Chicken Chili

October 13, 2013

Chicken Chili - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

We have been BUSY around here.  With Desi starting school and Stella being at that age where she doesn’t sleep all the time anymore and is into EVERYTHING, I haven’t had time to do much of anything other than cook dinner and do dishes.  The rest of the (extremely dirty) house and my side projects have definitely suffered.  But fall is here, and I’m cooking new and fun things again, so I’m doing my best to make time to post about them.
Charred Veggies - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

My husband raved about this chili, and actually got really protective over the leftovers. I knew this meant that he really REALLY liked it, because usually I’m the only one in this house that eats any leftovers.  The charred veggies gives the chili a little bit of a smoky flavor…it’s very different than any chili I’ve ever made.  So I’m definitely making it again, even though that means I’ll have to make Desi his own little pot of chili because this one has meat in it AND is pretty spicy. But that’s ok…more leftovers for us.

Chicken Chili

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

10 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 jalapeno (or I used a Fresno because the jalapenos didn’t look that good)

1 yellow onion, peeled and halved

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 3/4-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2″ cubes

1/4 cup chili powder

salt

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

2-14 oz. cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat broiler, with rack 3 inches from heat source.  Arrange tomatoes, jalapeno and onion, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet.  Broil until starting to char, about 5 minutes.  Pulse tomatoes and jalapeno in food processor until chunky.  Chop onion and mince garlic.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add oil.  Working in batches, brown chicken in a single layer, allowing to sear before stirring, 5-6 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add onion to skillet.  Cook until soft and golden, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring for one minute.  Stir in chipotles, and drain fat off chicken and add chicken to the pot.  Raise heat to high.  Add tomato-jalapeno mixture.  Cook, scraping up browned bits, until fully incorporated, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in stock; simmer for 20 minutes.  Add beans, simmer for 10 minutes.  We served topped with sour cream and tortilla chips on the side…it would also be great with shredded cheese and chopped avocados, and with corn bread on the side.

Kale Pesto

June 9, 2013

Kale Pesto - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

I love pesto, but I’ve been wanting to try new things besides basil pesto.  This kale pesto is really yummy, and can be used in a number of ways: on a sandwich, in an egg scramble, on chicken or fish, on pizza (which we did the night after we had it on pasta…yum!), or, of course, on pasta.  This recipe is enough to cover a pound of pasta, plus extra for other things on later days.  It really freezes well, too!

Kale Pesto

1 bunch kale, stems removed

1/3 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts

1 clove garlic

zest and juice from one lemon

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup or more olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add kale and boil for about 30 seconds.  Immediately drain kale and run cold water over it to cool it off.  Squeeze off excess water and put in food processor, along with nuts, garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper.  Process for about 30 seconds, until its all ground to a fine meal.  Scrape down the sides and pulse a few more times.  With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream.  Scrape down the sides again, taste, and add more olive oil if needed (and salt and pepper), and pulse a few more times.  The consistency isn’t as creamy as basil pesto, and I found that I needed more olive oil than with basil pesto.  I think I used almost 1/3 cup.

If making pasta, cook your desired type of noodle to al dente and place it in a large bowl, reserving some of the pasta water.  Add about half the pesto to the pasta, and combine thoroughly, adding up to 1/2 cup pasta water as needed.  Serve immediately, topping with parmesan cheese, and maybe a little toasted walnuts for garnish.  It’s also really good with some halved cherry tomatoes stirred in.

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says . . .

I’m really loving non-traditional pasta dishes like this with just a few ingredients tossed with some pasta.  Probably like most Americans, I always assumed pasta came with meat sauce, marinara, or, if you’re feeling fancy, Alfredo…Jason and I survived on spaghetti marinara for the first few years we were together, living in our dinky little basement apartment in Lincoln Park.  It was either that or Ramen noodles, and I really hate that stuff.  So it’s been really fun the past several years, since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom/foodie cook, discovering all pasta has to offer.

This Martha Stewart recipe has been sitting in my files for a few years now, and I really wish I would have pulled it out sooner!  The sweetness of the roasted cauliflower and onion coupled with the salty bite of the capers is really fantastic.  This is in the “can’t stop eating it” category, for sure.  We ate it as a main dish, with a green salad.  For those of you keeping track, my little picky eater loved it, too!

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

I’ve noticed lately that cauliflower seems to be the new kale.  It’s everywhere!  When I told Margaux that I wanted to make this cauliflower pasta recipe, she said she’d been intending to make this one from Martha.  So we’ve made both and this is our first post.  I’m not sure I know which is my favorite – I loved both.  Look for a post on the other recipe soon.  We served this as a side dish to a roasted chicken breast and served the leftovers as a main dish, both with a green salad.  Yum either way!

1 large head cauliflower cut into small chunks (about 7 cups)
1 red onion, halved lengthwise and then cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1/4-1/3 cup capers, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
12 oz orecchiette pasta, whole wheat recommended
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
zest of 1 lemon, Meyer if available
1/3 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

Preheat oven to 450. Toss the cauliflower, onion and capers with the olive oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread this mixture in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring halfway through, until cauliflower is tender and brown, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook, al dente, according to package directions.  Save 1/2 cup pasta water and then drain the pasta.

Turn the pasta back into the cooking pot or a large bowl.  Toss the hot pasta with the roasted cauliflower mixture, 1/4 cup of the pasta water,  the parsley and lemon zest.  Stir until completely combined.  Add more pasta water if too dry. Either add the cheese to the pot and stir to combine or pass the cheese to add to individual servings.

Bow-tie pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts
Aunt Suzy says . . . 

Randy made this really delicious pasta last fall, and I’ve been bugging him about it since we decided to do Pasta Wednesdays here at S&SK.  He finally brought over the cookbook where he found the recipe, Italian Light and Easy, a favorite standby of his originally published in 1993.  He pointed out the recipe he thought he used, but couldn’t exactly remember.  It used all the ingredients you see in this post except it was for a cold pasta salad!  I distinctly remembered that he served it as a hot dish, so I thought he must have improvised, which is what I did.  Not only is this dish Italian ” light and easy” it was lightning fast to put together, which fits perfectly with the Pasta Wednesday concept. This can be made in 30-minutes tops.  Serve with a green salad and a nice, crisp bottle of Pinot Grigio and you’re set for a great weeknight meal.

1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts

1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2-inch dice

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

10 ounces Farfalle (bow-tie) pasta – regular, whole wheat or GF

2 tablespoons olive oil

8-10 fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

Cook the artichoke hearts according to package directions.  Drain.  When cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

Place the diced tomatoes into a small bowl and add the balsamic.  Set aside.

Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.  Save 1/2 cup pasta water and then drain and rinse the pasta.

While pasta is cooking, place the olive oil in a large saute pan (large enough to hold the pasta and other ingredients) and heat to medium.  After draining the pasta, place it in the preheated pan.  Stir to coat.  Add the reserved tomatoes and artichoke hearts and a little of the pasta water.  Stir to combine, adding more water if it is too dry.  Stir in the basil and parsley, salt and pepper.  Once all is thoroughly combined, you can either add the Parmigiano and continue stirring till melted or pass the cheese for people to add to their individual serving.

COOK’S NOTES:  I think this dish is perfect for whole wheat pasta which added a distinct flavor.  I imagine if you don’t have Balsamic vinegar on hand, that red wine would work as well.

Garlic and Kale Linguine

January 18, 2013

Garlic and Kale Linguine

Aunt Suzy says . . . .

The basis for this dish is a great recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for classic spaghetti with garlic and olive oil which I made recently.   Last week I saw another recipe for spaghetti and kale with similar ingredients but without the scientific technique of the CI recipe.  Randy and I both agreed that with or without the kale, the CI dish is outstanding.  The kale makes it just that much better and healthier!  This could be a main dish or a side.  Shown is a main dish portion, and we have also served with sauteed boneless/skinless chicken breast.  Either way, an Italian white,  Orivetto or Pinot Grigio, is a great accompaniment!

Makes 4 main dish or 6-8 first course servings

4 garlic cloves, peeled and processed through a garlic pressOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1 teaspoon water

1/3 cup high quality EV olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional or to taste

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 bunch lacinato kale, tough stems removed and cut into ribbons

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted in a skillet

1/2-1 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano (omit for vegan)

3/4-1 pound whole wheat, regular or GF linguine or spaghetti

Place processed garlic in a small bowl and add the teaspoon of water.  Heat the olive oil to a little over medium in a saute pan.  Add the garlic, optional pepper flakes and kale and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly until garlic is golden and kale is soft.  Set aside.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry small skillet over medium heat.  Shake the pan regularly and watch carefully so they don’t burn!  At today’s prices especially that would be a shame. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.  Before draining, save 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.  Drain the pasta and rinse briefly.  Put the pasta back in the pot it was cooked in and place over medium heat.  Add the reserved kale mixture along with part or all of the pasta water and toss to combine thoroughly.  Heat through, stirring.

Place on individual plates and top with a little cheese, if using, and some pine nuts.  Alternatively, if you will be eating all of what was cooked, you can stir the cheese into the pasta before serving.  Then top with the pine nuts.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Not sure why, but fish tacos have become somewhat of an obsession this summer. After making “Take 1” last weekend, I was eager to revisit this recipe that I made a few years ago. Many of the ingredients are abundant right now at the farmers markets, so these were especially delicious. The pairing suggestion was a chardonnay of the crisp and fresh variety. I was a little skeptical about serving Chardonnay with tacos, but the Hess Select 2010 from Monterey was a perfect match.  It hit all the right notes with the food and was inexpensive – what could be better?!!

This makes 4 servings of 2 tacos each

The Cabbage Slaw

1 small head cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (Can be Napa, Savoy or regular – I used a combo of Savoy and purple cabbage.)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Stir to thoroughly blend and set aside.

The Lime Guacamole

2 ripe Haas avocados

1/3 cup diced red onion

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1-2 small jalapenos minced

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Mash the avocados in a medium bowl.  Add the onion, cilantro and jalapenos and stir to blend.  Add the lime juice and salt and pepper and stir until incorporated.  You can make this as creamy or as chunky as you want.  Set aside.

The Fish

1 pound Red Snapper or Rock Fish, aka Pacific Snapper (You could also use Tilapia, but I really liked the texture and flavor of the Snapper for this recipe.)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

We grilled this over charcoal, but you could use a gas grill or broil in the oven.  If using a grill, bring charcoal or gas to medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, cut the fish into 3-inch segments, with an eye to consistent thickness. Coat both sides of each piece with oil and the salt and pepper.  (Randy and I thought we would try a little cayenne next time as well.)  Place the fish on a grill pan directly over the heat.  (The original recipe did not specify this, but we were worried that the fish would fall through the regular grill top.)  Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the fish is translucent. Let the fish rest for 5-10 minutes before assembling the tacos.

Assembling the Tacos

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced in thin wedges

8 or more corn tortillas

Lime wedges and hot sauce to pass

Place the tortillas in foil and heat in a 350° oven for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven.  For each taco:

Spread the tortilla with the guacamole.  Place a few chunks of fish on top.  Add a few slices of tomato.  Top with cabbage slaw.  Add a squeeze of lime and as much hot sauce as you want!

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I’ve been hankering for fish tacos lately and suggested a recipe I made years ago to Randy that uses grilled red snapper and the classic cabbage slaw as a topping.  He countered my suggestion with this recipe which is from a recent Co-op flyer.  Since it was hot as blue blazes out, we opted for this recipe in which the fish is cooked stovetop – no lighting and hovering over a grill!   This was fast to make and fun to eat.  While we made it on a Saturday night, this would be a great option for a weeknight meal.  We both agreed that we’d like to experiment with other fish taco recipes, so let us know about your favorites!  Look for more fish taco postings soon.

This makes 4 servings of two tacos each

The Salsa

1 small can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans)

1 cup diced seeded fresh tomatoes

1 cup diced peeled and seeded cucumber

1 small red onion, diced

1 small jalapeno, minced

1/4 cup lime juice

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/2-3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 avocado, 1/2-inch dice

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the first 5 ingredients into a medium bowl and stir to combine.  Whisk the lime juice and oil together and add to the vegetable mixture along with the cilantro.  Add the avocado right before serving or if you will not be using the entire recipe in one meal, serve the avocado on the side to add to each taco.  (The avocado did not hold up well in the leftover salsa.)

The Fish

1 pound Tilapia or white fish fillets

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2-3 tablespoons canola oil

Warm a platter in a 200 degree oven. Whisk the spices together, along with salt and pepper to taste, in a small bowl.  Rub all sides of the fish fillets with the spice mixture.  Add 2 tablespoons oil to a large non-stick or cast iron skillet and set on a medium-high burner.  When the oil shimmers, add the fillets, two or three at a time depending on size.  Cook until lightly browned and the flesh is opaque, about 2 minutes per side depending on thickness.  Transfer the fillets to the warmed platter while cooking the remaining fish.

Assembling the Tacos

8 or more corn tortillas

Place the tortillas in foil and warm in the oven along with the fish platter. Cut the cooked fish into large chunks (about 1 x 2 inches).  Add 2-3 pieces of fish to each warmed tortilla, top with the salsa and avocado if serving separately.  We used the house made tortillas from Cinco de Mayo Mercado in Minneapolis, which are on the thin side.  We found we needed to double up on the tortillas for each taco or else they broke through.  Even with this problem, we think these are the best locally made corn tortillas around the Twin Cities!