Monday, April 28, 2014

I've Been Holding Out So Long, Lord I Miss You

Tonight I raced home with the notion of a super light Chicken Parmesan in my head.  Yes, I'm off the cheese and that made it all the more challenging to cook this dish.  I would rely on the rich tomato sauce scented with fresh herbs to carry the weight.  The slight amount of cheese at the end would be mainly for visual satisfaction.  While the onions and garlic were sauteing, I seasoned and lightly coated my chicken breasts with flax seed flour and Italian herbs.
I cooked those in the pan until golden brown and then side aside.  To the onions and garlic I added a can of tomato sauce and fresh basil and oregano, hot pepper flakes and onion powder.  I let that thicken before adding my chicken breasts with just a tablespoon of Parmesan, covered that to let the cheese melt and it was a done deal!

I love broccoli rabe with lemon and garlic oil.  A perfect pairing!
I didn't miss the breading and I didn't miss the mozzarella...That bit of good Parmesan just on top gave me everything I needed.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Grilled Chicken Breast with Yogurt Dill Sauce

Grilled Chicken Breast with Yogurt Dill Sauce.  Pounded chicken breasts seasoned and then dusted in whole wheat flour then grilled.
The sauce was a bit of chicken stock poured into the grill pan picking up all those tasty bits, lots of fresh dill and a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt, lemon zest and black pepper.
Actually, I'm proud of the side too because even though it's kind of the same stuff, the addition of the English cucumber with a mix of avocado and more of that yogurt made a just right creamy relish that went so well with the chicken.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Forever You'll Stay in My Heart

I was so excited about eating juicy turkey burgers made on my Emeril grill pan that I was shocked how dang gorgeous and tasty my corn zucchini salad came out.
It was like eating spring!  When the neighborhood starts to blossom and all the restaurants begin opening their outdoor gardens and patios, it feels like another place entirely.  

Spring is so dang miraculous, I tear up just looking at the buds on the trees.  I mean this year I was sort of thinking, what if it never comes again?  What if spring just stopped happening?  I mean, there is no guarantee.  And sure the winter could have been a lot worse (and probably will be next year) but that was some scary shit.  Gloom and doom on already depressed faces.  Hardships were that much worse in the grey.
March went by and no signs of change.  Then when half of April came and left without hardly a trace of spring, then everyone sort of went into a sort of auto-pilot mode.  You did what you had to do but you could barely stand being cold and without sun or color.  Nothing was funny any more about the cold lasting.  It was just like waking up to bad news every morning.  And sometimes it was accompanied by freezing rain.
So, me I'm celebrating because now I no longer feel spring is a right.  It's a damn miracle and who knows how many of these we'll see in our lifetime.  Dozens and dozens I hope but they'll never lose their magic for me.

Spring comes in food too!  The bright green snow peas, the grape tomatoes bursting with sweet juiciness. Yellow and white corn and the summer squash lightly sauteed in garlic infused olive oil.  The warmth of the sun on a plate!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain High

I got nuttin' cookin' today so it's time to check in with our Colorado correspondent reporting directly from the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains, my big sis R.
 Since my Easter dinner was less than spectacular, I decided to feature sister's fare.  She reportedly was to make Corn Beef and Cabbage but last minute found pork rib tips on sale.  She put a spicy dry rub on them and low heat cooked them in the oven for a couple of hours before putting them on the grill over some apple wood!  Yes she did!  And yes, they were tender, fallin-off-the-bone fabulous.  But she did not stop there, she made some of our dad's BBQ sauce, which is the non-sweet spicy kind.  A mix of the southern vinegar sauce with a taste of smokey Tex-Mex mixed in.
Our mom made a kick ass potato salad that was also non sweet and included a little pickle juice mixed in to the mayonnaise, mustard, egg yolk goodness.  For me, this is the ONLY potato salad.  Okay, this one and the Smoke Joint's Bed-Sty potato salad.  Sister rocked and rolled it out for her Easter spread.
 A couple of weeks ago sister asked me if I'd heard of the upcoming blood moons, which I had not but quickly read up on all the hoopla.  And here we had the first one on the night of the 14th.  We had cloudy skies here in NY so it was not visible but she got a great shot just out her back door.  So clear, look at that orange and perfectly full.  I could look at that forever.
 ...and then these.  Is there anything better than a big plate of warm homemade tacos with a bowl of hot sauce to spoon over them?  I'm thinking tacos may top burgers for me or at least tie. Yes, they tie burgers.  I could write a book about what I like about both of them.
There is something about a cook's food that is very reflective of their person to me.  I can taste my sister's food by the pictures alone because and this might sound cornball but I see her in the food and I know it is so good.  For me, there is almost nothing better than someone you love cooking for you and thinking of her cutting the lettuce and chopping the onion, shredding the cheese, slicing the avocado and all the rest, it's just so loving and positive.  Colorado becomes her and she in turns loves it back.
 In these meals I see R's world, her budding garden, the mountains, the breeze coming through her French doors, potted plants in the sun, her peaceful way and her talent for making kick ass comfort food fit for a King. Her flavors are seasoned on the money, just like my mom's and like Goldilocks, not too much, not too little but juuuuust right.

If We Took a Holiday, Took Some Time To Celebrate

It was Sunday morning and I rode into work soaking in the sunlight on my face even though it was still very windy and cold.  It was Easter and I wanted to celebrate even though I would be doing it by selling kitchens all day.
 It was Passover, it was 420, it was spring break, Easter and I figured we'd have a semi-calm relaxed retail day.  I mean who would be here today shopping for furniture?   But when I opened those double doors into the store, I saw everyone.  That's who would be here today shopping.... everyone.  Everyone and their two little toddler aged kids.  It's kind of ignorant to want peace in retail.  I know that but a lot of things are so over the top in New York.  It's the mixture of quantity of people and different cultures, languages, ways of shopping, unbelievable impatience - so hard to explain how it's so incredibly different but it is.  There seems to be an unawareness or respect for each other within each's individual realities.  No one is orbiting around the same planet.  And maybe I was kind of upset that on this beautiful holiday this was the thing all these people thought to do was to go out and shop?? I don't want to understand that world.
 I kept my zen for one customer and then some one sent me down the wrong path.  I struggled to keep any holiday joy myself.  The only thing that got me through was that I would be out of there early enough to try to have a little celebration at home.  I left P with the list that morning.  I wasn't attempting anything big at all since I had to work early the next day.
Turkey-Veggie burger patties with roasted asparagus.  For snacks hummus, crudites, and baked veggie chips.
But for dessert, a nice big slice of Red Velvet Cake to share from Touch of Velvet and a huge vat of popcorn.
I'm no better than those schmucks shopping.  I too am living in my own world and struggle with just about every facet of life but I'm giving full permission right now to shoot on site should you ever see me shopping at a big box retailer on Easter Day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Here Comes The Sun

 You know the couple of weeks when even though its still too cold to be happy, the sun is beaming brighter and you can smell spring in the air?  You can feel the difference in the wind.  It's gentler and the cold doesn't feel so mean.  Maybe the official 'spring' date acts like a placebo until the real spring comes.  The changes are subtle at first.
Some of the trees are just beginning to bloom but it will be very quick before you might miss the whole show unless you really stop and say, here it is.
This might be my favorite moment in the season.  When everything is going to happen but it's not quite ready yet.
 The early morning of spring.

Lettuce tacos with millet and hot sauce.