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OK, People.

I am about to change your life.

I am going to be like Bob and Jillian to the folks on Biggest Loser.

I am going to be like Jack LeLane to the juicing world.

I am going to be like Mark Zuckerberg to the world of social networking.

I am going to introduce you to Cilantro Chutney.

I have no clue how I only discovered this delightful delectable deliciousness over the past weekend.

I am angered at the unjustness of the world that Cilantro Chutney has been withheld from me until now.

And I am forever grateful to my dear Dr. Sister for introducing me to it.

Are you ready for it?

OK, here we go.

The chutney recipe actually comes from my sisters boyfriend’s momma. And for the rest of my life, I shall owe her a huge debt of gratitude.

To make the chutney, combine the following in a food processor:

1 1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 onion, chopped
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 c. grated unsweetened coconut- you must find the unsweetened kind, it is in the baking aisle usually near the chocolate chips
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 T. water

And, there you have it.

Thank you, and goodnight.

I kid, I kid.

I’ll tell you how I have been enjoying this yummy, spicy, sweet, savory treat.

Idea #1:

Get a container of this:

Dump it into a bowl with a couple of huge tablespoons of the chutney.

Stir it up.

Pretty!

Store it in the same container it came in- yay for recycling.

Slather some of that on toasted goodness.

Or on a turkey sandwich.

Or on a Triscuit.

Yep, that is Gooooooooooood.

Slap a label on it so you can find it easily time and time again.

I promise you…

This will not last long in your fridge.

Idea #2

An easy chip dip

Get a container of this stuff:

Toss a little (1/2 c.) in a bowl and top with a heaping tablespoon of the chutney.

Mix it up.

Then, take a corn chip and dip it!

Or, use my husbands favorite chip to dip… the BBQ chip!

This combo is especially tasty because the spiciness of the BBQ chip pairs perfectly with the bright cilantro and sweeter coconut flavor of the chutney.

Of you can use the old standby for dipping… the pretzel!

Idea #3:

Use it to make a yummer yummer in my tummer dinner.

Fry some bacon (6 pieces for dinner for 2 plus a portion for leftovers).

Hello, Lover.

Drain that pan of the bacon fat.

Slice half of an onion. I used red, but you can use whatever you’ve got!

Drop that in your hot pan to caramelize and cook.

Put some chicken breasts or chicken tenders on a plate.

I had left chicken defrosting in the fridge all day, and it was not close at all to being 100% defrosted when I was ready to use it.

So, I cheat the defrosting process along by chopping the chicken into bite sized chunks.

Within minutes, the chicken is thawed.

Perfect!

Sprinkle on some seasoned salt and lemon pepper (there is lemon juice in the chutney, and the lemon pepper chicken pairs great with that!).

Mix it up.

Rub the seasonings in.

Toss that chicken into the same pan that had cooked your bacon, then onions.

Make sure you have washed your hands thoroughly after handling all of that raw chicken.

Cook that chicken through.

If you use the pre-sliced chunks o’ chicken, they will cook pretty quickly. 3-5 minutes, and they are done.

Right before pulling the chicken off of the heat, I added in a few dashes of worcestershire and hot sauce.

Lets wrap it up.

Grap a wrap or tortilla (or bread or bun or whatever you have on hand).

Put down a sprinkle of cheese and then top that with your hot chicken.

Grab your sour cream/chutney sauce.

I actually added another tablespoon of the chutney to make the flavors even more pronounced.

Slather some of that on your sandwich.

Top with some of your caramelized onions.

And some crumbled bacon.

I happened to have a perfectly ripe avocado, so I threw it on too!

Wrap it up!

I served it with green beans from a can.

CONFESSION: green beans from a can are my secret vegetable pleasure… although, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a whole lot of nutritional value left in them when they turn that canned shade of green.

And I also made a simple spinach salad with fried goat cheese rounds on top… that recipe is coming tomorrow!

I am telling you.

I know cilantro is not for everyone. However, if you are like me and love the stuff… you cannot live one more day without cilantro chutney in your life.

For if you do, you will certainly look back with regret on all of the time lost living without the chutney.

I’m not even exaggerating.

Really.

I’m not.

Believe me?

Good.

Happy Hump Day Peeps,

Leah

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Well, who knew?

Turns out I love Ethiopian food.

There is a new-ish joint up the street from our house. It is within walking distance, and yet Brad and I haven’t been until this week.

I have wanted to go, but I was nervous.

I have checked out the menu online, but it was way different sounding than foods I normally enjoy and that made me even more nervous.

But then… I got a first-hand recommendation from my friend Erin. She said that I HAD to go. And that is all it took to get us in the door of Emanu.

All of the dishes at Emanu are served on Injera which is a bread that falls somewhere between a crepe, naan, and a pancake.

This is what Injera looks like:

Our food came just like the picture above. Except that on the giant Injera, all of your main dish is plated.

We ordered some meat and some vegetables.

They have several beef, lamb, and chicken preparations. We chose beef that was spicy and delicious, and the flavors were new yet familiar. It was on the left side of the injera.

On the right side, we ordered a sampling of the vegetables. It included cabbage, greens, yellow lentils, red lentils, and roasted peppers and carrots. I know that does not sound overly exciting.

HOWEVER, each of these vegetables were perfectly cooked and perfectly flavored. Bland does not have a place at Emanu.

In my opinion, the best part of the food is that it is intended to be eaten by hand.

You tear off some of the Injera and pile on the toppings. I did have to use my fork to help me out from time to time.

Emanu is BYOB, so it is a completely affordable meal out. Brad and I left stuffed to the gills for less than $30. The food was so so so good. If you live in the Cincinnati area, I suggest you check this joint out.

Oh, and to top it off, the people that work at Emanu are the loveliest.

If you don’t live in Cincinnati… well, too bad for you.

This is what I was reminded of after finally checking out this restaurant- that new foods are my favorite kinds of foods. I regret that it took me as long as it did to build up the gumption to try something that I hadn’t experienced before. If my fear of the unknown had kept me out of the doors, I would have missed out on my new favorite restaurant.

You are welcome for that little life lesson on this Monday morning.

In other news, Brad and I exchanged Christmas gifts yesterday morning.

Yes, I realize we are early.

However, with our work schedules and impending travel, we wanted to make sure we had a nice leisurely Christmas morning together.

I’ll have more on that later this week, but for now I’ll just say that I am now the proud owner of one of these bad boys:

The Le Creuset 7 quart French Oven.

Sweet Sassy.

I’m attempting slow roasted short ribs tonight. Wish me luck!!

Happy Monday!

And more importantly, Happy Short Work Week to all of you that are working outside of the home!!

XO,

Leah

1. I’m stealing this post name from a blog that I enjoy Try it, You Might Like It.

2. I’m obsessed with Thai food.

3. Brad is also obsessed with Thai food- further proof that we are meant to be together.

4. I’m trying to figure out how to make Thai at home. And what I have realized is that Thai restaurants must use approximately 8000 times the amount of salt that I am using.

5. Sorry I have been missing. Thanksgiving was busy, and now I feel like the holidays are taking over my life. I love/hate this time of year. Can I get an amen?

Without further ado, I give you easy peasy Spring Rolls (with 1/8000th of the salt of what you might find in a restaurant). You. Are. Welcome.

You’ll need the following:

Rice Noodles, Rice Paper Wraps, Bean Sprouts, Shredded Chicken (1/2 c.- not pictured), 1 carrot, 2 green onions, basil, cilantro, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar

First, we shall make our sauce. This sauce is salty and delicious.

2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce- I use the low sodium version because I am a good little soldier.

Add a T of rice wine vinegar.

I know that a few of these ingredients are random, and you may not have them if you never make non-American foods. However, I end up using these ingredients a significant amount. So, go for it. Buy them! If not, you could use apple cider vinegar instead of the rice wine.

Add in a tablespoon of fish sauce.

I didn’t happen to have fish sauce. My regular grocery store didn’t have it, and I wasn’t willing to make another trip.

Instead, I used oyster sauce.

Oyster sauce does not equal fish sauce, and normally it should not be used as a substitute. But, I was feeling crazy. And lazy. And it was only a tablespoon.

You know, sometimes I like to buck the system.

1 t. of brown sugar, and mix it up.

Now in a separate bigger bowl, put in a 1/2 cup of shredded chicken.

I used my always-present-never-lets-me-down grocery store rotisserie chicken.

But leftover chicken would work too.

Or, you can leave the chicken out, and then this becomes a vegetarian dish.

Bada bing. Bada boom. I just turned this into a 2-in-1 recipe.

If you don’t have chicken and if you don’t want to go vegetarian for a dish, you could use pork, shrimp, beef, or really  anything in these instead of chicken.

Now, boil some water.

Take a chunk of your rice noodles.

Break them up a bit with your hands, and drop them in the water.

Have you ever cooked the rice noodles? They are magical because they cook with a quickness. I love things that cook with a quickness, don’t you?

You’ll know that these guys are done when they are al dente. It should only take a minute or two.

Drain them.

Complimentary rice noodle facial.

Now run cold water over the noodles.

After they are sufficiently cooled by the water, grab the noodles and chop them up a bit. It will make your life easier in the next few steps.

I did not chop my noodles, and I sorely regretted it.

Add to your chicken about 1/2 cup of bean sprouts (drained).

Add in 1/2 cup of your cooked, cooled and chopped noodles.

Chop up the green portion of 2-3 green onions. Add them to the mixture.

Now, shred your carrot. Add it to the mix.

Chop up some basil.

Depending on how much you like the herb, you can use any amount from a tablespoon to a 1/4 cup.

Now some cilantro. Same measurement as the basil. Use more or less based on your personal preferences.

Now, dump in your special sauce you made earlier.

Stir it up, little darling.

Now, for the fun part…

These are your rice paper wraps. They are fun to use.

And delicate.

They tear pretty easily, but don’t worry about it if it happens. No one will notice, and it won’t change the flavor of your food one bit.

Fill a large bowl with HOT water.

Drop one piece of the rice paper into the hot water.

After about 15-30 seconds, the paper will be flexible.

Pull it out, and lay it out flat.

Put in a healthy heaping helping (say that three times fast) into the center.

Fold in the sides.

Now, fold up the bottom.

Then, keep on rolling it up to make it into a spring roll.

It will stick to itself, so you don’t need to do anything to seal it.

Pretty nifty, huh?

Repeat, until you have a whole mound of these rolls.

I made up a quick dipping sauce too.

1/2 c. of soy sauce, 1 T. oyster sauce, 1 t. chopped garlic, 1 t. red pepper flakes, 1 T. corn starch

Put it in a small sauce pan. And heat it up to a boil.

As soon as it bubbles turn it off and stir it.

It will become lovely and thick.

Pull it off of the heat, put it into a heat safe bowl and let it cool down.

I actually prefer to eat the sauce cold with my cold spring rolls, so I pop it into the fridge until I’m ready to eat it.

This dish is perfect as a pre-made appetizer or as a side dish to some stir fry.

If you love Thai food, you know these are good.

If you don’t love Thai food, what is wrong with you?

If you have never tried Thai food, and you are scared of it… just try this. You might just like it.

XO,

Leah

For the past decade, I have travelled with my hubs to his family Lake House to celebrate Thanksgiving with his immediate family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and everyone’s dogs.

There are obvious things that I look forward to during the Thanksgiving season- seeing family, spending quality time, giving thanks, and eating glorious turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

Duh.

Who doesn’t like that stuff?

However, there is a newer tradition that I’m going to share with you. I encourage you to try it out for yourself. It will elevate your holiday weekend to a new, fantastically fattening and trashy level.

And who doesn’t love fattening and trashy?

We celebrate the Friday after Thanksgiving with Fry-Day.

I believe this started the first year Brad’s uncle fried a turkey. The next day we had this glorious frier just tempting us to try some new delectable treats in it.

And boy, have we.

It all started with the basics.

I do believe this is the beginning of the first year spread.

Pickles and jalepenos on the left, and those are bacon wrapped hot dogs on the right.

This picture was taken before their dip in our beer batter.

I warned you that these are in no way, shape, or form good for you- right?

Year two, we focused on some dessert products.

These are double stuffed Oreos covered with funnel cake batter.

Um, HELLO!!!!!

We send off the battered goodies to be handled by the men.

The Coors Light drinking men.

Manly.

And classy.

This picture indicates that you also must wear some casual wear from your Alma Mater during Fry-Day.

This is not a Fry Day mandatory; however, it is recommended.

This is a spread from one year.

There are fried cheese sticks, fried oysters and shrimp, fried pickles and jalepenos, and some dips to correspond.

Look! There is even fruit on the table. At least we are making an effort to include some element of health.

Here is the shrimp up close.

This is a personal favorite of mine.

If you look closely, you’ll notice a strange looking fried item in the center of the pile.

That would be cousin Ryan’s fried Lunchable hotdog in the mini-bun. Weird. And gross.

Mmmm. Funnel cake with sugar and cinnamon. Heaven.

Let’s see… we’ve also done salami stuffed with cream cheese, buffalo chicken dip frozen into balls then deep fried, and ice cream.

But we are always looking to improve and experiment.

So, if you have anything we must try, please share!!

Don’t worry… Uncle Steve makes us go on extremely long hikes every day of the break. So, we do work off the calories.

Last year after one hike, two of the older dogs were out of commission for a full 24 hours because the old pups pushed it a little too hard mile after mile.

You do get to see sights like this on said hikes.

Pretty.

And here is another practical way to take care of those pesky Thanksgiving Day and Fry-Day calories…

Fire Jumping while holding Maverick, the wonder dog.

Ladies, you can participate too!

There ya have it.

A new tradition for you Thanksgiving weekend.

You are welcome.

Don’t forget… I’m looking for frying suggestions. And we’ll try anything once (case in point- lunchable hotdog).

Happy Hump Day!

XO,
Leah

It seems impossible that my ears are burning from the cold air whipping around as I walked our ding-dongs tonight.

Just a week ago, I was soaking up the sun and drinking mai-tais in Hawaii.

I’ve mentioned that while we were there, we had some incredible meals.

And none of them rocked my world more than my Uncle Steve’s red snapper.

Yowza.

I learned that this fish dish of his was what he made for my Aunt Lynda on their very first date. No wonder she came back for date #2!

Since leaving Hawaii, I have been dreaming about that dish. So, I decided to make it tonight to momentarily transport us back to the warm ocean breeze (you know, away from the cold fall blustery gusts of Ohio).

Now, I faced a couple of problems right off the bat.

1. I live in Ohio.

2. You cannot get the Hawaiian Red Snapper  (one of the only Red Snapper varieties to not be overfished and on the “do not eat” list) in Ohio.

3. If you could get the whole darn thing, Brad and I could not eat an entire fish.

4. Who would eat the eyeballs and brain without Steve here?

So, I set out to make a more mainland friendly version. All of the ingredients I used are easily found in Ohio, and I have both a chicken and a seafood version. So, if fish isn’t for you… stick around for the chicken.

Hang tight.

And hang loose.

I’ll walk ya through Uncle Steve’s recipe, and at the end I’ll give you our mainland version.

Dear Fish,

Thank you for giving your life for us. It meant a lot. Truly.

You were delicious.

XO,

Leah

Those are fish guts.

Know who likes fish guts?

This little guy.

So, this big guy shared the guts with the little guy.

Steve took the whole gutless fish and placed it on a Ti leaf, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and then wrapped another Ti leaf around it. He wrapped the whole bundle in foil, and he put it on the grill.

It both grilled AND steamed it.

Magical.

Here he is all cooked up.

Squeeze a little lemon on our buddy, Mr. Fish.

And a bit of soy sauce.

Now.

Oh now.

Now is the part that changed me.

On this plate is chopped garlic, ginger, and macadamia nuts.

Yes, please.

In this pan is oil. When it gets to the perfect temperature, the oil will bubble a bit around the chopsticks.

When it bubbles, toss in your plate of wonder.

Well, don’t toss.

That’s hot oil you are dealing with. And it could splatter. And that would hurt.

As soon as it hits the oil, oh Sweet Mary Patricia.

It is the smell of the islands.

When it gets a little golden, you are golden.

And you should pull it off of the heat.

Take that whole sizzling pan and pour it over Mr. Fish.
It crackles and adds those flavors to the entire dish.

Sprinkle it generously with chinese parsley (aka cilantro) and green onion.

Did I mention that Mr. Fish had to lose his tail?

Know why?

Because the house we rented had a small grill, and poor Mr. Fish couldn’t quite fit.

Look at that spread!

Pretty fantabulous.

In Hawaii, we had this with pad thai, white rice, seared ahi tuna, and a delicious green salad.

The after dinner show was pretty entertaining too.

Uncle Steve partook in the fish eyeball.

I cannot overstate how nasty this eyeball looked. The lens of the eyeball looked like a small white eyeball.

Sick.

But Steve is an island boy, through and through.

So, he slurped up the ball of eye.

Now, this is my cousin.

He is my uncle’s mini-me.

And he wanted the other eyeball.

At the very least, he wanted to be like his dad.

By the looks of his face, I’m not so sure he actually wanted the eyeball.

And believe me, he was even more unsure he wanted the eyeball once it was in his mouth.

Ha.

Did I mention that I’m from a family of good eaters?

Now, trust me when I say that even if you are not a seafood person you have to try a version of this dish.

It is so delicious, and on a cool fall day it will take you away to the islands.

I roasted some chicken tenders that were coated with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

350 for about 15-20 min (depends on the thickness).

I also wanted to try this dish with tilapia- a pretty easy-to-find fish in Ohio.

I used the frozen version from Kroger.

Get out a piece of parchment paper, and give it a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Place your defrosted fish down and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Cover with another sheet of parchment paper.

We’re making a little pocket to steam the fish in while its in the oven.

This method keeps the fish super moist.

Have I ever mentioned that I rather loathe the word  moist?

Start at one corner and fold it like this:

Move over a couple of inches, and fold it again:

Keep going and folding!

Until it looks like this.

It doesn’t have to be perfectly sealed, but you want a pretty good pocket for some solid steam action.

Put it on a piece of foil or on a pan so that if juices start to flow, they don’t flow directly to the bottom of your oven.

Pop that into the oven with the chicken for the last 10 minutes of the chicken cooking.

Again, this will vary based on the filet’s thickness.

If you have paper thin tilapia filets, you could need as little as 5-6 minutes.

Take a peek, and if they are white all the way through- they are done!

Now, I fried up the garlic, ginger, and macadamia nut mixture.

I’m going to insist on mac nuts. Normally, I would say to be flexible and use what you have.

But the mac nuts take it over the top.

They really do!

Put your meat on a pan, and drizzle the most flavorful goodness over it.

Please note, I forgot to add a squeeze of lemon juice and about 1/4 cup of soy sauce.

You should not forget this step.

But rest assured, if you do, it will still be deeeee-lish!

Top with cilantro and green onion, and pop it on a plate!

I served it up with a roasted butternut squash casserole with blue cheese in it (recipe is coming soon). So stinking good.

I’m convinced that the garlic/ginger/mac nut along with the cilantro/green onion topping would be delicious on just about anything.

I’m thinking that I might need to try it on shrimp and scallops next.

Yes, I think so.

Know what would be perfect with this?

A pina colada.

Or a mai tai.

Or a glass of crisp white wine.

Have a great weekend!

If you are feeling inspired, transport yourself to the islands with this dish.

XO,

Leah

Note: Click on the recipes tab above this post for the full catalog of Seven Hills Recipes.

Our household is entering in to an insanely busy time.

There are lots of exciting happenings for us right now, but it does mean more dinners for one.

Tear.

Sniffle.

Sniffle.

Cry.

Sob.

Wait?

What’s that you say?

Mama O is back on with her final season?

Well, then.

That is a different story entirely.

I’ll happily take my meal for one and spend my evening watching the Mighty Opes.

And that is exactly what I did just the other night.

This dinner was for one. But I made extra to pack for lunch the next day. This recipe could easily be turned into dinner for 2 or 4 or 12.

A couple of weekends ago, at my brothers wedding, my mother-in-law brought us a present from a recent trip.

Wine flavored barbecue sauce.

Hello, lover.

I didn’t want to wait to use this treat!

So, when the man was working late, I decided to put the gift to good use.

Raw chicken in a bowl.

Nothing says delicious and yet disgusting quite like raw chicken.

Bleck.

I put just enough barbecue sauce in to coat the chicken. I put the airtight lid on the container and I stuck it in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

You, of course, can use any barbecue sauce.

Pick one that floats your boat.

In the meantime, I threw together my salad.

I actually really love salads.

Especially the hearty kind with lots of toppings and flavors.

Spinach on a plate:

Chop up a ‘mater:

And some cuke:

Drain some black beans:

And sprinkle some on top:

Hmmm… at this point, I’m looking in the fridge trying to figure out what else would be delish.

What do I like?

What do I want?

This is the true beauty of cooking for one.

No one else’s tastes or opinions matter.

And sometimes being selfish is fun.

So, guess what I found??

Yep, Bacon!!

So, you know some of that is getting crumbled on top.

Random hard boiled egg.

Sure.

Why not?

Avocado.

Mmmmm. Hmmmm.

Let’s throw that on.

Some crumbled blue cheese on top.

Yummers.

Just two things missing at this point,

Chicken and some dressing.

For the chicken… pull it out of the fridge.

I desperately was hoping to grill these up.

But, it rained.

And the ground and my poor thirsty plants desperately wanted the rain.

So, I settled for a non-stick pan.

And I put down a little extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.

And I threw my bbq covered tenders in about 5 minutes on each side.

Right before they were done, I wanted a little more of that winey barbecuey saucey.

So, I slathered some on.

Chop it up, and on to the salad it goes.

For dressing, nothing I had in the fridge was feeling quite right.

So, I took a little ranch:

Added in a bit of the barbecue sauce:

And I think a splash of hot sauce.

Oh yes.

Mix it all together.

And drizzle on your salad to top it off.

Grab a glass of this:

And maybe some of these (for you know how Mama O rolls):

Sit down in front of this:

And snuggle in for some special one-on-one time with your BFF:

Happy eating friends.

XO,
Leah

Last weekend, the main man and I indulged.

Big time.

Permit me to explain.

In March of this year, Brad and I traveled to NYC for our friend’s wedding. My man married our dear friends.

Did you know that the main man can marry and bury people?

In fact, he is marrying my brother and my future sister-in-law this weekend.

But that is a different story for a different day.

Well, our newlywed friends sent us a very generous thank you that funded a fancy pants night out at the best restaurant in our great city.

BOCA.

Be still my heart.

This place gives me a quiver and a palpitation and a bit of sweaty palms.

It is so good.

So, Friday we got all fancified and headed out.

Upon arrival, I ordered a dirty.

With blue cheese stuffed olives.

Oh, Boca.

You, my friend, are starting off of the right foot.

At Boca, you choose either 2 courses or 3 courses plus dessert for a prix fixe price.

I love meals like this.

It encourages appetizers and pasta dishes where an a la carte menu might convince you to stay away.

When it is all bundled together, it is like a super special adult happy meal.

But first, the bread.

That darn grilled bread.

Smoky, garlicky, and a little salty.

Holy moly.

I could have stuffed myself on that alone, but I was committed to pacing myself.

I’m disciplined like that.

From our seat, we could see the excitement that was happening in the kitchen.

I love an open kitchen.

Our first course came.

My husband has had the opportunity to interview Chef David Falk (Boca’s founder and head chef), and David said that Boca was the house that the brussel sprout built.

I know, I know.

Brussel sprouts. Yuck.

But not these.

They are caramelized and served with a day boat scallop with brown butter truffle vinaigrette.

They taste like a savory candy, and they remind me that I am a seriously amateur cook.

Brad started with the grilled bread topped with Goat Cheese and Onion Argo Dolce.

I don’t even know what that means.

I assume it means drool-on-your-chin-delicious.

‘Cause that it is what it was.

Sorry about the blurry pic. I was trying to be a little inconspicuous with my iPhone photos!

Next, came Brad’s pasta dish.

Spicy linguini.

Again.

The drool.

Oh hey there wine.

Nice to see ya.

You are delicious too.

Now, I only ordered two courses while Brad ordered three.

I wanted to make sure I had room to eat every delectable bite of food that I did order.

But because Boca is fabulous, they brought me a complimentary pasta dish so Brad didn’t have to eat alone.

I had one perfect sweet corn ravioli with brown butter and black summer truffle.

Have you ever had a meal that included truffle?

I have, and I’m hooked.

I must order any item that includes them.

And I may or may not have bought a small $12 bottle of white truffle oil at the grocery.

OH. MY. DOG.

Truffles are seriously worth the hype.

Earthy. Savory. Aromatic. Perfect Perfectness.

Whew.

Time for the main course.

I went for the filet.

With swiss chard, rosemary potatoes, king crab (like a big ole’ hunk of the good stuff), bearnaise and bourdelaise sauce.

There is a quite famous steak restaurant here in Cincinnati that is also higher-end and delicious.

This Boca filet blew the other steak out of the water.

Brad had the seared chicken with sausage, artichoke, and vermouth risotto.

If I could make chicken like this, I would eat it three meals a day.

And for dessert.

Dessert was sorbet for Brad:

And a trio of cheesecake, chocolate cake, and creme brulee for me:

I could have died happy after that meal.

Here are my conclusions after dining at Boca.

One, I wish I had the money to eat here everynight.

I don’t.

Two, I wish I had the money to eat here once a month.

I don’t.

Three, I shall start a Boca savings account now.

Four, I love to eat. And I love to cook.

It fills me up.

But man, when it comes to cooking, I really don’t know a whole heck of a lot. I left Boca with such a respect for David Falk, who has trained under master chefs around the world. He has studied, honed, and dare I say perfected his craft.

I love experiencing or seeing someone that is a true master at his or her craft.

It is inspiring.

So, while I know that I’m never going to achieve his types of food (well, at least not without formal training, apprenticeships with chefs around the world, and WAY more hours of practice), I do know that I will continue to work hard at getting better at the things I love.

Work hard.

Love what I work on.

Save pennies for next trip.

It must be sooner rather than later.

Have a great three day weekend.

If you can, take your special someone to somewhere special!

XO,

Leah

… errr, something like that.

Brad asked me to help out and do a quick video for a series going on at the Vineyard.

I reluctantly agreed.

This kind of thing makes me nervous and twitchy.

But, here it is in all of its glory.

My voice sounds weird.

And here is the recipe. I have shared it before!

Lots of love,

Leah

During the work week, I never eat breakfast at home.

First, I love sleep.

Love, Love, Love it.

And I hate the alarm.

And I love the snooze button.

So, by the time I actually get out of bed, I have about 15 minutes to get ready for work and out the door.

I know myself.

And so I prepare by showering at night, setting out my outfit, packing my breakfast and lunch the night before, and getting the coffee maker set up at night so I can be greeted by my addiction when I do make it out of bed.

I recognize that 3 out of 4 of those steps mirror a first grader’s routine.

I’m cool with that.

Also, I’m never hungry first thing in the morning.

But at 9:30 I would tackle you for a morsel of food.

So, I’m constantly on the lookout for easy make ahead breakfasts.

Like this,

this,

this,

or this.

Last Saturday night I was chatting with my friend John, and he reminded me of those glorious Quaker Oats breakfast squares that were at one time readily available.

We both lamented the fact that they don’t seem to be around anymore.

And I made him a vow to recreate the bar.

And I have.

YESSSSSSS!

I didn’t take pictures while I was making it, because quite frankly I didn’t know how it would turn out.

Happily, it turned out better than I could have hoped for.

And I now have breakfast for the main man and me this week!

I think I promised John a lifetime supply of these if I perfected the recipe.

I’m hoping he doesn’t hold me to it.

Here is what you’ll need:

2 cups of quick cooking oats

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/4 c. milk

1/4 c. lowfat sour cream (oh sure, you could use the higher fat content stuff or the naturally low-fat greek yogurt, I don’t care!)

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. chopped nuts (this is optional, and I chose slivered almonds but any nut will do)

1 cup frozen blueberries (you could also use raisins, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, chopped apple… the possibilities are endless, so use your imagination)

Dump all of that in a bowl.

Mix it up.

Put it in a greased 8 x 8 baking dish.

Stick it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.

Take in the scents of cinnamon baking away in your oven.

After 30 minutes, it comes out looking like this.

YUM!

I cut it into squares.

And I had to taste test one, of course.

It really is great.

I had one yesterday for breakfast, and it kept me full and it was quite good going down.

I have one packed away for breakfast today.

With everyone headed back to school, back to routine, or just working another work week, it is the perfect solution for a non-morning person like me!

Or if you are a morning person, I’m sure it will work for you too!

Good morning and Happy Breakfast Eating,

Leah Joy

Ever.

I have one more chicken recipe.

Then, I’m done.

Forever.

Because I’m sick of chicken.

OK, I’m done with chicken for this week.

Today I give you my Famous Quiche of the Week.

And by Famous I mean it is famous in our household of two.

This is a heartier little quiche, and it is yummy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A chicken sausage or a chicken breast chopped up prior to cooking.

Side note: how sick does that raw sausage look?

Some kale- or you can do spinach

Mushrooms- I’m using criminis, but you can use whatever or leave them out- I’ll never know!

Tomato

Green Onions

Shallot

Eggs

Cream

OH, and some vegetable or chicken stock. It isn’t pictured, but it does help the cooking process along.

Let’s get a pan going over medium heat. Add a little extra virgin olive oil:

Pull your sausage out of the casing. Put it in the pan, and cook it all the way through. If you are using a chopped up chicken breast, I’d add a little salt and pepper to give it some flava.

Once that is done cooking, remove it from the pan.

Now, lets get our kale ready. Kale is one of those super foods you read about. I happen to love it. It is super hearty, and it is delicious. If you like spinach, I think you’ll like kale.

Google tells me that kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin A, and calcium.

So basically, if you make this quiche you’ll probably live forever.

To prepare the kale for cooking, you need to take the yummy leaves off of the woody kale stalk.

Hold the stalk, and pull off the leafy dark green goodness toward you:

Once all stalks are removed, give it a rough chop.

Also, chop your shallot and your mushrooms.

Throw your shallot into your pan to soften it up.

Then add in your mushrooms.

Mmmm. The kitchen should be smelling good about now.

Now, toss in your chopped kale.

Push it around a bit so that all of the leaves get wilted.

Here is where that stock comes in handy. I think it adds a nice savory flavor, and it helps cook the kale.

I used about 1/4 c.

While that continues to wilt, turn down the heat to med-low, and lets get the rest of our ingredients together.

In a bowl, combine 6 eggs:

and 1/4 cup of cream:

I always use very precise measurements as you can see.

Now throw in your chopped tomato and green onions:

Stir it up, little darling.

Now, to finish our kale. Sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper. If you use the stock, there will be some salt already in the dish. So, give it a taste and see if it needs a little more salt.

Ok, get out your quiche pan/pie pan/cake pan… whatever you are using. I do recommend a little non-stick spray.

Put your chicken on the bottom. You know, if you are a vegetarian feel free to leave the chicken out.

Or if you aren’t in the mood for chicken, you can substitute the chicken sausage with regular sausage.

Basically, do whatever you want!

Next, our kale mixture goes down.

Bonus: this gave me a spinach facial. It is the latest rage, you know.

Top it off with your egg/tomato/green onion mixture:

Truth be told, I am incapable of making a quiche without cheese. At this point in making the quiche, I had a moment of terror. To my shock and horror, I had forgotten the cheese.

So, I scrounged through the fridge and found a nice block of sharp cheddar.

I shredded it on top.

CLOSE CALL.

And I gave thanks for the ooey gooey goodness of cheese.

In to the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes… until the middle is set.

Pull it out of the oven, and you get this:

Breakfast for another work week!

I have some fun late summer recipes planned for this week, so come on back and see me!

Happy, Happy Monday!

Leah

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