De Ma Cuisine

Monday

27

October 2014

0

COMMENTS

Chicken Pot Pie

Written by , Posted in Baking, Dinner, Herbs, Leftovers, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, One Dish Dinners, Potatoes, Poultry, Vegetables

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Today is one of those fall days where it actually feels like fall. I’m wearing jeans and a sweater and am totally comfortable.

I’m also going through the photos that I took of the Chicken Pot Pie that I made the other week and drooling. We ate the leftovers for dinner last night, otherwise I’d probably be heating them up for lunch right now.

So that’s a little bit about my life.

Fall weather and Chicken Pot Pie make me happy.

So do things like my dog’s whiskers, the way the sky can turn such brilliant shades of orange and pink after the sun’s gone down, and a good Skype conversation with my dad.

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I have to tell you, this particular Chicken Pot Pie recipe is one of my favorites. After tasting the sauce I yelled, “Oh my gosh!”, to no one but myself. So, I just had to share it with you.

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It’s a simple pie with humble ingredients. I make this often enough, and use what I have on hand. So it can range from things like carrots, potatoes, and celery, to parsnips, squash, and peas. It feels like the kind of meal that’s been made for years and years and years, by people who at the end of the day, just want something nourishing and delicious to fill their bellies.

This meal fits that exactly.

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A couple of weeks ago I roasted some chicken. The leftovers and pan drippings were frozen. Saved just for this meal. The bones went into the freezer, for the next time I need to make stock. I defrosted the chicken in the fridge overnight and then shredded it and dropped it into the cooked veggies. 

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I usually use chicken stock for this dish. But, this time I had pan drippings. You can tell the difference by the jiggliness of it. The pan drippings jiggle, while stock is more liquid. The fat will rise to the top of both. I like to scrape it off (and give it to the dog as a treat).

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For this type of dish, I find it a little bit easier to just whisk the thickening agent (flour or cornstarch) together with some of the liquids, and add it to the pan. It thickens nicely once it boils. A traditional roux can be made instead (you know, where you heat some fat, then add an equal amount of flour and cook for about 30-60 seconds, then whisk in the stock and let it thicken), if you prefer.

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After it boils and thickens, the milk is added. I don’t like it when the sauce breaks, so I like to leave the milk out until the end. Then heat it ever so gently, just until steam rises.

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Once the seasoning is checked, the skillet is set on a baking sheet (in case of overflow – I’d rather clean that than the inside of the oven).

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Pie crust is rolled out. I used Alana’s recipe (from her cookbook).  I tried to work quickly, but since the skillet and filling were both so hot, it got a little soft. It didn’t seem to matter in the end though.

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The crust is brushed with egg and sprinkled with some of the sea salt that we brought back from Paris. Just because it feels fancy and I like the crunch.

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And then it bakes and bakes and suddenly it’s done and the air smells like so much goodness that I almost can’t contain myself. I want to devour the entire pie before it’s cooled and before my friend arrives for lunch.

But, I don’t. I restrain myself. I eat a normal sized portion and don’t even yell about how good it is in the middle of our conversation (although she did interrupt us to ask about the pie crust). I like when things get interrupted because something is just too good to keep quiet about.

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Happy Eating!

Chicken Pot Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 4

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 carrot (or parsnip), chopped
  • 2 small potatoes (or combination of 1-1 1/2 C potato, radish, turnip, or rutabaga), chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato (or 1 C peeled acorn or butternut squash), chopped
  • 1 small onion (or 2 shallots), chopped
  • 2 stalks celery (or 1 fennel bulb), chopped
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 t fresh rosemary (or thyme), chopped
  • 1 small summer squash, (or 1/2 C cauliflower or peas), chopped
  • 1-2 C chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 C chicken (or vegetable) stock or chicken pan drippings
  • 2 T all purpose flour (or 1 T cornstarch)
  • 1/2 C cold water
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • coarse sea salt
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat an oven proof skillet. Add oil. When oil is hot, add carrot through rosemary. Cook covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add summer squash and chicken and cook for about 3-5 minutes more, or until veggies are tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Whisk stock or pan drippings with flour and water. Add to the skillet, turn the heat to high, and bring it to a boil. Let it thicken for about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, turn heat to medium-low, and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until steam rises, but do not boil. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set on a baking sheet.
  4. Roll out pie crust. Top the filling with the crust (careful, the skillet is hot!). Make a few air vents with a sharp knife. Brush with the egg and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Bake for 22-30 minutes, or until crust is browned and flaky.
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Thursday

23

October 2014

0

COMMENTS

How to Deseed Pomegranates

Written by , Posted in Fruit, How To

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Beautiful pomegranates are in season right now. Ruby red jewels inside tough skin. We could go deep and get philosophical about how that’s how so many people are… Tough on the outside, but when you get to know them, deep down, past the sometimes brittle skin, there are jewels to be found.

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As there are many ways to get to the center of who a person is, there are different ways to deseed a pomegranate (like that segue?). But, in trying a few different ways, I found one that was far superior. DeseedingPomegranates-3

The first way is how I used to eat them as a kid. I didn’t care about the mess, so just cutting it in half and kinda scraping them out and pulling the peel down worked alright.

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You can also whack the pomegranate with a wooden spoon, over a bowl or holding your hand underneath. This didn’t work very well for me. It splattered juice everywhere and the seeds didn’t really come loose.

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Here’s the way that did work. It wasn’t messy and didn’t take long.

Quarter each pomegranate.

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Place them in a bowl.

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Cover with plenty of water.

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Using both hands (or one if you’re photographing the experiment and don’t want to hold the camera with your shoulder and risk dropping it into the pome-water), peel the skin back, keeping it under the water. Once the peel is free from the seeds, discard.

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Grab a handful of seeds and rub them around, under the water, getting the pith (or membrane) to separate from the seeds.

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The pith will float to the surface and you can skim it off, leaving you with a bowlful of seeds.

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Drain the seeds (save the water for your garden).

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Transfer the seeds to a storage container.

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Now that they’ve been harvested with minimal mess, let’s talk about how to serve them.

First of all, you can just eat them the way they are (yes, even the white part of the seed that’s inside). You could freeze them for a hot day, or just stand at the counter eating them out of the bag that you’d intended to freeze…

You could make them into a salad dressing, or use them as part of a salad.

To indulge your sweet tooth, add them to a crisp or a crumble, or you could dip them in white chocolate.

They’d be lovely tossed with lemon juice, chopped avocado, chile peppers, and cucumber, for a spicy and refreshing salad. Or with some apples as salsa.

You might roast some beets and top them with cool pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.

Pomegranates pair well with meats like chicken, fish, and lamb. Serve a salad with fresh pomegranates, almonds, and orange slices alongside one of these meats that has been roasted.

Sunday

19

October 2014

0

COMMENTS

Vegetarian Soft Tacos

Written by , Posted in Beans, Cheese, Dinner, Fruit, Kid-Friendly, Legumes, Lunch, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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Even though I’m tired of the heat we’re still experiencing, I’m hanging on as long as I can to the summer veggies. Specifically summer squash.

I’m fine that the apples are here. I’m glad that we’ve got grapes. But, I don’t want the cute little squash to go bye bye.

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So I’m using them as often as I can. Savoring each squashy bite.

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I feel like squash kinda goes with everything. I like to add it to eggs, wrap it with pie crust, and slice it thin for pizza.

Oh my squash it’s good.

See what I did there?

Sorrynotsorry.

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Squash, shallots, radishes, and a chile pepper are added to some hot oil.

This isn’t going to take long.

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Next come the beans and seasonings.

I love beans in tacos and enchiladas. Meat is great too, but we eat a lot of vegetarian meals, just because we do, so often things like beans, quinoa, and eggs are our forms of protein. That being said, this would taste great with some ground beef. The main reason I didn’t use any: I didn’t have any.

I used pinto beans. They’re my favorite for tacos and enchiladas. But, kidney, black, or garbonzos would also work. They will change the taste of the dish a bit, but no big deal.

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Almost before the lettuce is washed, tomatoes are chopped, and cheese is grated, the bean and veggie mixture is done. This is a seriously quick meal.

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Everything gets piled onto half of the tortilla (whole grain for me, white for Tim), then the unadorned half gets folded over.

You could totally fry up some tortillas and make hard shell tacos. Corn tortillas work great for this. But, for a super quick meal, I like ‘em soft.

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I usually bring the salsa and yogurt with me so I can add more while I eat. I like my tacos messy.

Happy Eating!

Vegetarian Soft Tacos

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Total Time: 14 minutes

Vegetarian Soft Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 radish (or carrot, or both), grated
  • 1 small summer squash, grated (or bell pepper, chopped, or both)
  • 1 hot chile pepper, ribs and seeds removed (unless you'd like more spice), diced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/4 C corn
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t paprika
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 to 1 1/2 C pinto beans
  • 2 tortillas
  • cheese, grated
  • lettuce, shredded
  • tomato, chopped
  • Greek yogurt
  • salsa

Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet and add oil. When oil is hot, add radish through shallot. Cook over medium-low heat for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add garlic through beans. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Divide the bean mixture between the tortillas and place on half of each one. Top it with cheese through salsa. Fold the un-topped half of the tortilla over the toppings.
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Thursday

16

October 2014

0

COMMENTS

End of the Week Pasta

Written by , Posted in Dairy-Free, Dinner, Eggs, Fruit, Herbs, Lunch, Main Dishes, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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It’s nearing the end of the week. And the cupboards are a little bare, the pantry is kinda empty, the produce drawers are filled with distant memories (and a few stray veggies).

Sound familiar?

Maybe this only happens at our house.

In any case, I’ve learned to be clever with those final few ingredients before the crisper drawers are re-stocked. Usually, this involves some sort of pasta. Fresh pasta, dried pasta, leftover pasta… just pasta. (Of course you could also use wild rice, quinoa, lentils, or potatoes. They’d all be fabulous!)

The additions change every time though.

Sometimes it’s tuna and peas. It could be artichokes, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Today, it was zucchini, bell pepper, and tomatoes.

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It starts with some oil. For this particular recipe it was olive oil. Butter is also great with pasta. Coconut oil could also work, but make sure you’re ok with a hint of coconut if you go that route.

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Then, you know the drill… some of the veggies are added to the hot oil. They cook for a few minutes with some salt and pepper.

Easy.

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Then things like kale and garlic are added. Kale wilts, garlic smells amazing.

You could use other greens, like chard, mizuna, mustard greens, spinach, or collard greens.

You could add tons more garlic, or use none at all.

I prefer the tons route.

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Pasta is cooked and added. I had some leftovers that I’d frozen, then defrosted in the fridge overnight. Worked just fine. If you’re cooking fresh, reserve a bit of the starchy cooking water to add to the veggies. Helps the sauce to stick to the pasta, but isn’t essential.

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Serve yourself a huge bowlful. Green goodness all around!

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While the pasta hangs out for a minute, fry an egg in the veggie pan. One egg per person. Unless you want two.

Salt the eggs when they’re hot.

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Then slide them onto the pasta. The yolk, if it’s still a bit runny, will add to the sauce.

End of the week fridge situation isn’t so bad after all.

Happy Eating!

End of the Week Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Main, Pasta, Vegetarian, Vegetables, Quick and Easy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • pasta, cooked
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 C zucchini/summer squash, chopped (or carrots or radishes, grated)
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped (or broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, celery, or peas)
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C kale (chard, spinach, or mizuna would also be great), chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1-2 to 1 C pasta water (optional)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 egg/person
  • to taste salt
  • handful fresh herbs (basil, parsley), chopped, for topping
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta, reserving ½ to 1 C pasta water.
  2. Heat skillet. Add olive oil. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add garlic, kale, and tomatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes more, stirring often.
  4. Add pasta water, if using. Remove from heat, stir in pasta. Pour pasta in a bowl and keep warm.
  5. Add remaining olive oil to skillet. Add egg and cook to desired doneness. Sprinkle with salt.
  6. Divide pasta between bowls. Top each bowl with an egg. Top egg and pasta with fresh herbs.

 

Tuesday

14

October 2014

0

COMMENTS

Eight Years

Written by , Posted in Thoughts

TheWeekBeforeTheWedding

Once upon a time, there was a Canadian girl, and an American boy. They met at a wedding (her cousin, his friend) and shortly thereafter fell in love. A year and a half later, it was a week before their wedding. Family and friends had come from all over the world to celebrate…

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Can you tell by my expression how nervous but mostly excited I am? I couldn’t wait to marry Tim. Also, my dad is the cutest. And, those flowers were so heavy! I didn’t think about that when I asked for such a big bouquet of roses. I still have them. They’re dried and a bunch have fallen off, but it’s still my wedding bouquet. (Photo credit Shinn Photography.)

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My good friend Kelly flew in from Texas to officiate the ceremony. Before he started speaking, he pulled out his cell phone to take a photo of us. (Photo credit Shinn Photography.)

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Married.

I love this photo. It’s one of my favorites from the day. (Photo credit Shinn Photography.)

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We celebrated our first anniversary back at the central coast (where we’d spent part of our honeymoon). We’re going back again this year. It’s one of my favorite places.

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Same thing the second year. We’re not necessarily beach people, but this little town has a special place in our hearts. I grew up coming here with my family, so it’s extra special to get to come back with my husband.

Year three has a photo, but the resolution is so bad that you wouldn’t be able to see our faces. Sad.

Our fourth anniversary was celebrated quietly, with a little country getaway. A week after that, Tim got a new job in L.A., so we couldn’t make it back to the coast.

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This wasn’t technically on our anniversary, but it’s as close as we’ve got (it was Thanksgiving, so about 5 weeks later). That year was our first full year in L.A. and I cooked us a nice dinner, but didn’t go out anywhere to celebrate. (Photo credit Shannon Oberg.)

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For our sixth, we went to The Melting Pot. Oh boy was that yummy. And, we didn’t have to cook or do the dishes!

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And then, my favorite of all the anniversaries… Paris. Last year. The best trip ever. I wish I could transport us back there again, to our little flat, with fresh baguettes and pain au chocolate every day… I’ve been thinking about Paris a lot lately. I’m missing it more than I miss most things.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year.

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This picture brings tears to my eyes just about every time I see it. I love the way he’s looking at me. It makes me feel so loved.

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This was taken over the summer at our family reunion. But, it’s close enough.

Eight years. They’ve gone by in the blink of an eye… yet it feels like a lot has happened. It’s been wonderful, amazing, difficult, a lot of work, the best thing ever. You don’t have to be married to be blessed. You don’t have to be wealthy or wise or beautiful. But, since I am married, I feel that I’ve been richly blessed to be married to Tim. And there’s seriously no one person that I like better, no human that I’d rather be around, nobody that I’d rather spend my days with than him.