Toast, Chipotle Mayonnaise, Bacon, Avocado and Poached Egg Recipe

March 29, 2011 at 6:47 am | Posted in Breakfast | 53 Comments
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Thank you Dara over at Cookin Canuck. All I had to do was look at the title and photo and before reading any further, I  left a comment indicating this would be on my breakfast table Sunday morning…and it was. 

Is this not right up my chipotle adobo obsessed, Mexican food fetished, breakfast crazed, runny egg lovin’ alley?

Came together in a jiff…let’s take a look.

First whip together a simple chipotle mayonnaise. In a bowl combine 1/2 C. mayonnaise, 1 chopped chipotle pepper, 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce and a good solid squeeze of lime juice (about 2 teaspoons).

Then build your sandwich. A slice of toast slathered with the mayo, topped with two slices of avocado, two slices of bacon…

And top it with a beautiful poached egg.  This was so DEElicious I may have to have it every Sunday for the rest of my life. 

A side note: Do you see that strip of pastry in the background. My friend Karen made this and brought it to our Saturday Front Range Blogger Meetup. I insisted on the recipe and she just posted it over at her site; Eat Drink and Wash Up. You owe it to yourself to check it out. It’s so good that a slice of it may have to be part of  my every Sunday breakfast .

Chipotle Mayo, Bacon, Avocado and Poached Egg Open Faced Sandwich…It’s What’s For Breakfast.

One Year Ago:  Ham Hash With Mustard Cream Sauce


Chicken Tikka Masala

March 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Chicken | 44 Comments
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…without the tikka or the tandoori. 

I’ve recently signed up for emails from America’s Test Kitchen and so far I’m impressed and engaged with the content. The latest included a clip from a television segment featuring an easy Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. I felt the excitement and adventure of a challenge since I’ve never had Tikka Masala. Throw in the addition of Kirsten over at My Kitchen In The Rockies posting some wonderful Indian dishes over the past few weeks and I couldn’t resist the project.

ATK tells us that Tikka Masala is the most popular dish ordered in Indian Restaurants and assures us that after testing many recipes, this Test Kitchen version will yield tender chunks of chicken in a flavorful aroma of seasonings without skewering and can be prepared in our American kitchens without the need of a tandoori oven or vessel.

Let’s get started.

Using a mixture of cumin, ground coriander, cayenne and salt…

Sprinkle over both sides of  boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. ATK assures us that the addition of salt and plastic wrap will vibrantly flavor the chicken in this short time.

Mix together plain yogurt, chopped garlic, grated ginger and some vegetable oil. Stir together and let rest so that the flavors can marry while the chicken is flavoring in the refrigerator.

At the end of 30 minutes, remove chicken from refrigerator and slather generously with the yogurt mixture. 

Heating some oil in a sauce pan stove top, add finely chopped garlic, a seeded and deveined Serrano pepper, tomato paste, garam masala, grated ginger and chopped onion. Stirring, cook over medium heat until chile and onion are tender and flavors have become fragrant. 

Add some crushed tomatoes and continue to simmer on low. Whisk in some cream and keep warm until you add the chicken.

Broil the slathered chicken breasts about six minutes per side, until thermometer reads 160 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for five minutes and then chop into bite sized pieces. Stir the chicken into the tomato sauce and remove from heat immediately so that chicken will not cook any further. Serve alongside basmati rice.

The verdict: 

  • Just as promised, I was surprised how flavorful the chicken tasted from its short visit with the spices in the refrigerator sealed under that plastic wrap.
  • I was impressed with how the yogurt and olive oil mixture beautifully browned the chicken just as promised. 
  • It was very good, but never having Tikka Masala before and not being able to compare…we thought the sauce lacked that burst of flavor we were expecting. 
  • It was somewhat of a lengthy process so I would not recommend this for a weeknight fix.

Below you’ll find the complete recipe and process compliments of America’s Test Kitchen.

Chicken Tikka Masala…It’s What’s For Dinner.

One Year Ago: Creamed Olive Soup and Salad

America’s Test Kitchen Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4 to 6

This dish is best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. If you prefer, substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper for the garam masala. The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.

Chicken Tikka

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1-1/4 cups)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh Serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (see note above)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

FnB’s Braised Leeks

March 23, 2011 at 8:11 am | Posted in Breakfast | 34 Comments
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Food and Wine Magazine is one of my favorite sources for reliably interesting, creative and delicious recipes. Over the years  many have found their way into my database as permanent dishes I make over and over.

In a recent issue, I spotted a small photo on an obscure corner of a page within a big article naming the Ten Best Restaurant Dishes of 2010. It caught my attention because it was topped with a sunny side up egg.  The piece featured FnB Restaurant in Scottsdale, and their winning dish Braised Leeks with Mozzarella and a Fried Egg

I had to give it a try. Not really giving me a recipe, the article directed me to a television segment from a Phoenix station where chef Charleen Badman is featured and demonstrates how to make her winning creation.

The video does help with the construction of the dish, but honestly I found it somewhat entertaining on a completely different level.  Along with the demonstration came the ever-annoying local television personalities hovering over the chef with their distracting antics which they think bring us entertainment.

Denver most certainly has it’s share of pretentious local celebrities, who provide us with never-ending eye-rolling, snickering moments, and after watching this clip I see every city has its “guy”….and this one takes the “full of himself” cake. C’mon Mr. Anchorman…”take a leek”…really???  Then if you watch carefully, he further entertains himself with another devilishly clever moment by using the leek as a mock microphone while everyone on set laughs giddily. Well, at least woman in yellow. And then something about leeking on his arm??? I didn’t snicker, didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or sit down and write Chef  Badman a note of commiseration beginning with “oh you poor dear”. 

Let’s take a look:

via How to make FnB’s braised leeks.

Even though I was warned not to, I tried this at home. (Photos from point and shoot camera.)

I halved, cleaned and braised leeks in butter, lemon slices and thyme until tender and fragrant.

Placed them in a casserole dish…

I topped with grated mozzarella cheese…

Sprinkled on some panko bread crumbs which were mixed with melted butter, Dijon mustard and a sprinkle of thyme. Popped the dish under the broiler which then transferred nicely to our breakfast plate.

Carefully topped with a sunny side up egg…

Oh look, the egg sprung a leek…… (ok, everyone in unison… snicker and roll eyes)

and the dish was a hit.

And served with a simple bowl of sliced kiwi and mangoes, it was a fun little breakfast. Even though the dish was different and tasty, I’m not sure it’s interesting enough that I’d make it again.  Even though they were cooked tender, the leeks were still tough and hard to cut, coming apart and sliding all over the plate. The whole thing lacked that “wow” factor.  I’m blaming it all on those heckling local “celebrities”. 🙂

Braised Leeks…It’s What was for Breakfast.

Breakfast Pizza With My New Camera

March 16, 2011 at 6:27 am | Posted in Breakfast | 59 Comments
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For better or worse, welcome to my first breakfast pizza and photos with my new camera.

I must admit that I love the ease of my snappy little point and shoot, but was also feeling the tug of challenge offered by a DSLR.  At our last Front Range Foodie Meetup we focused (pun intended) on fine tuning skills with DSLR food photography. I was surprised to learn a lot, even with point and shoot in hand.   Interest was piqued.

Days later, Vickie over at Part Three posted this stunning,  jaw-dropping photo of  limoncello against a snowy outdoor background, shot with her DSLR. A day later Karen over at Eat Drink and Wash Up emergency emailed me with a  notice of a “can’t pass up sale” for a  Canon Rebel DSLR.  Throw in an impending birthday and you’ve got a  perfect storm which washed ashore a new camera.

I’m currently reading the manual, commiserating with new user Karen, and pestering  3 – 4 month experienced Vickie, with question after question.  Thank you ladies for your patience and willingness to help!  🙂

Right now I can’t see a lot of difference between the DSLR and the P&S but with a little practice I hope to have you all gasping in delight over my food photography. HA! Seems light years away right now.  Let’s take a look at my first photos and my breakfast pizza.

I made a quick and simple pesto in my food processor using one cup warmed and wilted spinach, 1/4 cup olive oil and two small cloves garlic. 


  • I’ve never made pesto before. This was quick, easy and rewarding.
  • I’m somewhat pleased with the photo and you’re probably saying “oh look, bless her heart, she tried to food style”.

I then took two rounds of Naan bread and smeared on some ricotta cheese and a small dab of the pesto. I went light on the pesto, I was really worried about combining the strong flavor with the impending runny egg.


  • In the end the pesto didn’t overwhelm at all and was a delightful addition to the overall flavor.
  • Forgetting to “disable flash” you’re now reaching for your sunglasses.

My next layer included some sautéed asparagus spears and rounds of small russet potatoes that I boiled and thin sliced. 


  • New cook in the house pointed out that the asparagus needed to be cut in smaller bite sized pieces. He was given that task. (as with any committee work, never come up with a good idea, you’ll be assigned).
  • Even with flash disabled, coloring seems odd…I’m thinking the Canon Rebel doesn’t like that aluminum sheet pan.

After topping with sliced tomatoes and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper, I placed my breakfast pizza in a 350 degree oven so all ingredients could cozy up to greet the final topping.


  • Placing ingredients in the oven for about ten minutes worked great. It gave me plenty of time to slow cook my eggs while balancing the camera manual in one hand and fiddling with the camera in the other.
  • The color in the photo is still odd…and where did those peas come from?  🙂  Just what the camera didn’t need…more vivid green.

The eggs were slow-cooked to a doneness that would have made me squeamish to eat…runny in the white.  Keeping my fingers crossed, I carefully layed the eggs on the pizza, grated on some Parmesan and popped under the broiler hoping to end up with a sunny-side up egg.


  • I watched that cheese topped broiling eggs like a hawk and luckily ended up with good results.
  • I’m obviously going to have to learn Photoshop or buy new sheet pans…new camera sure picks up those unsightly and hard to scrub spots.



A sigh of relief, producing a decent meal while nervously taking unimpressive photos. And getting that egg perfect??? I have to admit that was my top priority.

Photo was nicer once moved to the kitchen table where natural light became a part of the mix. Next time I’ll lose the blazing overhead kitchen lights, I’ll lose the odd addition of peas, and I’ll practice on that aperture. 

Pizza…It’s What’s for Breakfast.

Shirlene Disantis’ Eggs Ole’

March 12, 2011 at 9:27 am | Posted in Breakfast | 33 Comments
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Eggs Ole'; a cheesy Mexican egg casserole with a side of sliced avocados and oranges sprinkled with chili powder.

Bob and I are avid bird watchers. 

Wikipedia says:  Birdwatching, or birding, is the observation and study of birds with the naked eye or through a visual enhancement device like binoculars. Birding often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are more readily detected and identified by ear than by eye.

Well…accurate, but also birds are detected and identified by habitat, behavior, location, elevation, weather systems, food supply and even by patterns of flight.

That’s what makes it so interesting and never boring. Always something to learn. Did you know that around 1,000 different species of birds can be seen north of the Mexico border?

Birdwatching has taken us to remote Alaskan Islands, to swamps in Florida, prairie pot holes on the Great Plains, pelagic trips in Monterey Bay,  and dense forests in the Northeast.  It’s not all glamorous, did I mention a sewer pond or two…or three? All in all, I’ve visited more State and National Parks that I never knew existed, seen parts of our country that I never would have seen, met some diverse species of humans that I would have never met…all due to bird watching.

One of our favorite destinations is Southeast Arizona.

A sought after birding destination and one the most biological rich areas in the United States, Southeast Arizona hosts a unique variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and butterflies. These habitats draw flocks of migrating birdwatchers from all over the world to scour the Huachuca, Santa Rita and Chiricahua Mountains for species that can found no other place in the United States. The canyons that share habitat with bordering Mexico welcome birds that cross the border so that we can add them to our list of  birds seen in the United States. Did I mention that fourteen species of hummingbirds can be seen here? 

One of our favorite spots is Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains.  Here, the Sierra Madre of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts all come together. The abrupt rise of mountains from the surrounding arid grasslands creates “sky islands” harboring rare species and communities of plants and animals. 

Nestled in the floor of the tall canyon walls and near the pond where the unique leopard frog whistles underwater, javalinas wallow and coati roam,  hummingbirds buzz, Spotted Owls hoot, and Elegant Trogons tease us with their elusive flight and calls, and at the mouth of one of the most famous birdwatching trails sits a charming bed and breakfast, The Ramsey Canyon Inn. 

It’s a perfect place to fill up on a hearty breakfast before you set out on the long arduous hike up the canyon on the Hamburg Trail. It also welcomes you home in the evening to a counter full of fresh-baked homemade pies.  There’s nothing like relaxing on the patio overlooking the gardens and the hummingbird feeders while listening to the spring-fed creek and recounting with fellow birders the exciting finds of the day. 

On one of our visits to the Inn, I brought back this recipe for Eggs Ole’.  Shirlene Disantis was the owner of the Inn at the time, served this up for breakfast and was kind enough to pass along the recipe.  Let’s take a look:

Just line a baking dish with corn chips.  Next time I’ll use soft corn tortilla shells like the recipe calls for  to make more of a crust.

Sprinkle on some cooked and crumbled chorizo.

Add some grated Monterey Jack and Cheddar.

Pour in your egg, cheese and salsa mixture. Bake, then drizzle with a velveeta and tomato sauce and top with some sliced black olives and ole’…You’ve got a tasty breakfast treat.

Shirlene DeSantis Eggs Ole’

1 dozen corn tortillas
3 Tbs oil
1 lb chorizo
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterey jack cheese
16 eggs
12 oz salsa
1 cup sour cream
For the sauce:
12 oz Velveeta
8 oz salsa
Heat together until melted

1. Heat oil in large skillet. Place tortilla in skillet and turn quickly just to soften. Line bottom of large Pyrex dish with tortillas. Cook chorizo and drain; spread over tortillas. Spread cheeses over chorizo. Mix eggs, sour cream and salsa together; pour over cheese and bake at 350 for 30 – 45 minutes or until set. Serve with sauce and black olives.

Servings: 12

Eggs Ole’…It’s What’s For Breakfast!

All non-food photos are courtesy of Ramsey Canyon Inn Website.

Pickled Pineapple on Pork Tenderloin Medallions

March 3, 2011 at 7:23 am | Posted in Fruit, pork | 40 Comments
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I grew up on a farm in the middle of Kansas where the closest town of any size was Hutchinson. With a population of about 40,000 and known to locals as Hutch, it’s also referred to as the Salt City because it sits on miles of salt mines. It hosts the Kansas State Fair and the Men’s National Junior College Basketball TournamentWhen I was growing up there, we bought our groceries and shopped for clothes from stores that were owned by people who lived in Hutchinson and we relied on The Hutchinson News-Herald to keep us connected with neighboring communities of small farming towns.

For longer than I can remember, The Hutchinson News has been faithful about providing some sort of regularly published readership submitted  recipe roundup.  In recent years it’s been an insert in the newspaper, and in earlier years spiral-bound cookbooks.  The recipes were a compilation from ones published each day  in the News-Herald ‘s Favorite Recipe column. The daily women’s page feature was started as an experiment in 1948.

Each publication was overseen and recipes were judged by local business women who held titles such as  Home Service Director with the local gas company,  Home Economist with the County Extension Office, or a Home Editor with the newspaper. I look forward to sharing several of the recipes from these books, recipes from a simpler time, recipes from the heartland where ingredients were few and instructions didn’t include terms like chiffonade, saute or macerate.

I have three of these old cookbooks from my mom’s collection. The recipe I’m going to talk about today is one I found in the book with recipes collected from 1952 – 1955. The oldest edition I have was published in 1949 and as the cover indicates, sold for 60 cents. Inside it states that  it’s the 2nd edition in the series. 

We like anything pickled, so when I spotted this recipe for pickled pineapple I had to give it a try. Incredibly easy, it simply states “serve with poultry, meat or fish“. Following instructions, a week later I had a tangy sweet and sour topping for my meat course. 

I chose pork tenderloin to slice into 1 inch medallions. Using my cast iron skillet, I seared the meat well and then sautéed until just pink inside. While the meat was cooking, I fine chopped and deflamed some onion to sprinkle on the pork before topping with the pickled fruit. I learned the deflaming technique from Rick Bayless. Simply chop onion, place in a colander and then submerge the colander in a bowl of cold water to cover the onion. Let sit for a few minutes and drain. This technique takes that heat out of the onion resulting in a milder flavor. The sweet and sour pineapple was a great topping for the pork and the onion added a dimension and crunch.

Here’s the recipe as printed in the cookbook.

Pickled Pineapple:

  • No. 2 1/2 can pineapple chunks or slices
  • 3/4 C. vinegar
  • 1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 4-inch stick cinnamon

Drain syrup from pineapple into saucepan. Add vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Simmer uncovered for ten minutes and then add pineapple and bring to a boil. Cool and let stand in refrigerator (covered) for one week. Serve with poultry, meat or fish. Submitted by Louise Dick, Mt. Hope, Kansas.

Served with a side of sautéed asparagus we had an easy and tasty dinner.

Out of interest I Googled Louise Dick. She was born in 1913 and died in 1967.  She is buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery.

Pickled Pineapple on Pork Medallions…It’s What’s For Dinner.

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