Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

What’s Cooking – 2011 Archives


Dragging out the lawn furniture and planting the gardens doesn’t leave me much time for cooking. This month, we have an easy dinner that only takes minutes and will allow you to still enjoy a scrumptious meal.

May’s Choice

• Chicken Stir-fry
• Rice
• Tossed Salad
• White Wine – Chardonnay

Chicken Stir-fry

1-1 ½ lb. boneless/skinless chicken thighs cut into strips
½ teas. ground ginger
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 TBL. vegetable oil
Splash sesame seed oil
½ red pepper cleaned and cut into strips
1 small head broccoli
10 baby carrots in the cello pack cut in half lengthwise
1 small onion halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves sliced
¾ cup chicken broth
1 TBL. soy sauce
2 TBL. cornstarch

Combine chicken, ginger, and pepper in glass bowl. Set aside.

On medium high heat, warm oils in wok or large frying pan until shimmering. Sir-fry chicken until no longer pink about 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan to a clean bowl.

Add vegetables and garlic to pan and stir-fry to crisp tender, about 5 minutes.

Combine stock, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl until well blended. Stir into hot skillet. Add chicken and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles.

Rice

I prefer Uncle Ben’s original rice. It’s easy and never fails. Instead of water use chicken stock to increase the flavor. Sprinkle a little parsley over the top for a prettier effect.

Tossed Salad

Lettuce from 2 different types torn into bite size pieces, red leaf and head are excellent combinations
Tomatoes chopped
Cucumber peeled and sliced
Zucchini diced
Green Onions sliced, be sure to add some of the green
Mushrooms sliced

Combine everything, or any grouping you like, and toss with your favorite dressing, but be careful not to add too much. The lettuce will get soggy. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Spring brings religious holidays and special meals with friends and family. My good friends, Jane and Sharon, offered two appetizers that will have your guests in a festive mood. Dessert is from Studs’ sister Carol and it’s to die for.

This menu will serve four with enough dessert left over for the next night.

April’s Choice

• Bleu Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
• Cheese Squares
• Citrus Champagne Punch
• Mock Champagne Punch
• Honeyed Ham Steak with Peach Halves
• Roasted Sweet Potatoes
• Fresh Green Beans
• Éclair Pudding Cake
• White Wine – Chardonnay

APPETIZERS

Bleu Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

1 dozen mushrooms
1 TBL. butter
2 green onions chopped
1 garlic clove minced
¾ cup mushrooms stems finely chopped
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup bleu cheese crumbled

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully remove stems and chop.

Over medium heat, sauté stems, garlic, and onion in butter until tender. Pour into a mixing bowl. Add bread crumbs and bleu cheese and gently combine.

Fill caps and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Cheese Squares

3 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack or Colby cheese
2 small cans of diced green chilies
6 eggs
½ cup milk
3 TBL. flour

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Grease 9×12 pan. Layer cheese, then green chilies until you have three layers, three cheese and 2 chili. End with a layer of cheese.

In a bowl, mix flour and milk then add eggs. Mix well. Pour over cheese.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggs are set. Cool a bit then cut into squares and serve.

Citrus Champagne Punch

¾ cup fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups vodka
½ bottle Limoncello
1 ½ TBL. dry vermouth
2 bottles chilled dry Champagne or sparkling wine
1 lemon sliced thin
1 bottle ginger ale as backup

Combine lemon juice, sugar, vodka, Limoncello, and vermouth in a large nonmetal bowl. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add sliced lemons. Cover and refrigerate 1 – 2 hours to chill.

Add Champagne then gently stir to blend. Add the ginger ale if the mixture seems too strong.

Serve in a punch bowl with ice on the side. Makes approximately 2 ½ gallons.

For a smaller crowd, scale down the recipe by at least half. Fill tall glasses with a few ice cubes. Add the punch and enjoy.

Mock Champagne Punch

1 bottle ginger ale, the 2 liter size
23 oz. pineapple juice
32 oz. white grape juice

To make an ice ring:

Fill a ring-shaped cake pan half full with half the ginger ale.

Freeze until partially frozen. Lay pieces of fruit around the ring. I used blueberries and orange slices. Fill the pan with ginger ale and freeze until solid.

Chill the remaining ginger ale and juices for several hours.

In a large punch bowl, lay the ice ring. Pour the ginger ale and juices over the ice ring and serve.

DINNER

Honeyed Ham Steak with Peach Halves

1 16 oz. can cling peach halves in heavy syrup
1 – 1 ½ lb. Ham steak about 1 inch thick
½ cup orange juice
1 TBL. honey
2 teas. prepared mustard
¼ teas. ground allspice
2 TBL. water
1 teas. cornstarch

Drain peach halves, reserving ½ cup syrup. Trim a few pieces of fat from the ham steak. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fat chunks and fry until lightly browned, rubbing them along the bottom of the skillet to grease it. Discard fat. Add ham and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in orange juice, honey, mustard, allspice, and reserved peach syrup. Add peach halves and heat through, about 5 minutes. Place only ham and peaches on a warm serving plate and tent with aluminum foil.

Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl until well blended. Stir into skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Spoon sauce over ham and peaches.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 lbs. sweet potatoes
¼ cup olive oil
Rock or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Parsley to garnish – dried or fresh

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks. Toss in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pout into baking pan you can serve from. Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to roast uncovered for 30 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a toothpick. They should be golden brown.

Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley.

Fresh Green Beans

1 lb. fresh green beans trimmed
Water
2 – TBL. Butter
Fresh ground black pepper

Bring large pot of water to a hard boil. A high heat setting is best.

Drop the beans in by the handful. Boil 10 to 15 minutes or until the beans are just tender.

Drain beans in a colander. Add butter to the hot pot and melt. Pour beans into pot. Toss with butter and coat well, then season with pepper to taste.

Éclair Pudding Cake

1 large box graham crackers
3 small boxes French Vanilla instant pudding
1 8oz. tub Cool Whip
3 ½ cups cold milk
1 container chocolate fudge icing

Mix pudding and milk. Chill for 10 minutes then add Cool Whip and blend well.

Layer bottom of 9×13 pan with graham crackers. Pour in half the pudding mix. Layer more graham crackers. Pour remaining pudding into pan. Layer more graham crackers.

Microwave icing for 30 seconds. Pour on top of graham crackers and spread evenly.

Chill at least 8 hours, but overnight is best.

My good friends, and exceptional authors, MC Halliday and Clare London are here with easy recipes that will fill your home with mouthwatering aromas. This tasty meal works great as a family dinner or for your special guests.

Learn more about this month’s creative cooks on their fun websites:
MC Halliday
Clare London

February’s Choice

• Luscious Lemon Herbed Chicken from MC Halliday
• Roasted Potatoes from Clare London
• Fresh Green Beans
• French Bread
• White Wine – Pinot Grigio

Luscious Lemon Herbed Chicken

1 2kg/4½lb free-range chicken
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large lemon, quartered
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves (don’t remove skins)
handful of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems
good olive oil
handful of fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves plucked

Rub the chicken inside and out with a generous amount of salt and freshly ground black pepper, then cover the chicken and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. Pre-seasoning and holding for a few hours will increase tastiness when cooked.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Remove chicken from the fridge, pat it down with a paper towel. Rub the skin generously with olive oil. Place the garlic cloves, the quartered lemon, rosemary and thyme in the cavity.

Bake on a rack in a pan in the preheated oven for around 90 minutes, no need to baste. The chicken is cooked when the thigh easily pulls away and juices run clear.

Remove the lemon and garlic from the cavity; squeeze the soft garlic from the skins and smear all over the chicken. Discard the lemon.

Serve with favourite veggies and roast or mashed potatoes. Hint: some of the garlic pulp can be added to the potato mash for extra good flavour.

Roasted Potatoes

Red potatoes quartered
Lard or olive oil

Steam potatoes over a pan of boiling water for 15 minutes or until they are soft when a toothpick can be inserted easily. Drain water, then toss potatoes in hot pot to dry off excess water.

Meanwhile, put a fair amount of lard or olive oil in a baking pan. Melt in oven until very hot. Add potatoes and spoon the hot lard or oil over them. Roast on top shelf of oven for 30 minutes.

Fresh Green Beans

1 lb. fresh green beans trimmed
Water
2 – TBL. Butter
Fresh ground black pepper

Bring large pot of water to a hard boil. A high heat setting is best.

Drop the beans in by the handful. Boil 10 to 15 minutes or until the beans are just tender.

Drain beans in a colander. Add butter to the hot pot and melt. Pour beans into pot. Toss with butter and coat well, then season with pepper to taste.

This month we celebrate winter with a stellar entrée fit for a Tsar. Molly Daniels provided the recipe and it is yummy!

Dessert is from creative repeat guest chef Dawn Roberto. It’s easy and fills the house with a mouth-watering aroma.

Learn more about this month’s guests on their fun websites:
Molly Daniels
Dawn Roberto at Love Romances Café

January’s Choice

• Beef Stroganoff and Egg Noodles
• Tossed Salad
• French Bread
• Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
• Red Wine – Cabernet Sauvignon

Beef Stroganoff

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb beef sirloin, cut into 2x1x1.8 strips (I like flat irons or stew meat)
Salt and pepper
6 Tbsp butter
12 oz button mushrooms, quartered (I’ve also used canned mushrooms; cuts down on cook time)
1 med onion, thinly sliced (I also substitute onion powder, as I’m not fond of onions)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
¼ cup sour cream (I do it to taste)
3 tsp Dijon Mustard (again, I do it to taste)
2 tsp lemon juice
1Tbsp parsley leaves

Preheat large skillet over med heat for 3-4 minutes. Raise heat to high and heat 1 Tbsp oil. Season half the beef with salt and pepper; add to skillet, arranging in single layer and saute, without stirring, until well-browned and still pinkish inside, about 1-2 minutes. (Beef will continue cooking later in sauce)

Transfer to large plate and set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and beef. Discard any excess oil.

Return the skillet to med-high heat. Melt 2 Tbsp butter and when the foaming begins to subside, add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until well-browned, about 7 minutes*. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the plate with the beef.**

*If using pre-cooked mushrooms, just cook until heated.

**I have kids who hate mushrooms, so I keep them separate.

Heat 4 Tbsp butter and just as foaming begins to subside, add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and whisk until lightly browned. Whisk in the flour and beef broth, whisking constantly until full boil. Remove from heat. Whisk in sour cream, mustard, and lemon juice. Season with pepper to taste. Set sauce aside and cover.

Add beef, any juices, mushrooms, and parsley to sauce and reheat over med. heat until just hot (do not boil).

Noodles

Salt
12 oz pkg egg noodles
2 Tbsp butter
Black pepper

Bring large pot of water to boil, salt generously, and cook noodles until tender. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Toss with butter and season with pepper to taste.

Divide noodles among 4 plates and top with stroganoff. Serve immediately.

Tossed Salad

Lettuce from 2 different types torn into bite size pieces, red leaf and head are excellent combinations
Tomatoes chopped
Cucumber peeled and sliced
Zucchini diced
Green Onions sliced, be sure to add some of the green
Mushrooms sliced

Combine everything, or any grouping you like, and toss with your favorite dressing, but be careful not to add too much. The lettuce will get soggy. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon; stir into creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 4 dozen.