How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sweet Savory Chicken

Each week, we look forward to the Boston Globe magazine, which features two or three recipes on a common theme. On January 12, the theme was honey! We have not yet tried the muffins or honey-nut butter, but Pam set the issue aside (during my long travels in the tropics) so that we could try the chicken-tomato-honey dish on a cold New England evening.

We happened to have ALL of the ingredients in our fridge, pantry, or freezer, including tomatoes and garlic from our 2013 farm box share.

I followed this recipe pretty much as written, using about half the chicken called for. We had skinless, boneless breasts, so I added a bit more oil than called for. When I do this again, I will try to use bone-in chicken for even richer flavor, but it turned out quite scrumptious as it was. The only change I would recommend would be to omit the salt; it was not at all necessary.

This was a winner, and will probably be even better for lunches tomorrow.

Just like I remember

Sometimes I try to recreate my childhood comfort foods and then wonder what I thought was so great about them. I can never be sure if my tastes have changed, or the formula for the food, or perhaps it was really the memories were what were so good, rather than the food. However, yesterday, I had the happy experience of eating a childhood favorite, and returning squarely to the comfort zone that I was looking for. From whence did these memories come? Why, Don Pepino Pizza Sauce!

Sundays were "pizza kit" day at my house when I was growing up. A local store (no longer in existence and whose name I can no longer remember) in my hometown of Catonsville, Maryland sold the kits which contained three pizza shells, a bag of mozzarella cheese, and a can of Don Pepino sauce. I loved pizza kits, probably as much for the fact that Sunday pizza meant the whole family was dining together as much as for the enjoyment of eating pizza. I also knew that not any old sauce would be good enough for the pizza - it had to be Don Pepino. I have never enjoyed pizza like the Sunday pizza kits, until yesterday (which, was coincidently, a Sunday). I found the cans of Don Pepino at the grocery store while visiting my parents who still live in Maryland (I have not seen them anywhere else I have lived since I moved away 26 years ago). Although it had been a month since we bought the half dozen cans we didn't open any until yesterday afternoon, when my husband, daughter, and I were together after almost a month of being apart. Of course I did not have the pre-made pizza shells that came with the original pizza kits, but I expect the dough I made in the bread machine made for a better shell anyway (we also discovered that substituting water for beer in the bread machine recipe made a pizza dough that was crispier, and that we all liked better - who would have guessed I would ever prefer water over beer!). The comfort of having my family surrounding me, combined with the Don Pepino sauce - just like I remembered it - gave me warmth on a cold winter day.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Home made French Onion Soup

Everyone in our family loves French Onion Soup. We buy frozen blobs of if from Trader Joe's or Costco pretty regularly. Then we have an easy meal on nights no one wants to cook. The individual frozen blobs go into ceramic bowls, and then are baked until they melt. We have never attempted to make French Onion Soup ourselves - until last night. I can't believe I never did it before. It was almost as easy as the frozen kind.

I found the recipe in the seldom used Soup Cookbook by Jean Childress. I used one onion which I sliced and sauteed, then added one can of chicken stock. The recipe at this point says just to simmer for thirty minutes, no mention of any other seasonings, which didn't seem right to me, so I added a bay leaf, some garlic salt, pepper, and dried parsley, and then simmered for half an hour. The soup was then divided into two bowls, I added some bread machine French bread to each, and topped with some Provolone cheese. The bowls were placed in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes in order to melt and brown the cheese.

Easy comfort food.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mashed potatoes and carrots with scallions and garlic salt

The recipe is in the name (plus a bit of milk). I mashed two small potatoes with one carrot, added some diced scallions and seasoned with garlic salt. I invented this one myself. A tasty side dish for my sausage, and served with home brew beer.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Revisiting my first recipe

It has been three years since we started this blog. We've been generally consistent about posting "one new recipe a week" (and not fretting about it when we don't). Yesterday, in honor of my first "recipe" I re-made the Classic Italian Soup in Reverse. I had to make some substitutions as I am also still working on my "what's in my refrigerator?" project. So, this time, I cut up a roll that was left over from the office holiday party in lieu of the sourdough bread, and used red wine instead of white, as we did have some red cooking wine in the 'fridge, but no white wine to be had anywhere. Once again, I used tomatoes that I had frozen over the summer, rather than canned, and this time I used some garlic salt, and added the half onion I found in the refrigerator. I also used water and a teaspoon of "Better than Bouillon" instead of chicken stock. It was a good soup. I do recall liking it better when made with white wine, though.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Still Playing

Day three of "what's in my refrigerator?"

Still plenty of carrots; one thawed, but uncooked, chicken breast; also a few scallions; and some lemons.

Once again I adapted a recipe I found online. I peeled and chopped a carrot and put the pieces into a skillet along with some olive oil. I let the carrots cook while I diced the chicken breast, and chopped the scallions. These also went into the skillet. I threw in some garlic scrape from the freezer, some lemon pepper seasoning, and squeezed in the juice from half a lemon. I let everything cook until the carrots were soft and the chicken was cooked through. I served this over some reheated leftover rice and topped with some fresh parsley.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A simple meal

Day two of "What's in my refrigerator?"

There are quite a few carrots, so I decided to try a carrot/raisin salad. I don't think I've ever made one before, but I figured it couldn't be hard, and I had to make something quick and easy after work in order to get to my recorder lesson in time. Normally on recorder nights James makes a nice meal while I am at my class and we have a late dinner when I get back, but I was on my own yesterday. Anyway, I looked at several recipes for carrot/raisin salad online until I decided on which combination of ingredients I thought sounded good, and were already available to me. I came up with the following:

1 peeled and shredded carrot
1 handful of raisins
1 small piece of peeled and shredded ginger
1 dollop of mayonnaise
1 sprinkle of chopped walnuts

This was a very yummy side dish to my quesadilla, which I made with the last tortilla we had.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Good food

Post holidays and it is time for Pam to play "what's in my refrigerator?" the game where I see what I can prepare with what I already have on hand without going grocery shopping. First up: Chicken and potato stew adapted from this recipe. I started by chopping and sauteeing an onion in butter, then I added some black truffle flavored olive oil to the pan and put in a diced chicken breast. While the chicken browned I peeled and chopped a carrot, and three small potatoes, and added them to the pot as well. Next I put in four cups of chicken stock followed by some dried parsley, basil and a bay leaf. I added some green beans, kale and garlic scrape that I had frozen over the summer (all from our CSA farm box) and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes. I removed the bay leaf and enjoyed this perfectly flavorful stew along with a glass of homemade barolo wine. A delicious and comforting meal on a winter's eve.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My first pot roast

We spent some time with the family in Maryland over the holiday break. I did much of the food preparation for my mother and stepfather who are both experiencing some health problems. We did some food shopping with the list my mother prepared which included a pot roast. I wasn't even sure what to look for in the meat department, but a nice piece of beef labeled "chuck roast" seemed to fill the bill. I took it back, and with my mother guiding me through, I put the meat in the slow cooker along with a bit of wine, some garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. It cooked for a very long time (hence the name slow cooker, I guess) and in the mean time some friends of my parents came by with crab cakes from G&M, so the roast had to wait until the next day to be eaten. I was pleasantly surprised that even after being taken out of the slow cooker, put in the refrigerator, and then heated in the microwave that it was still very tender (and tasty too!) James had already left Maryland by then, but as an added bonus I got to enjoy this meal with my brother, whom I rarely get to see. It was almost like a family dinner. James and I are not big beef eaters, but next time we decide to have a red-meat based meal, I think I will try this at home.