Thursday, November 27, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Chicken Tortilla Mexican Soup

This week my Barefoot Contessa's recipe was chosen by Judy of Judy’s Gross Eats . I love soup so I was really thrilled to get to try this one.

I went to the store, list in hand, and got all the ingredients I needed. Or so I thought. Once I started chopping and cooking, I realized I had purchased tortilla chips rather than the fresh corn tortillas. I sent my DH to the store with yet another list. As usual, he called from the store and said he had been to two grocery stores and there were no tortillas. He was tired and he was coming back with taco shells as a formidable substitute. One store had a space for them he said, but they were sold out. I did not have the heart to fuss at him for trying. So my soup is sans tortilla strips. I broke up some of the taco shells and threw in there, but I doubt it is the same as the fresh tortillas.

We loved this soup and I will be making it again this winter! It had a tiny kick to it and was very tasty. Here is the recipe if you want to try it!

Mexican Chicken Soup (serves 6 to 8)

4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TWD - Twofer Pie

Beautiful tree, but no TWD. Sorry, I am traveling this week and time does not permit me to make this week's selection. But be sure to check out everyone else's wonderful pies on Tuesdays with Dorie.

And today is my birthday - I'm not cooking today!! I kind of feel like being pampered. . . just this once!

Back next week and a very happy holiday this week to all of you wonderful bloggers! May you have safe journeys and many blessings this Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Awards!

I'm so excited. I love getting presents and to me an award is like a surprise present! Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs sent me this award and thank you so much Nancy for thinking of me!I'm truly touched. I think it is the prettiest and coolest award I have seen!

Of course, there are always rules that go with awards. You have to pass to ten friends. I always find that to be the hardest part because there are way more than ten blogs that I enjoy reading each week! I'm passing to you, but just because I want you to know that I love reading your blog. If you do not have time to pass it along, I certainly understand that! And this award is apparently getting around fast so you may get this more than once. I hope you do of course! All of you inspire me. I have learned so much from each of you. Happy baking this week and happy Thanksgiving!

1.Amy Ruth Bakes
2.Andrea In The Kitchen
3.Anne Strawberry
4.Chocolatechic by Tanya
5. Culinary Delights by Marthe
6.Flourchild by Michelle
7.Prudence Pennywise by Erin
8.Wee Treats by Tammy


Thursday, November 20, 2008

CEIMB - Oven Fried Chicken

Did you know there is actually a Fried Chicken holiday? It is on July 6. Crazzzzy. All you have to do on that day is eat some fried chicken. Heck, everyday for me could be fried chicken holiday! I could handle it.

I've even been craving fried chicken. Then I joined a new group. How odd that this week's choice for Ellie Kreiger's Craving Ellie in My Belly was oven fried chicken. Hosted by Lonely Sidecar. Thanks! I'm so excited about this group because the recipes are healthy!

I seriously could not take a pretty picture tonight of my wonderful oven fried chicken. And it was worthy ... sooooo worthy.

It called for four chicken breasts. I had three, but they were large. Mammoth even. It called for sesame seeds, I used sunflower seeds. It called for yogurt, I used buttermilk.
But the end result was fantastic. It was the juiciest, crunchiest, wonderful chicken. I've never had any fried chicken that was better than this - and I am a true Southerner where we treasure our fried foods!

Yep, that is a sweet potato on the side. Drizzled with butter and brown sugar. I thought why not splurge tonight. After all, the chicken was healthy. And then I paired it with stovetop stuffing. Can you believe it? I actually used stovetop stuffing to go beside my fabulous oven fried chicken. Stovetop. From a mix. Shame on me.

It was good. So good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TWD - Arborio Rice Pudding - Black or White

Isabelle of Les gourmandises d’Isa by Isabelle chose the Arborio Rice Pudding for this week's baking challenge. I love rice pudding so I could not wait to make this. Thanks Isabelle for a great choice!

After going to three different grocery stores looking for arborio rice, I finally found it. It was in a beautiful jar and was $5.99. I didn't care about the cost because I actually had the rice in my hand and was on my way to making my pudding. After getting home with it and checking out the recipe and seeing that only 1/4 cup was used I was like - what am I going to do with all this rice I bought! Oh well, I'm sure I'll find a use for good risotto rice at some point and I have this lovely jar to boot!
It took forever to cook. Thank goodness for all the comments left by fellow TWDers and even Dorie herself saying the timing was off in the recipe. By the time it was done, for just one second I was actually thinking minute rice would have worked, right? Don't slap me, I was tired from our kitchen renovation which is still in process. When this is over I never want to look upon a piece of tile flooring again or anything that resembles grout.

My back aches. My wrist hurts. I'm grumpy. I know it will be worth it though so I am hanging in there. Seriously, could you cook in this disaster zone? Maybe next week I will be able to post "finished" photo results!

I thought the rice pudding was so wonderful in the vanilla flavor that it needed nothing more. I did add a sprinkle of cinnamon to one dish of it. And I hid an almond inside one just for fun. Somehow I ended up with three small bowls of pudding instead of four. Maybe we are just big eaters, but this did not make a huge amount and I will double the recipe next time!

I think of rice pudding as a comfort food but in literature it is sometimes referred to as plain, cheap, or familiar. I even remember something Charles Dickens wrote relating an incident where a schoolboy was given shabby treatment with rice pudding as a pretended treat. I have never thought of rice pudding in those terms! I think it can be a positively elegant finish to an extraordinary meal!

Added history: In Europe, rice pudding with goat's milk was first used by the Romans for medicinal purposes. For this reason, the first written records of rice pudding occur in medical texts. All I know is it sure makes me feel good!

We really enjoyed it. It was smooth and rich and sweet and I will definitely make it again when I have the time!

Word of advice: Don't waste your wonderful pudding like this man did. . . .

Madcap comic Vic Reeves will not face charges after allegedly attacking a photographer with a tin of rice pudding.
Police have told the comic that there will be no further action after the alleged incident at his mansion in Aldington, Kent.
The comedian - real name Jim Moir - was said to have hurled the tin at a freelance photographer who had been waiting at his gate to take a picture.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I'm married to a meat and potatoes kind of guy. That's all there is to it. I keep telling the Yankee that because I am skinny I would love to have more meat and a couple of larger potatoes (if you know what I mean), but he seems happy with me the way I am. That is, as long as I keep feeding him good food!

Having said that, there are three things that he absolutely will not eat - bell pepper, turnips, and ONIONS! So when Kelly from Baking with the Boys chose Herb Roasted Onions for this week, I was a bit sceptical of how I was going to incorporate it into our menu and keep Yank on the happy side. I decided to add something to it that he loves and maybe I could save the marriage. So I added - you guessed it - potatoes!

I forgot to buy thyme at the store, so I had to leave that out. Also, I was not sure how large the onion wedges were supposed to be, so I cut each onion into four large ones. I was a bit disappointed in how little dressing there was. I barely had enough to cover the onions. I cut the potatoes into wedges also and baked them right along side the onions on the sheet pan.

We had a grilled boston butt that hubster had purchased from the high school (they were having a fund raiser) to go along with it and I think it was the perfect choice to compliment the onions and potatoes.

Having said that, I doubt I will ever make this recipe again. We simply aren't that "into" onions.

Herb-Roasted Onions

2 red onions
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mjustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30-45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remolve from the over, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. S;prinkle with parsley, season to taste, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TWD - Kugelhopf

Yolanda of The All-Purpose Girl chose Kugelhopf for this week's challenge. Thank you Yolanda! Excellent choice.

First, I did not own nor could I find in our local stores a kugelhopf pan. So my friend Amanda at Beckett Bakes It by Amanda and I were discussing our dilemma and we decided maybe a bundt pan would work as a substitute.

They look very similar. However, unlike a kugelhopf pan, a bundt pan does not resemble a turk's head mold or a turban.
So, amidst my kitchen being not only a construction zone, but a danger zone as well, I began to mix my cake. First, I plumped my raisins in the boiling water, but then I soaked them in rum. I wanted a little more taste to the cake.

Now let’s talk batter. My batter never crawled up my dough hook. I wouldn’t say it even had future intentions of crawling up anything, much less a dough hook. After 10-12 minutes of beating, I decided to call it good and figured I had done something wrong. So I poured, yes I’m telling you poured, my batter into another bowl to watch it rise, or not? After an hour I checked it and yes, it had begun to rise. So the directions said to slap it back down into the bowl. When I put my well-washed hands into the bowl and felt the runny dough, I thought slap it? I can’t even pick it up! I wanted to slap it, or bounce it, or throw it against the wall. The only thing that stopped me from doing that was the knowledge that the cake would not cooperate and stick to the wall so it would just mean more clean up for me. I just sort of stirred it around. Next hour, it had risen a little more and I again tried the slapping method. This time when I touched it, it fell to the bottom of the pan. So I did what I thought was best and I slapped it right into my refrigerator. After all, it was what it was. And I told the Yankee that if he asked me when the cake would be finished one more time, I might have to slap him down a few times as well. Plus, as is his way, he kept disrespectfully referring to my creation as the Kugelmeister cake just to irritate me further.
The next morning I woke early and immediately went to my refrigerator to check my dough. At least it did appear to be dough this time. I took it out and spooned it into my bundt pan and waited for it to rise. After three hours, I figured it had risen all it was going to and I baked it.
I guess you could call my cake a pancake Kugelhopf because it never rose over the top of the pan or even ¾ of the way up the pan. I cut down on the cooking time just a bit since it was shallower than it should have been.
After it baked, I brushed on the butter and I sprinkled it with brown sugar, then dusted with confectioner’s sugar as well. I have to say, when all was finished, even though I was expecting a more golden and tasty cake, we absolutely loved it. I could have eaten the entire cake! I will definitely make this again soon. Next time I think I will try it with some almonds and almond flavoring, OR, some candied fruit with maybe a hint of vanilla. Crunchy bacon and walnuts might be a tasty variation as well!

History lesson:

Whatever you think is true about kugelhopf, know that the real McCoy is much closer to bread than to cake, and is made with yeast, flour, very little sugar and salt, and small amounts of butter. I'm told that in the beginning only the "rich" added eggs, the "poor man's kugelhopf" did not include those.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


My sweet friend Laura of she's cookin' now! has sent me this award. I am sincerely touched! Most of the time I feel like I am this average person, average cook, average blogger, average everything, and then along comes a nice surprise like this! Thank you so much Laura for thinking of me. However, nothing comes free in life right? Now she wants me to answer questions about myself. Seven of them. And I have to pass the award on to seven other TWD friends! That will not be easy either because there are so many out there worthy of this award and yet I can only pass to seven.

Seven things I say most:

I'm so over it!
Shut up, are you serious?
What's for dinner?
You have GOT to be kidding me?
When is the kitchen going to be finished?
I hate incompetence!
Love you

Seven things I did before: (My question is before what?)
played league tennis
taught art appreciation to first through fifth graders
Taught beginning piano lessons
Was on a bowling league
Went to South America on a medical mission trip
Started two novels but who knows when they will get finished

Seven things I do now

Work full-time
Watch television (mostly HGTV, Grey's Anatomy)
Crocheting an afghan
blog about my cooking
Read books and magazines (I'm a People magazine junkie and Nora Roberts)

Seven things I want to do

Go to Italy (which we are planning to do this spring)
Read more books
Finish my novels
Go to Ireland
Win the lottery (this would cover most of the other things I want to do!)
Make my husband the happiest man on earth
See my children more often

Seven things that attract me to the opposite sex:

Sense of humor
Nice smile
Honest and committed
Must be as or more intelligent than me
Keeps in shape
doesn't hurt if he is hot and looks like Patrick Dempsey

Seven favorite foods:
A perfectly grilled steak
Macaroni and Cheese
Any kind of potatoes
Good breads that I can dip in my wine
spaghetti with meat sauce
bread pudding
turkey and dressing

Seven blogs I want to pass this award to. This is the hard part. I mean how does one choose just seven when there are over 300 really really great ones? I really enjoy reading the following blogs and I know you will too. All of these are creative cooks, have beautiful photography, wonderful writers, and have inspired me personally in some way. If you do not have time to pass this on, I completely understand, but I wanted you to have the award!

The Dogs Eat the Crumbs by Nancy
Amy Ruth Bakes
IHeart Food4Thought
gatti fili e farina by Natalia
Superfluous by Sabrina
Pink Stripes by Wendy
Beckett Bakes It by Amanda

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Rugelach

Sorry fellow TWDrs. Because of our kitchen remodeling project (overwhelming now) I could not enter the kitchen this weekend to manage baking my rugelach. I'm going to make them - I am! But it simply will not be this week. Hopefully next weekend I will have a kitchen and be back in business. Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal chose the Rugelach this week and from the rave reviews I am reading it must be delicious. Check out her link to get the recipe and try it for yourself. Stay tuned for new pictures of the kitchen re-do. Coming next weekend.