Thursday, November 20, 2008

Come over, come over to Red Rover!

Red Rover is a little consignment shop in Clintonville that has high end re-sale kids clothes. It's great if you are selling or if you are buying. Wendy the owner knows what to look for....Oilily, Gymboree, Ecco Shoes, Land's End, LL Bean, Polo, Baby Gap, Hanna Andersen, Zutano etc. My experience with Wendy was MUCH better than utilizing the more popular consignment store in Columbus.

3171 N High St Columbus, OH 43202
(614) 262-8778

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rachael's Squash Mac and Cheese

Even the 5 year old liked this...squash and all!
Compliments of guess who?...Rachael Ray
1 pound macaroni with lines, such as tubatini or mini penne rigate
Salt 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, --1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 (10 ounce) box frozen cooked butter nut squash, defrosted (I used 2.5 cups of fresh, boiled in broth and milk and then mashed with a potato masher-- about 20 minutes.)
1 cup cream or half-and-half (80/20...I only had 2% milk.)
2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar, grated
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, eyeball it
Black pepper
Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente or, with a bite to it.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and grate the onion directly into the pot with a hand held grater or Microplane. Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes (I boiled the squash with stock and Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth. Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a bubble. Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings.
Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce. Serve alongside chicken sammies and top with thyme leaves picked from remaining sprigs

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A little tip to spice up your wallet!

I generally shop at Giant Eagle since it's closet to our home and in Giant Eagle I have noticed that in the Mexican food aisle there is a "Badia Spice Section" ...what I have also noticed it that Badia spices are considerably less expensive than McCormick etc. Sometimes more than 50% less than in the regular spice aisle. I found this article about Badia and I like what they have to say..

"The other secret to Badia Spice's growing success, says its CEO, is the company's "mean and lean" operations, which allow it to price its spices at half the cost of national brands. As a smaller, private company, Badia Spices has less overhead than the nationals--and also does not engage in the expensive practice of paying premiums to supermarket chains for special placement in the mainstream spice sections. "That shelf space doesn't come from spice heaven," says Badia. "The consumer has to pay for it."
Sourcing costs, however, are similar to the national brands. "We get our supplies from the same places as everyone else," says Badia......

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Super-Easy-Great-Fall Meal

Rachael Ray's Tex Mex Red Beans and Rice
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup enriched white rice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 slices bacon, chopped
I added a little smoked sausage as well...
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can red beans, drained
1 tablespoon cayenne sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
80/20... had to use Tony Chachere's seasoning mix and I added a little spaghetti sauce to liquify it a bit.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice, cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When rice is done, remove it from the stove top. To a medium skillet over medium high heat add oil and bacon and cook 3 minutes to crisp edges of bacon. Add onions and cook 3 minutes to soften. Add beans to heat through, then stir in cooked rice. Season rice and beans with cayenne sauce, salt and pepper, to your taste. Serve rice and beans from the skillet.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pumpkin Soup

I have lots of pie pumpkins remaining from Halloween so we gave this recipe a try...another fav from 101cookbooks. I really liked it although it needed more broth than I anticipated to thin it out and I also really spiced it up with the red curry.
Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Keep in mind that different Thai curry pastes have differing strengths. Start with a teaspoon to start and then build from there until the soup has a level of spiciness and flavor that works for your palete.

2 acorn squash, pumpkins, or other smallish winter squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon (or more) red Thai curry pastewater
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt (or to taste)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven racks in the middle.
Carefully cut each squash/pumpkin into halves (or quarters). Slather each piece of squash with butter, sprinkle generously with salt, place on a baking sheet skin sides down, and place in the oven. Roast for about an hour or until the squash is tender throughout.
When the pumpkin/squash are cool enough to handle scoop it into a large pot over medium high heat. Add the coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender, you should have a very thick base at this point. Now add water a cup at a time pureeing between additions until the soup is the consistency you prefer - a light vegetable stock would work here as well. Bring up to a simmer again and add the salt (and more curry paste if you like, I used just shy of 6 teaspoons but the curry paste I use is not over-the-top spicy).
Serves six.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chicken Ala King - YUM!

This is compliments of Rachael Ray with a few additions
One tube jumbo bake-off biscuits (recommended: Pillsbury brand "Grands"), available on dairy aisle
A sprinkle cayenne (spicy) or sweet paprika (mild)
1 cup dry white wine (80/20..... 1/4 cup sherry)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used chopped 3 cups of Rotisserie Chicken.)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound small white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons chopped pimentos (80/20 skipped this item.)
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf or curly parsley
Preheat oven according to package directions for biscuits. Arrange biscuits on nonstick baking sheet and sprinkle with a little ground cayenne pepper or sweet paprika then place biscuits into a preheated oven. Bake until golden, remove biscuits from oven and then cool.

In a medium skillet, bring 1 cup white wine and 2 cups chicken broth and 1 bay leaf to a boil. Slide in chicken breasts and gently poach them in simmering broth and wine for 10 to 12 minutes.

Preheat a second skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter melts into oil, add mushrooms and onion and cook 5 minutes until tender. Add flour and cook another minute.

Pull chicken from broth and set on cutting board. Ladle cooking liquid into the mushrooms, whisking it in. Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of liquid and discard the bay leaf. Add pimentos and peas to the sauce. Dice chicken into bite-size pieces and slide into bubbling sauce. (I also added about 1/4 cup heavy cream and I did not have white wine, so I added 1/4 cup Sherry.)

Split the biscuits, place bottoms on dinner plates and cover with ladles of Chicken a la King. Cap with biscuit tops and garnish with chopped parsley.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Joe T Garcia's

A few more notes about our Texas trip....our last night we headed to Fort Worth to check out Joe T Garcia's and it couldn't get much better. AWESOME, AWESOME margaritas, and amazing food. I loved that there were only 2 choices -- enchiladas or fajitas~ cash only! After Joe T's we headed down the street to Billy Bob's. The people watching was excellent!