Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

I know this might not be a pretty dish to photograph, but trust me it is very good. We all want to make recipes that are both tasty as well as convenient.  This recipe is inspired by my brother’s mother in law, Inés. A few years ago, I went to visit my brother and she had just arrived with a succulent homemade chicken pie.   She was kind enough to offer me a slice and I must tell you it was absolutely delicious!  She explained to me how she made it and which ingredients she used. The following week, I made my own version and the results were pretty good.  I had tried chicken pie before, but most of the time they had either a creamy or gelatinous sauce.  This version has a veggie-tomato sauce that adds more flavor and the potatoes give it structure.

Later on, I improved my technique when my father in law passed away and my mother in law came to live with us for a while. For many months, she received visits from friends that wanted to accompany her in this time of grief.  During this period, I always had Chicken Pie in the fridge for unexpected visitors which I re-heated in the microwave and served as a light lunch or mid-afternoon snack with a side of salad.  Most of the visitors asked for more.

This dish is also a great alternative for picnics and boat trips.  I bake it at home and cover it with foil paper and plastic wrap, then serve at room temperature or re-heat it in the oven or microwave a few days later.  Here is my version of Savory Chicken Pot Pie.

Enjoy!

Savory Chicken Pie

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 large chicken breasts cut in strips seasoned with salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 medium golden potato peeled and cubed (1×1 inch)

1 carrot peeled and finely sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 garlic clove minced

1 tbsp cubanel or green pepper

1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes (pureed)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup sweet green peas frozen

2 pie crusts for nine inch pie dish ( I use Pillsburry brand or make your own)

egg wash optional

Procedure


1.  In a med-large saute pan, heat oil med-high.  Add seasoned chicken breasts to sear and brown a little. This will take a few minutes.

2.  Add wine to deglaze pan and add potatoes.  Bring heat to medium.

3.  Immediately, add carrots, onions, garlic and green peppers.  Saute  until onion is transluscent.

4.  Add pureed tomatoes, salt and oregano and cover for 20 minutes (in med-low heat) or until potatoes are tender when you press with a fork. Add sweet green peas and stir for a few minutes. Set aside.  Tip: Check a few times to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If so add more water.


5.  Heat oven at 425º F.  Place bottom of pie crust for a 9 inch pie dish in diameter and fill with chicken/vegetable “stew”. Bring sides in. Carefully place top of pie and press down to close “lid” of pie. Cut slits with a sharp knife to vent. Egg wash is optional.

6.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. You may refrigerate up to 1 week.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Ah!  The traditional Northern Italian dish: Ossobuco; veal shank cooked in broth and wine and seasoned with vegetables and herbs. Mmmm!

Eleven years ago this week, one week shy of my first wedding anniversary, my husband Emilio attended a fishing tournament in the Dominican Republic, so I took off to a mother and daughter weekend getaway to the Spa at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida.   I believe this place is now open exclusively for corporate events, but at the time we attended, they had photography, animation, film, art and cooking workshops along with the typical massage, facial and exercise routine commonly found in spas.  Of course, foodies after all, we chose the 3 day cooking workshop which that weekend was devoted to Italian Cuisine.  We spent about 5 hours daily in the hands-on cooking classes and enjoyed olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar tastings.  The chefs were knowledgeable and the facilities superb. Each of us had our own cooking station, the ingredients were fresh and the assistants to the chefs always ready to lend a helping hand. From the basic fresh egg pasta to Ossobuco, we learned to make traditional italian dishes that I have used as guidelines to cook for my family and friends throughout the years.

Mom and I at the Disney Institute Spa and Italian Cooking Course May 1999

Ossobuco means “hollow bone” referring to the bone marrow of the veal shank used to make this dish.  Veal is the meat of young cattle (calves).  Its meat is tender, but the savory veal shank cut (lower part of the leg) can be a bit tough due to connective tissue and cartilage.  This kind of cut is best when braised (cooking method in which the meat is first seared or browned in fat in high heat and then cooked in broth and/or liquid in low heat).  When the veal shank is braised, the meat becomes very tender (you will not need a knife) and the bone marrow releases collagen which is then turned  into gelatin and along with the melted connective tissue helps in the thickening and flavor of the sauce.  The sauce also includes the “holy trinity” of italian cooking; onions, carrots and celery.

I only make Ossobuco when I have guests or for special occasions because it is a dish that takes a long time to make.  This is not something I would make during week days and I make sure I will not be rushed during the day I decide to make it.  After I cut and measure all ingredients, I start to sear the seasoned-flour coated veal shanks in a large roasting pan over my gas stove. Then I cover it with foil paper when ready to put in the oven.  If you make this recipe for 4 persons use a dutch oven or covered oven proof deep pan in which the shanks are close to each other and the liquid covers the meat at least half way up.  This modern version of Ossobuco Milanese goes well with mashed potatoes, polenta or Risotto Milanese.  I like to sprinkle it with Gremolata.  FYI, an older version of Ossobuco in Bianco (no tomatoes) is made with broth, cinnamon, allspice, laurel leaves, wine and Gremolata.

Buon Appetito!

Ossobuco

serves 4-5 persons

Ingredients

4 pounds veal shanks, about 4-5 pieces ( 1 1/2 inches thick and 5 inches wide each piece)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup of carrots

1 1/2 cups onions, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1  cup of dry white wine

1 -14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups of veal or beef stock

2 bay leaves

5 sprigs of fresh thyme

about 2 tbsp of coarsely chopped italian parsley (flat leaf)

1 tbsp freshly squeezed bitter orange- naranja agria (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Gremolata

Procedure

1.  Preheat ovean 350º F.

2.  Mix flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Taste flour to ensure enough seasoning has been added.  Proceed to generously dredge the veal shanks coating them evenly.

3.  Heat extra virgin olive oil (medium) in stovetop just below smoke point.  I use my large roasting pan when I make it for a large group of people.  For this recipe, use a dutch oven, casserole or an oven proof sauté pan with lid where you can fit the veal shank close together and the liquids come at least  halfway up the sides of the meat.  Add the seasoned veal shanks to the hot oil to sear until golden brown on both sides (about 7 minutes each side).  Once veal is browned, remove the shanks to a clean plate.

4.  Immediately add onions, celery and carrots to the pan and sauté until onion is translucent and carrots golden brown.

5.  Add minced garlic and sauté briefly.

6.  Add white wine to deglaze pan. Scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon or spatula to remove all of the flavorful bits still clinging to the pan.

7.  Return veal shanks and its juices to the pan and reduce wine by 3/4.

8.  Add diced tomatoes, veal or beef stock and bring to a soft boil.

9.  Add orange juice and herbs.  Liquids should come at 3/4 up the veal shanks. Cover and place in the oven for 45 minutes. When timer goes off, check that enough stock remains to cover at least 1/2 of the veal shanks. Baste the meat with the juices which should be simmering gently. Reset time for 45 more minutes.

Braised Ossobuco

10.  Remove casserole/pan from oven and check for doneness.  Meat should fall readily from the bone. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  If sauce is too thin for your taste, remove meat form the pan to a serving dish or tray.  Place sauce in a small sauce pan and reduce to the desired consistency.  Transfer veal shanks to serving plates and top with the sauce.  You may also garnish with Gremolata, a mixture of lemon zest, garlic and italian parsley.

Read Full Post »

This vegetable lasagna is sometimes called Lasagna Fiorentina or Florentine.   My version does not have tomato sauce, it only has Bechamel Sauce.  I must tell you, the fresh basil fills the kitchen with an inviting and delicious aroma while the lasagna is baking in the oven.   It is important that you use fresh spinach and fresh vegetables to make the filling.  I like to bake it as soon as possible but you may freeze the lasagna for a later occasion, just make sure the lid is tightly closed to prevent freezer burn. My friend Linda is a pro at this technique in which she wraps the lasagna in plastic wrap first and then three times with foil paper before freezing.  Make sure you completely thaw the lasagna before you put in the oven. Great alternative for boat trips or no hassle family gatherings.   I consider this a complete meal but you can accompany with garlic bread, more veggies, steak, salad or rice.

Buon Appetito!

Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

filling

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

1 pound fresh spinach

2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup onions finely chopped

1/4 cup of red bell pepper finely chopped

10 crimini (baby bella) mushrooms sliced

3 garlic cloves minced

1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1/2  tsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

Béchamel Sauce (see recipe under sauces)

15 ounces ricotta cheese

2 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella

9 leaves of fresh basil

12 lasagna strips (boiled or oven ready)

12 1/2 x 8 1/2 (approx.) glass or clay baking pan

Procedure


1.  Sauté fresh spinach in a large sauce pan with drizzle of olive oil until it has wilted, stirring constantly (medium heat). At the beginning it will seem like a lot but, as it wilts you will end up with about a fifth of its original volume.

2.  Immediately, add vegetables, worcestershire sauce, oregano and salt and pepper.  Continue to sauté for about 7 minutes stirring continously.  You will end up with about 3 cups of veggies. Include the liquids. Set aside.

3.  Prepare Béchamel Sauce.

4.  Start assembling the layers of the lasagna by placing pasta (cooked or oven ready) in the bottom and spreading about 5 ounces of ricotta cheese with bottom of a spoon.

5.  Scoop one cup of cooked veggies and spread evenly with spatula or back of a large spoon.

6.  Pour 1/4 of Béchamel Sauce evenly over veggies and sprinkle about 1/3 of a cup of shredded mozzarella.

7.  Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 two more times.

8.  For final layer spread place top lasagna strips and spread remaining Béchamel, basil and mozzarella cheese (in that order).  Cover with foil paper (not too tightly so that too much cheese doesn’t stick to it), or if you are using a clay/ceramic  pot with lid use the lid, and cook for approximately 30 minutes (or if the lasagna strips are oven ready, bake according to manufacturer instructions).  Remove foil paper and broil until cheese is golden brown.

Read Full Post »

Savory, simple and wholesome side dish.  I make these potatoes a lot because they are so easy and taste so good.  It is a quick-fix option to accompany a weekday main dish and should be in every busy moms’ recipe book as an alternative to serve their families something fresh and delicious with little effort.  Believe me you will get hooked on these potatoes!  I use fresh rosemary from my herb garden, but you may also use dried.  Also, my favorites for this dish are yukon gold potatoes, but you can use russet potatoes as a substitute.

Enjoy!

Oven roasted rosemary-garlic potatoes

Ingredients

4 yukon gold potatoes peeled and cubed

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp loosely packed fresh rosemary

1 tbsp kosher salt

pepper to taste

Procedure

1.  Pre-heat oven at 375º f.  Peel potatoes and cut into approximately 1×1 inch cubes.

2.  Place potatoes in a large bowl and season with the remaining of ingredients.   Mix well with a spoon.

3.  Pour potato mix in a jelly roll pan and spread evenly.

4.  Roast in oven for approximately 45 minutes. Every oven is different, so if the potatoes have not reached the desired color, put it on broil for a few minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes, stir and serve.

Read Full Post »

Rice is one of the foods that most cultures around the world have in common.  The difference is the method each prepares or seasons the rice.  I like rice in any “way, shape or form”. Ja!  However, I make it only once or twice a week as opposed to almost every day like my mother used to while I was growing up.  As you can see… I like to mix things up a bit in the kitchen.

Jasmine Rice, a variety native to Thailand, is very aromatic and tastes delicious cooked just plain.  I also like to make it with vegetables as the main dish. It is a satisfying, flavorful and colorful dish.  Jasmine rice will cling but not stick too much due to a lower amount of starch in its grains compared to other varieties (of course when cooked properly).

Enjoy!

Jasmine Rice with Vegetables

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 carrot (chopped)

1/2 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup yellow or white onion (chopped)

2 cups jasmine rice

1/4 tsp saffron threads

1 cup water

1 3/4 cupsvegetable broth

2 tsp kosher salt

Procedure

1.   Warm up water a bit in microwave.  Place saffron threads in water and allow to bloom.

2.  In a heavy sauce pan or “caldero” heat (medium) extra virgin olive oil and add carrots, onion and green peas.  Sauté for about 3 minutes until onion is translucent.

3.  Add rice and sauté for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add water-saffron mixture, vegetable broth and salt.

4.  Allow water to evaporate and then stir.   Bring heat to low and cover until done.

Read Full Post »