Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Garlic and Olive Oil Vermicelli with Chicken and Parmesan

This is a simple and satisfying dish that we first learned from some good friends of ours. We have experimented with it over the years, making it a family favorite that frequents our dining room table.

Use one 16 oz box vermicelli cooked slightly more than al dente, two chicken breasts fried in a tablespoon of olive oil and 6 cloves of minced garlic (don't be afraid of garlic!) also sauteed in olive oil. Drizzle the chicken with lemon juice, toss with the noodles, garlic and any olive oil that is still remaining.

Top the dish with some diced tomato, chopped fresh basil, fresh ground pepper, a pinch of kosher salt and shredded parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6.

The root of this recipe is vermicelli, olive oil and garlic. Here are some tips for changing it up:
  • Add a couple tablespoons of pesto to the pasta.
  • Try shrimp instead of chicken.
  • Deglazing your pan can add a lot of flavor to a dish. This can be done elegantly by tossing your noodles, olive oil, chicken and parmesan in your skillet before serving. This also helps to melt the cheese.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Barbecued Chicken

I wanted to come up with some ideas for butterflied chicken; this is one I came up with. I was looking for the chicken to have the flavor of traditional Thanksgiving stuffing (also called dressing) which is predominantly sage. This flavoring is coupled with a weaved bacon breast-plate and slow cooked in my smoker. I must say this turned out to be some of the best chicken I've ever had.

Butterflying the Chicken.
This is easy enough with some good kitchen shears. Cut along sides of the backbone of the chicken, thus removing it. Remove also any extra fat or overhanging skin. Wash and dry thoroughly.

Making the Herb-Butter.
1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh sage
1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh rosemary
5 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1 dash pepper
3 Tbsp. butter (brought to room temp)

Mix it all up. Smear this all over the chicken (this is easier to do with a dry bird).

Bacon Weave.
The weave was made out of 3 strips of bacon that I cut in half the short way. Once I weaved the bacon into a diamond mat, I cut off the ends to make it more presentable. I slid a knife under the weave, lifted it and placed it on the chicken breast. I used two toothpicks, poking them through the wing-tips and bacon and into the breasts to simultaneously hold the wingtips in close to the bird (to prevent them burning) and to hold the bacon in place. I assumed when I planned this that the bacon would shrivel up too much, but I didn't have that problem. I smeared more herb-butter on the bacon, but this is optional.

Indirect Grilling.
To set up your grill for indirect grilling, place an aluminum drip pan under the cooking area and hot coals on either side. The pan will at once catch any drippings from the bird (which you can use later for gravy, etc.) and will also provide a cool spot on the grill to slow cook your food. Close the lid, open the vents to allow for some airflow and let it cook. At about a half hour you should check the temperature and turn the bird a 1/4 turn. Put the lid back down, and let it cook until temp reads at least 165 in the thigh and the breasts. Because of the nature of the butterflied chicken, the thighs are much closer to the coals, hence the 1/4 turn, and checking the temp of the breasts and the thighs.

Enjoy!! And please tell me if you tried this recipe and had any thoughts on it. I'm always looking to make good dishes even better.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stolen Black Bean Soup

I have entitled this soup 'Stolen' because I simply didn't come up with the recipe. However I will take credit for the fact that this is not only the best soup I have ever made, but it is hands down the best soup I have ever tasted. Some might find that to be a weak statement, as the average mortal has perhaps sampled 10 to 15 types of soup in their life; the chicken noodle, the beef stew, chili, tomato, or perhaps a chowder.

I consider myself somewhat of connoisseur of soup, a veritable gastronomie de la soupe. My adventurous taste buds have traveled the continental pilgrims path of a creamy bisque, a perfectly chilled gazpacho, and even the earthy heartiness of the natively influenced posole of Mexico; however I have rarely had a soup prove to be simultaneously so hearty and full of vibrant flavor, while maintaining a light hearted playfulness that leaves you feeling full but not heavy.

Without further ado I would like to introduce you to my new amore. Stolen Black Bean Soup.

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes.

Cook Time: 25 minutes.

Setting: Serves about 6 to 8 hearty bowls.

Ingredientes: (Ingredients)

Bacon – 10 slices, chopped finely

Garlic – 6 cloves, pressed (not minced)

Broth of Chicken – 1 14.5 ounce can

Onion – 2 1/2 cups, chopped

Canned Tomato – 1 /12 cups, chopped

Canned Black Beans – 4 14.5 ounce cans (drained, not rinsed)

Cilantro – One bunch, de-stemmed

Lime – 1/2, juiced

Ketchup – 2 tablespoon

Worcestershire Sauce – 1 teaspoon

Chili Powder – 1 teaspoon

Scallions - Sliced (for garnish)

Sour Cream - (for garnish)

Queso Fresco - (for garnish)

Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Instrucciones: (Instructions)

  • Begin by rendering the bacon in a large sturdy pot over medium-high heat.
  • When the bacon begins glistening and separates easily add the onions; stirring until they become translucent.
  • Add the pressed garlic and stir until you can smell the garlic (approximately 1 minute).
  • Now add the broth, tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and chili powder.
  • Bring the heat up to high and stir in the black beans one can at a time.
  • Once boiling reduce heat to a slow bubble and let it go for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the de-stemmed cilantro to the pot while stirring and let bubble another 5 minutes to thicken up.
  • Remove from heat, add the lime juice.
  • Garnish and serve.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stromboli Alfredo

3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped into florets
8 oz. baby Portabello mushrooms
1 jar alfredo sauce (roasted garlic-parmesan flavor is yummy)
1 refrigerated (like Pillsbury) pizza crust
3 tablespoons butter, melted and combined with Italian seasoning
Saute the broccoli and mushrooms in olive oil, then steam with lemon juice. Add sauce and cooked chicken, stir well.
Place mixture on rolled out pizza crust; wrap the crust around the filling.
Brush the top with melted butter/seasoning
Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
Bake according to pizza crust directions.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


A yummy combination of french toast, bacon, and cheesy scrambled eggs

6 plain english muffins
1/2 package of bacon, each slice cut into fourths and cooked
1 cup cheddar cheese
10 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cinnamon

Tear muffins into bit-size pieces, combine with bacon and cheese in a buttered casserole dish.
Combine eggs with vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon; pour over english muffin mixture.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pork Loin Roast Stuffed with Peaches and Rosemary

Today I bring you a sensuous blend of flavors. The end result is fork tender, sweet and aromatic. I originally baked this for Christmas dinner in 2004, however this latest rendition was the best yet. Suggested sides for this dish include butter-milk mashed potatoes, a romaine salad with a light vinaigrette and steamed asparagus and perhaps a dark loaf bread.


1 - Pork loin roast
1 - Stick Butter (not margarine)
1 - Stick fresh rosemary
1 - Small can of Peaches
1 - Package of Bacon (I prefer the wide-cut farmer style)
Butcher String

  1. Allow stick of butter to soften in a bowl.
  2. Pre-heat Oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Take a knife and cut a downward slanting pocket into the side of your pork loin, leaving the ends of the pork loin in tact.
  4. Lay the pork loin on 5 to 8 butcher strings cut long enough that they can easily be pulled around the roast and tied.
  5. Once the butter has softened drain the juice from the peaches and add half of the can to the bowl with the butter.
  6. Remove the rosemary leaves from their stem and add to the butter and peaches.
  7. Squish the butter/peach/rosemary mixture with your hands until it blends roughly.
  8. Take the butter/peach/rosemary blend and stuff it into the pocket of your pork roast.
  9. Take the bacon strips and wrap your pork loin with the bacon strips; both around and across the top lengthwise.
  10. Tie the butcher strings from step 3 around the bacon covered roast so that the bacon is secured to the side.
  11. Place the roast into a roasting pan and cover. Cook for an hour and a half.
  12. After an hour and a half remove the cover of the roast and let cook an addition 20 to 30 minutes to brown the top.
  13. After removing the roast from the oven drain off the excess butter and juice as desired and let the roast rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  14. Cut across and serve.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Conflagration" Hot Sauce/Salsa

This salsa, which I'm calling "Conflagration," makes a good dipping salsa if you can handle the heat.  It also works very well as a hot sauce especially for tacos.  The base ingredient is reconstituted dried peppers, rather than a tomato base like other salsas.  The lime and tomatillos come in to brighten the flavor and bring balance to this earthy orange-flame colored salsa.

1 cup of dried red peppers, stemmed

1 cup of chopped green onion

5 cloves minced garlic

3 tomatillos, husked, core removed, chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded, stemmed 

1/4 cup minced cilantro

3 or 4 drops liquid smoke (it's real easy to over do it)

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Olive oil

Kosher salt to taste (regular old table salt can actually lose its saltiness in salsa)

Sauté (uncovered, in medium pan for which you have a lid) green onion, garlic, tomatillos, jalapenos in 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Allow for some blackening by stirring infrequently.

Add to pan dried red peppers.  Pour in water enough to cover ingredients.  Turn heat down.  Simmer with lid on for ten minutes.

Pour into blender along with remaining ingredients (cilantro, liquid smoke, lime juice,).  Puree.

Pour into a bowl.  Chill out in fridge for 6 hours (the sauce, not you).  Salt to taste.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lemony Chicken Drumsticks

you will need:
family pack of drumsticks
raspberry blush white balsamic vinegar
soy sauce
2 lemons, thinly sliced
flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
what to do:
dredge the drumsticks in flour
place in frying pan and brown on all sides
add a splash (maybe 1/4 cup) vinegar, reduce by about half
add two good squeezes of honey
drizzle chicken with soy sauce
(use tongs to blend everything)
cook until the sauce is thick
add some water and the lemon slices, cook until sauce is syrupy (maybe 10 minutes)
top with toasted sesame seeds and serve with rice

Monday, May 19, 2008

Puerco Pibil

(roasted pork in an achiote-type sauce)

for the sauce:
5 tablespoons anatto seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
8 all spice balls
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
combine all of these and grind in a spice grinder to a fine powder
juice of 4 lemons
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
8 cloves garlic
1 habanero, without seeds or membrane (keep for more heat)
splash of tequila
add powder to above ingredients and blend until smooth

5 pounds pork butt (same cut as the shoulder)

line a casserole dish with banana leaves; cut pork into bite-sized chunks; add pork and sauce to casserole; cover with addition
al banana leaves; seal with a lid or tin foil; bake at 325 for 4 hours

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sweet, it's Summer! Tacos

Feeds 3-4 people


1 cup of shredded chicken
1 cup of cooked black beans
1 jalapeño
juice from 2 limes
1 19 oz. can of Las Palmos red chile colorado sauce

Mince jalapeño and mix with chile sauce, chicken, black beans, and lime juice in a sauce pan.
Heat over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce boils down and is not runny

1 28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
One handful of cilantro (don't worry about putting too much in... come on ... it's cilantro)
1-2 jalapeños
1/8 large yellow onion
juice from 1 large lime
about 11 "shakes" of salt from a normal salt shaker

Make sure you wash the jalapeño and cilantro. Dice onions, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño and add to a blender. Drain the tomatoes from the can and try to remove as much water as possible. Add tomatoes, lime, and salt to blender and blend lightly (don't liquefy!!!) Add salt and lime to taste.

This will be your salsa to go on top of the tacos. This salsa recipe is a solid recipe for any occasion, so break out a bag of chips.


Try adding an avocado to this same recipe to make a thicker, more delicious salsa.

1/4 head of lettuce
shredded cheese (however much you want, whatever kind is your favorite)
2 limes (Cut into quarters)
1 cup of cooked white rice (Add 1 1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, let simmer on low with lid for 20 minutes - or use a rice cooker)
cilantro for garnish
15 small corn tortillas

These will be the rest of the taco fixings. Heat (or crisp) the tortillas in a skillet. Add the meat/bean /chile sauce mixture, rice, cheese, lime juice, and lettuce to the tortilla and garnish with cilantro.



CHIPS - Add rice, meat/jalapeño/chile sauce mix, salsa, and lettuce together and use chips to dip it. It tastes rockin awesome.

rice, meat/jalapeño/chile sauce mix, salsa, and cheese in lettuce and eat with your fingers.

Spaghetti Stromboli Bread

1/2 bulb garlic (5-6 cloves)
4 tablespoons butter, softened

wrap the garlic in aluminum foil, skin on, and roast at 300 degrees for an hour. when it's cooled, peel and mash with fork then stir into butter.
1 loaf Italian bread
cut the top of the bread (like you're making a lid) in an oval, scrape innards out. save the top.
butter the sides and bottom with garlic butter.
spaghetti (modified) -- you can use whichever method you are comfortable with, but don't use a noodle pasta (spaghetti, vermicelli, etc.)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4-5 slices provolone cheese
put half the spaghetti into the bread, then the shredded cheese, then the last half of the pasta. top with the sliced provolone and put the lid on. wrap the whole bread boat in foil and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

It's soup, so it's pretty forgiving. This is one recipe.

What you'll need:
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1/4 lb. bacon, cut into thin strips
2 cooked (and diced or shredded) chicken breasts
1 box Uncle Ben's fast-cooking wild rice
veggies for the soup we used broccoli, carrots, celery, onion
1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
8 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half or 2% milk, or heavy whipping cream
What to do with what you've got:
1. fry the bacon and put it into the soup pot, leaving the grease for the chicken
2. fry the chicken and put it into the pot
3. add the broth and water, bring all to a boil, add rice (not the seasoning), cover and remove from heat
4. fry the vegetables (in bacon grease if there is any left, otherwise use a bit of olive oil)
5. melt the butter over low heat in medium saucepan, add the flour and seasoning packet, stir until combined and thickened.
this is the tricky part -- it CAN'T burn, but it needs to cook a bit so the flour won't taste like glue. so cook it carefully.
6. add the half and half slowly to the roux
7. put the cooked vegetables and the cream mixture into the soup pot, bring to a simmer for 15 minutes or so.
a couple of notes:
the chicken will be more tender if you fry it before you cut it
the soup is REALLY thick the next day, but adding a little milk to it will help (or just re-heat it on the stove over low, low heat)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pam's Potluck

beef roast
1 medium-to-large onion
10 garlic cloves (5 raw and 5 toasted)
1/4 pound bacon
1 cup teriyaki sauce
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup worchestershire sauce
tiny bit of liquid smoke
1/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons cornstarch (more if you want thicker gravy)
black pepper to taste
(you won't need much, if any, additional salt)

slice the raw garlic into thin slivers, poke slits in the roast and insert slivers.
dice the remaining garlic and onion, toast them
cut the bacon into 1/8" strips

place everything in a crock pot and cook on low heat 8-10 hours

serve over rice

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ginger: Stir Fry's Secret Weapon!

This is a Cambodian stir fry, or cha. This particular sir fry starts with a hot wok, to which peanut oil and sesame oil are added. Thin strips of fresh ginger are fried in the hot oil for bit, then minced garlic is added. This is the base for your meat--chicken in this case. The chicken is added and cooked with some soy sauce, salt, and white pepper. Stir fry it until the pieces are mostly cooked through then add vegetables of your choosing. Serve over jasmine rice with some Thai peppers. This method of starting with thinly sliced ginger can be used for just about any stir fry recipe.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Seasoned Tilapia with Pineapple/Mango Salsa

1/4 c. lime juice
1 mango, peeled, cored and diced
1 pineapple, chunked
1 jalapeno, deseeded and membrane removed
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 pound tilapia fillets (about 4 fillets)
choice of seasoning (I used Old Bay - Garlic and Herb)

What you do:
  1. To make salsa, combine lime juice, mango, pineapple, cilantro, onion, jalapeno and salt. Stir gently to combine. Set aside.
  2. Sprinkle tilapia fillets evenly with seasoning. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
  3. Serve with pineapple mango salsa.
Additional Tips:

For presentation I used a metal biscuit cutter as a mold for the salsa and pressed it into the form shown in the picture. We served the fish and salsa with a green salad and bread.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Habanero Citrus Chicken

This is a dish my friend and I came up with.

Here's how we did it:

One family sized package of chicken thighs were marinaded overnight in the following:
2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup fresh lemon juice,
1 cup white vinegar,
6 habaneros,
1/2 an onion,
6 cloves garlic,

These items were blended and poured over the chicken in a bowl which was plastic-wrapped and placed in the fridge.

The marinade was drained, and chicken was grilled at a low to medium heat.

While being grilled, the chicken was seasoned with this homemade mixture.

1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper

When this was done, the chicken was placed in a large bowl, and rolled in:
1/3 cup cilantro
Zest of 2 lemons, and one orange