Tony’s Flat Chickens

August 28, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Chicken, Vegetables | 22 Comments
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I went to work for a new employer and have been engaged in long product training sessions clear across town all week, which has thrown a monkey wrench into my cooking and blogging time.  

Most evenings were quick thrown-together 10 minute meals like cooked ground chicken breast mixed in with dirty rice from a package, or scrambled eggs with italian sausage, onion and red bell pepper, chinese take-out one night…hotdogs another. 

You’ve heard me mention my favorite local specialty store, Tony’s Meats about a gadzillion times and thanks to their pre-marinated meats department, I was able to plate at least one impressive meal this week.

A couple of weeks ago, they advertised their marinated flat chickens as one of their “two for one” sale offerings.  Having never tried them, I headed over to my Tony’s on Dry Creek and took advantage of the sale and threw two packages in the freezer.

The selection was difficult, so many good flavor combinations. The one pictured is marinated lemon herb. Didn’t hear about the sale?  Better become a Culinary Club Member. You’ll receive email notifications for great recipes and hot deals.

Here’s what to do (what I did).  Simply heat up the grill to 550 and then turn it down to 350.  Throw the chicken on and reserve the extra marinade from the bag  in a bowl. Every 15 minutes turn the chicken and baste with the reserved marinade. Really no fuss at all. In about an  hour your chicken will be perfect. Could it get any easier?  In between bastings, you have time to change clothes, sip wine, watch Jeopardy, and prepare your side dishes.

My vegetable choice was fried okra. I trimmed both ends of the okra and then soaked in salted water for about 15 minutes. I then drained it well, sliced it up, and coated in corn meal that was seasoned with a Cajun spice and then fried it up in some Crisco. Thanks to Larry over at Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings  for the soaking and Crisco tip.  I thought it worked like a charm, plus the hub went crazy over it. No more heavy floured fried okra for this Yankee.

Served along side a fresh garden salad with your favorite vinaigrette and you’ve got a beautiful and delicious summer meal, even on a busy day.  Best part about this, I had enough chicken left over for the next night.  Yum!

Tony’s Marinated Flat Chicken…

It’s What’s For Dinner.

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Black Bean and Chorizo Torta

August 24, 2010 at 2:06 am | Posted in Mexican/Southwest | 19 Comments
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Christo over at Chez What? is having a sandwich throwdown and this is my contribution to BATTLE SANDWICH. A black bean and chorizo torta.

Torta is a Mexican sandwich, served on an oblong variety of 6-8 inch sandwich rolls, called teleras or bolillos. Telera is a soft, round bread; Bolillo is a torpedo-shaped French roll with a thick and crunchy crust. Tortas can be served hot or cold.

This sandwich would fall into the “soft” bread category and by the time I got it plated, photographed and with both cold and warm items assembled, was served at room temperature.

An easy fix:

For the filling:

  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1 can black beans, half drained
  • 1 link good quality chorizo sausage
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 2 T. olive oil

In a fry pan, add the olive oil and when hot add chopped onion and cook until tender. Add beans and cook for a few minutes slightly mashing as they warm. Remove casing and cut chorizo into chunks and add to the fry pan along with the cumin. 

For the bread, simply fine chop a fresh jalapeno, grate some cheddar cheese on top of the telera and broil briefly until cheese is melted.

To build the sandwich, simply smear the bottom bun with some Queso Fresco, or goat cheese, and layer on some sliced avocado. Top that with some coarsely chopped cilantro leaves. Add your mixture of black beans and chorizo. A squeeze of lime before you top with the cheesy lid and you’ve got a great sandwich. This large sandwich cut in half served two.

Served alongside some delicious super sweet fresh Colorado corn on the cob.

Black Bean and Chorizo Torta.

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Cool Meals For Hot Days

August 21, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments
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It’s been hot in Denver. OK, everyone in unison, Johnny Carson style “how hot is it?“. 

“It’s hotter than Billy Heck”. I have no idea what that means, it’s just something my mom says. Kind of like that saying my friend Vickie uses, “Drunker than Cooter Brown”. 

It’s so hot that Billy Heck doesn’t even want to get drunker than Cooter Brown and drinks iced tea instead. Our poor air conditioner runs practically non-stop to keep the house a decent temperature.

It’s so hot that even I haven’t done much cooking. But it’s a dry heat.  Well, so is my oven, so I’ve not turned it on.

So here’s just a few things I’ve tinkered around with in the kitchen over the last week.

This is one of my favorite little snacks and ended up being our dinner one evening. Simply purchase a chunk of your favorite smoked salmon, slice up some good quality cheddar cheese, lay out a couple of varieties of crackers, mix up some horseradish cream sauce and you’ve got a flavor packed combination. 

You’ll always find a package of Naan bread in my freezer, After thawing,  I topped it with some chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped pepperoncini, crumbled goat cheese, fresh slivers of basil and some sliced oil packed sun-dried tomatoes. I suppose I could have put it out on the driveway to cook,  but opted to turn on the broiler briefly to get everything nice and toasty.

Served alongside the horseradish smeared cracker, cheese and salmon I was in snack heaven.

A note about that cheddar cheese I used for the salmon snack. This Tillamook Vintage Aged White Cheddar is in my humble opinion delicious. If you ever run across it, grab a package. It goes perfectly with one of my favorite snacks, cheddar cheese with apples.

One evening was this fabulous Mark Bittman scallop and plum ceviche.  Delicious, simple, fresh and appreciated the lime juice cooking the scallops rather than heat.  Love his suggestion of tarragon and the only heat required here is a splash of cayenne pepper.    Take a look at his video for the recipe.

One morning, I boiled up some tomato flavored pasta. Meanwhile, I placed some slivered yellow bell pepper, chopped onion, pepperoni, broccoli and some black olives in a bowl. Drained the pasta and while it was still piping hot poured it into the bowl.  Tossed it good, covered and placed it in the refrigerator. That evening we had cold pasta salad topped with some grated parmesan.

Snack Food…

It’s What’s Been For Dinner.

Date With A King

August 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

The Tut Poster outside the Museum

Everyone needs a little culture, so this week we headed into the city to the Denver Art Museum to see the King Tut Exhibit.   

 

One of our favorite things to do is to attend a show at the museum and have lunch at Palettes Restaurant. Palettes is located inside the museum, is a Kevin Taylor Restaurant and a fabulous place to dine and drink in some food art before you soak up culture at the museum. 

Kevin Taylor is a Colorado award-winning chef with five restaurants in the Denver area. Palettes is one of the nation’s first chef-driven museum restaurant concepts. It has an eclectic menu and when the plates arrive you definitely feel the marriage of food and art. It’s a real treat.  

For the Tut exhibit the restaurant offered a special prix fix menu featuring Egyptian cuisine. Fit for a king aptly describes the appetizer of Egyptian Meatballs with Cumin Spiced Tomato Sauce, the tossed salad with preserved lemon dressing and the spiced strip loin with fava beans, couscous and harissa demi. I’d love to be able to recreate those dishes…even if I come close, it will be delicious. 

Let’s take a look;

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Look at me being all high-ish tech. Thanks to Vickie over at Part Three for stumbling onto the WordPress slide show option and teaching me how. Love it. 

At the end of the show, in the gift shop right outside the exhibit produced a proud parent moment. Our son Sean, the artist, has his jewelry pieces displayed for purchase.  

 

King Tut and Lunch At Palettes… 

Better Entertainment Than “A Night At The Museum”.

Sublime Key Lime Pie

August 14, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Posted in dessert | 28 Comments
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First, how about this  from Yogi Berra:  

The waitress asked: “How many pieces do you want your pie cut?” Yogi responded: “Four. I don’t think I could eat eight.”

My husband’s side of the family recently gathered for their family reunion.  Bob’s sister and husband Vern hosted the event at their home in Woodland Park, Colorado. To get to Woodland Park (the city above the clouds), we drive South to Colorado Springs, passing the United States Air Force Academy, past Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds, wind around beautiful Pikes Peak (America’s most visited mountain), and past the North Pole Santa’s Workshop.  There, don’t you feel like a tourist?

Patricia and Vern were wonderful hosts and layed out a feast…and I mean a feast for lunch. Pulled BBQ Pork and sliced ham for sandwiches, coleslaw, fresh corn on the cob, baked beans, mac n’ cheese,  fresh slices of watermelon…get the picture? (I hope so since I didn’t take any)  :-/

And amongst the array of desserts? Patricia’s Key Lime Pie. I haven’t had this in years and the first bite was every bit as delicious as I remembered…maybe even better than I remembered.

You can use any type of pie crust from homemade to the pre-made versions in the stores like graham cracker or dark chocolate crusts. If you use the chocolate crust, dress up the top of each slice of  pie with a bit of  shaved chocolate.

How can something this easy be this delicious?  Take a look at this line up of sinful ingredients.

  • 1 can Eagle Brand Milk
  • 1 tub Cool Whip
  • 1/2 C. bottled Key Lime Juice or 12 Key Limes, squeezed

Stir all ingredients together and pour into a prepared pie crust. Refrigerate overnight. The pie also freezes well.

I think it takes longer to get the items out of the pantry than it does to throw this pie together.

Patricia’s Key Lime Pie,

It’s What’s For Dessert.

Open-faced Eggplant Sandwich

August 13, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Posted in Sandwiches | 23 Comments
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I’m having more fun with all the fresh produce at our Farmers’ Market. Next time you’re at one grab an eggplant, slice it up thick, slather it with olive oil, grill it alongside some onions. Throw it on top of a slice of toasted sourdough bread, add some fresh basil leaves, a slice of fresh tomato, some mozzarella cheese, pop it under the broiler for a couple of minutes and you’ve got a great little dinner.

Served alongside the last of the Bobby Flay coleslaw.

What’s that you say? You think I should have ditched the mozzarella and basil and put the coleslaw on top? Ok, let’s take a vote, coleslaw or basil/mozzarella?

Open-Faced Eggplant Sandwich…

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Rocky Ford Melons

August 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Posted in Fruit | 18 Comments
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A simple side dish of cubed yellow flesh Rocky Ford Watermelon, sprinkled with some Hawaiian Sea Salt, black pepper, a squeeze of lime and torn mint leaves. 

This past Sunday, the melon truck was offering up some smaller seedless yellow-fleshed melons. The samples were sweet, crunchy and delicious so I decided to grab one. But the real superstar of Mumm Farms Melon Truck is always the famous Rocky Ford Cantaloupe. Let’s take a look.

Our delicious mouth-watering Rocky Ford watermelons and cantaloupes have been available in our Farmers’ Markets for a couple of weeks now. They are grown around the little Southeastern Colorado town of Rocky Ford, in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado which refers to the River Valley which runs from near Leadville through Colorado, continuing through Kansas. 

The small town of Rocky Ford hails itself as the “Sweet Melon Capital of the World”. That’s because hot days, cool nights and a relatively high elevation help farmers grow some of the sweetest cantaloupe on the planet  And believe me, every single bite is lush and cherished.

Did you know that most of the Rocky Mountain Region and the United States receive their melon seeds for planting from here? Rocky Ford melons recently gained international notoriety with Barack Obama’s public endorsement.

Plain and simple, you just haven’t lived until you’re tasted the super sweet juicy Rocky Ford Cantaloupe. The orange meat of these melons is “perfecto”.

It’s easy to pick out a good cantaloupe,  just look for the fruit that’s orange or yellow all over in between that white netting. If it’s green between the netting, it’s not ripe yet. The fruit should be a little soft to the touch. And if it smells like honey, you can be assured it’s going to be sweet and juicy.

Take a look at the brown scars on this melon. The melon man told me that those marks are caused by bees trying to get at the sweet meat. So if a melon has a lot of those, it’s guaranteed to be sweet. Have you ever heard that?

Rocky Ford Melon,

It Screams Colorado Summer!

Bobby Flay’s Juicy Texas Burger

August 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Posted in Beef | 27 Comments
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Bobby Flay’s Juicy Texas Burger

As the official Team Captain for picking meals around here, I must say I don’t know why Bobby Flay’s Juicy Texas Burger ended up being my last choice. Don’t you just hate being the last one “picked”??? You see…I’ve had this recipe in my data base for..oh.. I don’t know…years.  Whenever it’s was time to pick an out of the ordinary burger recipe for dinner, I’d slowly study all of the candidates and would always call out someone else’s burger recipe.  Well, blogger Reeni over at Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice  has called out a Burger Club Challenge, featuring Chef Bobby Flay burgers. What a great reason to finally give this a try.

Before we talk about this burger, look at this beautiful head of Colorado grown cabbage from my Farmers’ Market.  Beautiful.

The burger: First of all, I’m pretty darn picky about coleslaw. It’s gotta have just the right sweet, sour tangy combo for my liking and was reluctant to try someone else’s recipe. Oh I know, I could have made my own coleslaw and thrown it on this burger, but with a real chef involved, I do like to stick to their recipes to make sure I’m experiencing the flavors of the dish just as the chef intended. I have to admit, Chef Flay’s coleslaw is a nice recipe and I’ll be using it from now on and ditching my “buttermilk laden takes me 10 flavor adjustments to get right” recipe. His version is no fuss and yummy.

For the BBQ sauce, I used my favorite local brand, Tony’s.  I chose the Bold & Smoky for this recipe. And must say the flavor came through loud and clear in a bold and smoky manner. I thought it really paired well with the coleslaw.

For the pickles, I used slices of hot and spicy (and a little sweet) Famous Dave’s brand.  We love these pickles and our local Costco carries them.

I followed Chef Flay’s instructions to the T and I must say this is one mighty fine burger and will be my first pick when I’m wanting a fancified burger. I loved his tip of glazing the burger with the BBQ Sauce while cooking. I’m rating this Three Stars…Liked and will make it again.  I didn’t give it a 4 star rating because I truly love a simple grilled cheeseburger, with a little onion and fresh tomato…and mustard only please.

Here’s the recipe.

Bobby Flay’s Juicy Texas Burgers: Flay created this recipe for his wife, Stephanie March, “a Texan who loves brisket and coleslaw.”

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 small onion, finely shredded
3 Tbs cider vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp celery seeds
8 cups shredded green cabbage
1 large carrot, finely shredded
Salt and freshly ground pepper
burgers
2 lbs ground beef chuck
Vegetable oil, for rubbing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
4 hamburger buns, split
Sliced pickles

1. Make the Coleslaw: In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the onion, vinegar, sugar and celery seeds. Add the shredded cabbage and carrot, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Let stand until slightly softened, about 25 minutes.

2. Make the Burgers: Light a grill. Form the beef into 4 patties; rub with oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear over high heat, turning once, for 5 minutes for medium-rare. Brush with 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce and grill until glazed, about 1 minute per side.

3. Grill the buns and brush them with the remaining barbecue sauce. Top with the burgers, pickles and coleslaw and serve.

Servings: 4

A Juicy Texas Burger…

It’s What’s For Dinner when a Plain Ol Burger just isn’t enough.

Baked Zucchini and Tomato

August 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Posted in Vegetables | 13 Comments
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We’re almost into the 2nd week of August and I can guarantee in a few days I’ll be hearing people say  “where has the summer gone???”.

So better get out there and do some of those wacky summery things that you dream about when you’re cooped up and the snow is flying.  Like

  • Taking a walk at midnight
  • Riding a ferris wheel
  • Floating out into the middle of a lake in an inflatable boat
  • Eating popsicles
  • Playing in a public fountain
  • Laying out on the grass and looking up at the stars
  • Slip and sliding in the front yard
  • Streaking the outfield at a major league baseball ballgame (nationally televised game of course)
  • Eating fresh tomatoes and zucchini out of the garden…

…you know…summer stuff.

Let’s make sure that last one is covered. 

Take a look at this easy and delicious dish that my Colorado blogging buddy Kirsten over at My Kitchen In The Rockies posted. This made its way onto our dinner table within a week of reading her post.  

How much easier does it get than scrubbing and slicing a couple of zucchini, slicing up a fresh tomato and the fanning them out in a casserole dish. A sprinkle of salt and pepper.

And for some wacky hot summer fun, I added some hot red pepper flakes. 

Pop it in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, drizzled with olive oil and topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and you look like a pro.

Thanks for this recipe Kirsten, it will be my go-to zucchini side dish.

Baked Zucchini, Summer Squash and Tomato…

It’s What’s For A Summer Side Dish.

Bacon’n’Eggs…’n Pasta

August 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Pasta | 16 Comments
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Why am I such a poached egg  freak-o? Just something about that creamy yolk running down the side of…oozing through the middle of..or swimming  in the broth of any dish makes me swoon.

This is just a quick post and an easy weeknight fix. Well, the clean-up crew thought there were too many pans involved…but I didn’t hear him complain during dinner.  🙂

First of all, I want you to take a look at those tomatoes at the top of the photo. That’s right folks, it’s August 3 when this photo was taken, and you’re looking at the first sliced tomatoes of the season from my garden. It’s been a long time coming. So everyone share in my joy and in Mormon Tabernacle Choir fashion sing a big “HALLALUJIA”.

Next to those tomatoes is a slice of the first Rocky Ford Cantaloupe of the season. The Colorado Rocky Ford Melon phenomena is a whole other topic for another post, so stay tuned.

Now we’re talkin’! I do believe that little chunk of bacon swam right out of the pasta just to bathe in that runny yolk. For this dish, I simply cut two slices of bacon into bite-sized chunks and crisped it in a fry pan with some sweet onion. Meanwhile, I cooked some whole-grain spaghetti according to package directions. Tossed it with the bacon, onion and some red pepper flakes. Plated on my favorite pasta bowls, I topped with the poached eggs.  Kind of a no-brainer.

Poached Egg Over Pasta…

It’s What’s For Dinner.

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