Green Vegetable Medley

 

Zucchini and Snap Peas

Zucchini and Snap Peas

Fresh zucchini and snap peas become a quick vegetable medley when added with a dozen grape tomatoes.  I had leftover uncooked vegetables, that each alone would not be enough as a side dish for 4 people, but when combined it was just right.   The flavor combo worked well too – it had a slight Italian flair by adding the basil while cooking, and then removing from the dish – it was similar to adding basil oil, only subtler.  This is a great dish to serve during the week as it takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Continue reading

Sunday Chicken with Mushroom Vermouth Sauce

 

Chicken with Mushroom Vermouth Sauce

This chicken dish is great to serve company or just for the family on a beautiful Sunday evening in September, like today. You can serve dinner in under an hour with only 20 minutes of prep and about 35 minutes to finish cooking in the oven.  I happened to only have two pieces of chicken, so this particular recipe is Dinner For Two – just double or triple the recipe based on number of people you are serving.  The chicken cooks up moist and juicy – a simple and comforting dinner that is delish!  Continue reading

Roasted Rack of Lamb for Two with Potato Cakes

 

Rack of Lamb

Rack of Lamb

I don’t think of myself as a particularly predictable person, but when I am out to dinner with family or friends and there is Rack of Lamb on the menu, it is a safe assumption, that is what I will order – actually you can bet on it, and I believe some people have done so!  There are all kinds of ways to serve rack of lamb from glazed with a Cabernet sauce, covered with a Dijon mustard mask, to heavily encrusted in a shallot and mushroom tapenade.  But I am a purist when is comes to lamb and I want to taste the full-bodied, distinctive flavor of lamb and not have it covered with sauces and stuff that masks the gamey flavor – knowing full well lamb is often considered an acquired taste.  That said, my recipe is a modification from Rack of Lamb Persille by Narsai David.  Narsai David was a leading Bay Area restaurateur (owner of Narsai’s and Narsai’s Market, both of which closed in the mid-1980’s.) I adapted his recipe with some slight changes – hope you like it as much as I do. Continue reading

Grilled stone peaches over mache greens with creamy lime dressing

Grilled Peach Salad

Grilled Peach Salad

I moved from Northern California to the Northwest about 25 years ago, and took with me an established peach tree that had sentimental value.  My gardener dug up the tree for me, but said it wouldn’t live by the time the movers set it on their truck……but it did.  The movers swore up and down that it would not survive the long cold trip to Seattle in late October……but it did.  The tree had to be planted at our rental house and then dug up again the following July and replanted by the landscaper at our new home who said the tree had suffered enough and it was practically dead – and why couldn’t we see that?  I asked him to humor me and plant it anyways, which he did all the while grumbling under his breath “this won’t survive” ……but it did.   That little peach tree did nothing the first two years – not a single peach (barely had leaves much less fruit.)   But in the spring of the third year, it blossomed.  And in the fourth year it actually produced a few peaches.  Now 20 years after that first peach I get tons of peaches each year – too much to keep up with.  I am starting to see less and less peaches as the weeks go by and know that summer is just about over.  Here is a recipe for grilled stone peach salad for Labor Day.  Have a happy and safe holiday weekend! Continue reading

Fresh Gnocchi and Maitake Mushrooms

Fresh Gnocchi and Maitake Mushrooms

Fresh Gnocchi and Maitake Mushrooms

Today I made my 2nd Blue Apron dinner (see here for the first Blue Apron dinner).   Fresh Gnocchi and Maitake Mushrooms.  I have eaten Gnocchi all my life and always had it with a marinara sauce being the nice Italian girl that I am.  So Blue Apron’s recipe was missing the red sauce  – what?  If you are not familiar with Gnocchi, they are little potato dumplings that end up looking and somewhat tasting like pasta – only they are potatoes and not pasta.  I have only once in my life seen a movie showing people preparing Gnocchi and that was in the movie Godfather III. Continue reading

Retro Herb Chicken Revisited

 

Herb Chicken Revisited

Herb Chicken Revisited

Growing up we always got to choose the dinner menu for our birthday.  My Dad’s favorite birthday dinner was Herbed Chicken, served over white rice with a side of creamed spinach.  While we didn’t count calories much then, I looked it all up and found this meal was 1215 calories – the chicken with sauce was 715 calories on its own and we hadn’t added in bread/butter and the birthday cake!   Now I am eating around 1200 calories in a day, so I changed-out the chicken as this was the biggest offender in terms of fat and calories – made it lighter but still tasty!  The cream of chicken soup had to go, as did the sour cream, and the heavy cream that were all used to create the gravy.    I substituted Greek Yogurt instead so the gravy still stayed creamy.  I still serve cream of spinach with the chicken, but eliminated the white rice totally from this menu.  This chicken dish is still delicious but now it’s also much healthier.

Original Herb Chicken is 715 calories per person.   My 2014 version is 375 calories and much more healthy for you – what’s not to like?

 

 

 

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Exploring Blue Apron dinner service – Delectable!!

 

Photo courtesy of Blue Apron

Photo courtesy of Blue Apron

I am focused on streamlining grocery shopping, prepping, and cooking dinner during the week, so I decided to try Blue Apron, a food delivery service that offers you tasty and healthy dinner options.  Here is how it works: you join Blue Apron and view the menus; they send all the food and instructions to you on a day that you have designated; arrives in a well-packed refrigerated box; you unpack, follow instructions, and prepare dinner – couldn’t be simpler and the meal tastes like you were eating in a top-notch restaurant.   And it only costs $9.99 per meal (if I order dinner-to-go at a local chain restaurant it usually runs around $25 and just tastes okay.)

Last night the menu was: Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Roasted Baby Zebra Eggplants & Fennel Salad This recipe was created by Chef Michael Anthony, owner and executive chef of Gramercy Tavern in NYC (a restaurant I just happened to have dined at around 5 years ago while on a trip to Manhattan).  Dinner consisted of chicken thighs (my favorite part of the chicken) placed on top of  Continue reading