a nerve.

This was my first journey to the Windy City.  The goal was to eat, walk and shop my way through Chicago.  For the record, I did not shop much, but I certainly walked and ate my way through it.  Who wants to try on clothes when  your underwear band is rolling down because your belly is so full?

Chicago in my mind is similar to New York City except that it is less crowded, there is more space and quite frankly, it is in the Midwest, a new element compared to the Northeast.

Look it even has its own wanna be Times Square statue

During my trip I texted my step-mother and said, "I could live here" her reply, "you would not survive one brutal Chicago winter."  I balked, but she was right, and I have proof, I showed up in Chicago with no jacket, acting like everyday is a Florida day.  Let's face it Chicago has freaky weather.  When we arrived it was drizzly rain and the temps were cool.  The next day, it was 85 degrees, sunny and we were looking for shade spots to stand in during our long walks.  The following day, it was COLD and WINDY-what's up with that?

There were memorable experiences while traveling.  The first one was meeting one of my favorite bloggers, as she would say in the "flesh and blood."  I met Lin the author of the blog  She was just as amazing in person as she is in my virtual blogging community.

We drank these.....

And ate these.......

We actually ate more than this but just wanted to give you the feel.  It was a great first evening.  I felt like I knew Lin for a long time, and in a way I did.  The virtual world has a way of providing the detail and over time tells the story.

Another memorable experience, we scored reservations at The Aviary, if you have been following this blog, you know the cocktails reign supreme at our house.  All I can say about the experience is  "Oh My God!"  The cocktails were a blend of science, art, and design.   It's difficult to describe, it just has to be experienced.

It was weird taking photos in a place like this-almost disrespectful.  Forgive the quality, these were quick snaps before they could see me.

Of course we enjoyed the Chicago Hot dog

We learned our manners

And we enjoyed this...

I know when a blog post is getting too long. I will stop here. Let me say it was an amazing experience. Food and food culture rock my world.  Chicago you rock!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Alisha Randall

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dirt to Table Experience: Refrigerator Pickles, and You Name it, Veggies

The summer veggies are ripening, and there are still a few veggies left over from early spring, and I am ready to brag.  My canning skills at best, are novice-not totally trustworthy. My ability to pickle lends me more a confident role in preserving my bounty.

Until recently, I never thought about pickling vegetables. Growing-up the closest I came to eating pickled anything was eating jarred PICKLES. We were urban dwellers, if it could not purchased at the local Winn-Dixe, it was not going to happen. We did not grow food, we did not think about food-It was all about convenience.

Although my growing up years were not focused on food,  I did enjoy a lot of good food, shared at many other families tables-who did think about food, who brought rich traditions with a more recent immigrant status.  A fond food memory of mine was during my college years (which went on longer than it should have) were small platters of pickled vegetables served along side the main entree, it shared a constant presence at the Iranian family table-twenty-five years later, I appreciate it, I get it.

Refrigerator Pickles and You Name it, Veggies
Makes 2-quarts
Recipe adapted from Food Network


For the Brine:
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups white vinegar
6 teaspoons kosher salt
Several sprigs of fresh dill
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns (optional)

For the Vegetables:
Note: I am providing the exact recipe you can substitute, add or delete any of the vegetables. I did!

6 kirby cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
6 young spring carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 handful large scallion pieces or green beans
A few pieces of cauliflower to tuck wherever they'll fit
4 small hot red chiles or 2 jalapenos


1.  In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups to a boil, reduce the heat so the water simmers and add the garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves.  Remove from the heat.

2.  In 2 clear 1-quart jars, place a few sprigs of dill.  Divide the seeds and the peppercorns between the jars.  Using tongs, remove the garlic from the brine and place 5 cloves in each jar.  Then pack the jars full of cucumbers, carrots, scallions or green beans, cauliflower and chiles.  You want them to be tightly stuffed.

3.  Bring the brine back to a boil, pour it over the vegetables to cover completely, let cool, then cover and refrigerate.  The pickles will taste good in just a few hours, better after a couple of days, and they will keep for about 3 months.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted byAunt B's Kitchen