Posts from October 2014

Italian Chicken Stew with Rosemary





It’s not cold here yet (our windows are open all day and night), but my brain still equates October with stews and soups. While we’re waiting for our winter garden to grow–seeds were planted a couple of weeks ago–we’re making use with our hearty herbs that are still thriving.

I amended this recipe from Yvette van Boven. Her books are delicious both for your taste buds and your eyes. Feast on these illustrations, please.


2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 dried hot peppers
1 t chopped fresh rosemary
6 chicken thighs, chopped
2 14.5 oz cans peeled tomatoes
2 lbs spinach, chopped
3 shittake (or other) mushrooms, chopped


In a dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for around 4-5 minutes, or until translucent. Next, add the garlic, hot peppers, and rosemary. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs, and put them in the pot. Increase the heat to medium high, and brown both sides of the chicken. Next, pour in the canned tomatoes, and add the mushrooms. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. About 5 minutes before serving, add the chopped spinach. (You can do this earlier, too, but you won’t get the emerald green color.)

Serve over polenta or potatoes, or in a bowl with crusty bread.

Flounder with Lemon-Butter Sauce




Gary and Sam spent Saturday morning fishing in Cedar Key, and came back with not the most beautiful fish in the sea: a flounder. Flounders are funny looking, in my opinion. Like other fish, they are born with eyeballs on opposite sides of their head, but because they flatten themselves against the ocean floor for protection, their downward-facing eyeball migrates to the other side of their body and ends up in an asymmetrical spot on their head. Despite their lack of cuteness though, they are pretty dang tasty.

I made this recipe from Leite’s Culinaria.


4 4- to 6oz, 1/2-inch-thick flounder fillets (fresh, not frozen)
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
2 T vegetable oil
1/2 c flour (optional)
2 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 slices
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
2 T chopped parsley


First, pat the fish dry with paper towels. (According to this recipe, the trick to getting a good golden crust is to make sure your fillets are nice and dry.) Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the fish. Next heat a saute pan to medium high heat. Add the oil. While the oil is heating, pat the fish dry for a second time.
Take the fillets, and dredge them lightly in the flour. Shake off any excess. (If you’re gluten intolerant, you can leave out this step.) Add the fillets to the skillet. Do not move them for 2 minutes. Take a metal spatula and flip each one. Place a slice of butter on each fillet while it cooks, or for about 2 minutes. Once cooked through, transfer the fish to a plate. Add the lemon juice to the skillet with the drippings, and use a spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the parsley. Drizzle this mixture over the fish to serve.

Sweet Italian Sausage




Back when we butchered our boar, we had 60lbs of wonderfulness that we were able to separate into thirds and made 20lbs each of chorizo, breakfast sausage, and Sweet Italian sausage. I made spaghetti with the Italian spiced links the other day. The fennel, parsley, and sugar make for really nicely spiced pork that can be used in just about any Italian dish that calls for sausage.

This recipe, again, came from Hunter Angler Gardner Cook. I like how their recipe goes into the history of it; they claim that the Sweet Italian recipe was popularized in the states by WWII GIs returning from Italy who had gotten a taste of what real Italian sausage should be. I paired it with my Italian red sauce made from our tomatoes. When (unfortunately) not in Rome, you can still (try to) do as the Romans, I guess.

Ingredients (we quadrupled this recipe):

4 lbs ground boar
1 lb fatback
2 T kosher salt
3 T sugar
2 T fennel seeds
1 t cracked black pepper
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t dried oregano
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
1/2 c white wine, chilled
Hog casings

Instructions (used almost verbatim from Hank Shaw on Hunter Angler Gardner Cook, since he knows what he’s doing):

First, get out about 15 to 20 feet of hog casings and soak them in warm water. Cut the meat and fat into chunks you can fit into your meat grinder. Mix together the salt, sugar, half the fennel seeds, black pepper, nutmeg, and oregano, then mix this with the meat and fat until every piece has a little on it. Put in the freezer until the meat and fat are between 30°F and 40°F. Put your grinder parts (auger, dies, blades, etc) in the freezer, too, and put a bowl in the fridge.

Grind half of the mixture through the coarse die on your grinder, and half through the fine die. This creates a more interesting texture. If your meat mixture is still at 35°F or colder, you can go right to binding. If it has heated up, you need to chill everything back down. Use this time to clean up the grinder.

Once the meat is cold, put it in a large bin or bowl and add the remaining fennel seeds, white wine and parsley. Mix well with your (very clean) hands for 2 to 3 minutes — a good indicator of temperature is that your hands should ache with cold when you do this. You want to to mix until the meat binds to itself. You can also do this in a stand mixer set on its lowest setting, but you don’t get as good a bind as you do when you do this by hand.

You now have Italian sausage. You can leave it loose, form it into patties, or link it. Put the loose sausage into a stuffer and thread a casing onto it. Stuffing sausage is easier with two people, one to fill the links, the other to coil. Stuff the links well but not super-tight, as you will not be able to tie them off later if they are too full. Don’t worry about air pockets yet. Stuff the whole casing, leaving lots of room on either end to tie them off; leave at least three inches of unstuffed casing on either end of the coil.

Hang your links on a wooden drying rack for at least an hour, or up to overnight if you can hang them in a place that doesn’t get any warmer than 40°F or so. This lets the links cure a little, filling their casings and developing flavor. Once you’ve taken the links off the hanger, they can be refrigerated for up to 3 or 4 days, or frozen for up to a year.

You can grill the links, or cut them up, saute them with peppers, garlic, and onions, throw some red sauce in the skillet, and serve over spaghetti, like I did.

Spicy Pineapple & Shrimp Skewers




Gary and I spent a Fab.U.Lous weekend in Charleston, South Carolina visiting my brother, Thomas. The architecture is adorable, the food is amazing; I didn’t want to leave. (If you head there soon, I highly recommend Xiao Bao Biscuit, Edmund’s Oast, and the Gin Joint. Ahhhhh, be still my beating heart!) Our own sleepy southern town does not rival Charleston’s fabulousness in food or aesthetics, unfortunately. But what Charleston has in charm, they lack in pineapples. That’s right, we can grow pineapples–PINEAPPLES!!–in our very own back yard!!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPineapples are a bromeliad, which is a plant family that can capture and store water in their overlapping leaves. American colonists imported the fruit from the Caribbean as early as the 17th century. Because the trade routes were perilous, it was both a delicacy and an achievement to share a ripe pineapple with guests. Therefore, the pineapple became a symbol of hospitality. However, I should add that these early Southern Americans weren’t always the most hospitable; Thomas, Gary, and I toured a sobering building that used to be the slave market in Charleston where thousands upon thousands of slaves were sold, often ripped from their families to live and work in the most deplorable of conditions. That said, maybe a pineapple can be both a symbol of hospitality and a remembrance of those who were treated inhospitably.


Yes, this recipe is another dish with shrimp. This recipe came from the Food Network.

1 lb large shrimp
1 1/2 c pineapple chunks, either fresh or canned
1 red onion, chopped into chunks
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
2/3 c pineapple juice
3 T lemon juice
3 T lime juice
1 T minced ginger
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 T soy sauce
3 T honey
3 T chopped cilantro
8 wooden or metal skewers


Chop all the vegetables. Skewer the shrimp alternating with the pineapple, onion, and green pepper. In a small saucepan combine pineapple, lemon and lime juices with the ginger, jalapeno, soy sauce, and honey. Heat mixture over medium high heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Brush or drizzle the kabobs with the pineapple glaze. Cook off in a hot cast iron grill pan or over an outdoor grill. Grill for 3 minutes per side and brush occasionally with the glaze. Serve over rice, and add chopped cilantro then.

Shrimp & Sausage & Grits




To continue celebrating the Libra birthdays, we had our friend Sam over for his. We had for dinner what he requested– sausage and gin and tonics–the two things Sam helped make. We added some frozen shrimp from our plethora now in the freezer and used the chorizo that we made from the boar, and we had a dinner worthy of a birthday celebration.

This recipe was crazy easy to make. If you take out the making-your-own-sausage and catching-your-own-shrimp part, this should only put you back about 15 minutes. I amended it from Emeril Lagasse.


2 T butter
1 T olive oil
3 T flour
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
S&P 1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 lb chorizo sausage
1 lb uncooked shrimp
3 c chicken broth
1/4 c green onions, chopped

2 c stone ground grits
6 c water
2 T butter


First, dump all your grits ingredients into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Once it’s at a boil, bring down to a simmer. Stir every so often but do not take off the heat until you’re ready to serve (otherwise it will form into a gelatinous glob).

To make the sauce, in a saute pan, melt the butter and add the oil. Stir in the flour and cook for 4-6 minutes to make a roux (the roux should look the color of peanut butter when it’s ready). Add the chopped regular onion, pepper, and celery. Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Next, add the sausage. (If you use link sausage, chop it up. I used ground in this recipe.) Cook until the sausage is done. Next add the broth. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then down to a simmer. Add the uncooked shrimp, cover the pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and are cooked through. Add this all to a bowl of grits, and garnish with chopped green onions or parsley.

Enchiladas with Hot Banana Peppers




We only have two little plants of hot banana peppers growing right now, but the plants are loaded! I’ve been adding these guys to nearly all of my dishes to give it an extra kick.

Enchiladas are a great meal to make when you have leftover chicken. After I bake a chicken, and make broth with the bones, the leftover meat that falls off the bone is great for this dish. But if you’re not a meat enthusiast, add some beans instead and you’ve got yourself a meal.


1/2 lb cooked chicken, shredded
1 can black beans
2-4 hot peppers, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c parsley, chopped
1/2 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1 T chili powder
1/2 t crushed hot red peppers
1 c fresh sweet corn (you can add more beans here instead, too)
1 package corn tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce


First, turn on your oven to 350 degrees. Add all the combined ingredients, except the tortillas and the enchilada sauce. Grease a 9 x 13 in. pan. Place a spoonful of the mixture in each tortilla, and roll it up. Fill the casserole pan with stuffed tortillas. Pour the sauce over the tortillas, sprinkle with a little bit more of cheese, and cover with foil. Bake for about 30 minutes. Take the foil off, and put back in the oven for about 10 more minutes, or until the cheese browns on the top.

Chicken Curry with Green Onions and Limes




Last weekend, we planted our fall garden! One of our garden beds was taken over by green bunching onions that propagate like mad. We’d really only have to have a handful of bunches, but for whatever reason, I decided to plant a whole bed full. Because I’d NEVER use that many onions all at once, we decided to pull up half the bed, and plant something else there instead. (Garden real-estate is precious.) So, now that I have both crisper drawers in my fridge full of green onions, I’m finding and making all the onion-heavy dishes that I can.

I got this recipe from The Kitchn.


2 T vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch green onions, (or one regular onion) chopped
2 T Thai red curry paste
2 T curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 c chicken broth
2 chicken thighs, chopped
1 t fish sauce
1 1/2 t sugar
8 oz egg noodles (Asian style or Italian)

Roasted chopped peanuts
Lime wedges
Chopped green onion


Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chopped onions and cook for about 30 seconds. Next, add the curry paste and curry powder and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, chicken thighs, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir everything together, scraping up any curry paste that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package directions, timing it so that the noodles will be cooked when the curry is done simmering. Drain and divide between two bowls. Top with curry and the garnishes of your choice. Serve immediately.

Lime Cake with Glaze




I had three loved ones with birthdays on Monday and Tuesday (HBD Maurice, Margaret, and Sara!) but unfortunately only one of the three was close enough for me to deliver some baked birthday love.

Our limequat tree is full of limes, so I amended Ina Garten’s Lemon Cake recipe to include limes instead. (The loaf looks yellow due to the bright yellow yolks from my Farmer’s Market eggs.)


2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 c sugar, divided
4 eggs
1/4 c grated lime zest
3 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t kosher salt
3/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice, divided
3/4 c milk
1 t pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
2 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 1/2 T freshly squeezed lime juice


Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. Next, cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, or about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Next, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the milk, and vanilla. Add the flour and wet mixture to the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Next, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely. (I actually forgot to do this part, and the cake came out kind of dry. I think this is needed.)

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

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