Monday, January 23, 2012

Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives & Capers

Yes, another lemon recipe :)  I'm still picking lemons from my Meyer lemon tree so I'm going to keep finding was to use them.  There are only about six lemons left on the tree, so the bararge of lemon recipes will be over soon.  Maybe good news for y'all, but bad new for me :/

This is a very tasty, quick and easy weeknight dinner.  It's a classic combination of flavors~~lemons, olives, chicken, butter and capers.   I made a few tweaks to the original recipe that I found on, but the basic recipe is the same.  Try this one, I think even kids will like it!

Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives and Capers
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I used boneless, skinless me, more flavor :)
All purpose flour
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced, pitted, good quality Sicilian olives or other brine cured green olives
2 tablespoons rinsed, drained capers
1-2 cups good quality chicken stock or canned, low sodium chicken broth
1/2 stick butter, cut into 4 pieces (I used 1/2 this amount)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

For roasted lemons:
Preheat oven to 325F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange lemon slices in single layer on prepared sheet.  Brush lemon slices with olive oil; sprinkle lightly with salt.  Roast until slightly dry and beginning to brown around the edges, about 20-25 minutes.  Lemons can be made one day ahead.  Transfer to container; cover and chill.

For the chicken:
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Dredge chicken in flour to coat both sides; shake off excess.  Heat five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in heavy, large skillet over high heat.  Add chicken and cook until golden brown, about five minutes on each side.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Stir in olives and capers and sauté for about 30 seconds.  Add stock and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet.  Return chicken to pan, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove lid, turn chicken over and reduce liquid for about five minutes.  Add butter, roasted lemon slices, parsley and simmer until butter melts and chicken is cooked through.  Plate and garnish with additional chopped parsley if desired.

This dish is packed with flavor!  And the lemons!  They are delicious :)

Buon Appetito!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Unique Potato & Lemon Dish

I'm not trying to turn this into a food blog...really, I'm not :)  It's just that there isn't much happening in my garden right now and I still love to cook!

Although this may seem an unusual dish, it's really quite delicious.  It's a unique way to use lemons, which I still have, and red potatoes .  And please, do eat the lemons (including the very tender rind) along with the potatoes for the best flavor.  It's really a great combination.

Red Potato Slices Roasted with Lemon & Olives

2 lb medium or large red potatoes (about 5 medium) scrubbed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, more for the pan
1 lemon, very thinly sliced (discard the ends and seeds)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pitted, oil cured black olives

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425F.  Generously oil a large baking dish (a 9 x 13 inch works well or use an oval gratin dish).  In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, lemon slices, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.  Toss well.  

Spread the potato mixture in the baking dish making sure the potatoes are evenly layered.  It's OK if it's rustic looking :)

Roast, turning the potatoes with a spatula every 20 minutes or so until most of the potatoes are crisp and golden and the lemon skins are shriveled and caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Scatter the olives over the potatoes for the last 3-5 minutes of cooking.  Serve hot.  It's really very tasty!

Buon appetito!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Baking is not my first love.  Cooking is.  And there is a difference.  Baking is chemistry and cooking is alchemy :)  Since I never did well in the sciences in school, I gravitate toward cooking where the preparation of dishes need not be too exact.  In baking, it's a different story.  But I do like to bake when I find a recipe that really excites me.  And this one did.  My friend Linda passed it on to me and I made a few of these for Christmas presents this year.  This is one D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S cake!  Seriously.  It comes from the book In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love, by Melissa Clark.  I didn't have blood oranges but good navel oranges work just as well.  I do hope you try this one.  Actually, next time I make it, I'm going to use lemons in place of the oranges.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

3 blood oranges
1 cup sugar
Buttermilk or plain yogurt
3 large egs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used light olive oil)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  I used a decorative Bundt pan and it looked real pretty.

Grate the zest from 2 oranges and place in a bowl with the sugar.  Using your fingers, rub the ingredients together until the orange zest is evenly distributed in the sugar.

Supreme an orange:  Cut off the bottom and top so the fruit is exposed and the orange can stand upright on a cutting board.  Cut away the peel and pith following the curve of the fruit with your knife.  Cut the orange segments out of their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl.  Repeat with another orange.  Break up the segments with your fingers.  Halve the remaining orange and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup.  You'll have about 1/4 cup or so.  

Add the buttermilk or yogurt to the juice until you have 2/3 cup of liquid together.  Pour the mixture into the bowl with the sugar and whisk well.  Whisk in the eggs.  

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Gently whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ones.  Switch to a spatula and fold in the oil a little at a time.  Fold in the orange segments.  Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for about 50-55 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack for 5 minutes then unmold and cool to room temperature, right side up.

Serve with whipped cream, powdered sugar or Honey-Orange Compote*, if desired.

*Honey-Orange Compote - supreme 3 more oranges.  Drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons honey.  Let sit for 5 mintes, then stir gently.

Buon Appetito!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Garden Blog Bloom Day

There isn't much blooming in my South Texas garden this winter.  But my Christmas cactus is a totally different story.  Here it is in its full glory!

If you go back to Christmas of 2009 when I first posted about this special plant, you can see how much it has grown in just a couple of years!  Very cool for me to see :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Something to Think About

I received this message in an email this week and thought it is too good not to share.  It has nothing to do with gardening or cooking but everything to do with life itself.  Too often we question our lives, what we are doing, why things happen to us, what does it all mean.  To me, this sort of sums it up.

"May today there be peace within.  May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.  May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.  May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you.  May you be content with yourself just the way you are.  Let this knowledge settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.  It is there for each and every one of us."  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year Noodle Soup

Ok...the only thing I have to say is...Make This Soup Now.   Seriously.  This is one of the best soups I have ever eaten.  It's hearty, tasty, healthy, nutritious and really pretty easy,  I pretty much followed the recipe exactly as written and my husband loved (loved) it too!

I saw this recipe on the website a while back and thought it looked good.  So I bookmarked it.  Then thegdkitchen blogged about it and I went back and looked at the recipe again and thought, "OK, I think I'll make this soup for New Year's Day."  And I am so glad I did.  It is delicious!  I'm not even going to retype the recipe.  If you want to make it (and I hope you do!), here is the link to it on

I usually annotate recipes in my books or ones that I've downloaded so I can keep track of whether I liked them or not.  And on this one I simply wrote:  Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!

And to be honest, I ate most of it with a fork!

Buon Appetito!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Great New Resource

I love food.  I love every thing about it.  I love growing it, talking about it, working with it, reading about it, learning about it, etc.  For Christmas this year I receive a wonderful new food resource book.  It's called The Illustrated Cook's Book of Ingredients, 2500 of the world's best with classic recipes.  It was given to me by my daughter-in-law Katie (who writes the fab food blog, thegdkitchen) and my son Mike.  And I love it!  Besides my new MacBook Pro, (and my son returning safely home), it was the best present under my tree :)

It has a beautifully written introduction and is organized by main food categories:  

The meat chapter (as well as the other main chapters) is further broken down into sub categories, very organized, well laid out and super easy to navigate and find exactly what you are looking for.

It even has sections on obscure, but important, ingredients, such as Offal, better known as organ meats.  

The book is co-written by 20 expert food consultants (only one of whom is male..heehee :), award winning writers, chefs, home economists, cooking school owners and artisan cheese makers.  

In addition to being beautifully photographed, each chapter is organized by ingredient, then how to Buy, Cuts, Store, Eat, Flavor Pairings and Classic Recipes, for that particular ingredient.  

This book is a great addition to my food/cooking resource library.  This definitive cook's bible answers every question one could possibly have on choosing and using ingredients.  If you are looking for a great book for the food enthusiast in your life (of if you are one), this is your book.  And it's available on Amazon.  Here's the link:

Thank you Mike & Katie! :)