Balsamic Reduction Sauce, or Balsamic Glaze Recipe

April 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Posted in Chicken, Condiment | 33 Comments
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A few years ago at a highly acclaimed Denver restaurant, I ordered a dish of crab cakes that were served drizzled with a wonderful balsamic glaze. One bite and I was inquiring the waitress for a recipe or method to make the glaze. She exclaimed it to be incredibly easy “Just bla..bla..bla.. then bla..bla.. and then just bla and voila and you’ve re-created an exact replica of this glaze that is sitting in front of you“.

The very next day I went to work in my kitchen to recreate the process. Well, the “bla..bla..bla..then just bla” instructions led me nowhere near the result from the restaurant. 

Recently I blogged about our monthly Wine Time event. Our friend Kathy brought some bottled balsamic glaze to drizzle over some bread and blue cheese. I mentioned in my post how delicious it was, and that it was purchased in Omaha, and I was hoping to find some in Denver. Well, lo and behold, Michele to the rescue! Michele over at  Cooking With Michele, quickly fired over her own recipe for Balsamic Glaze. I was thrilled to say the least.  Michele is a Denver food blogger, a trained and talented chef, a cooking instructor and a sommelier. With credentials like that, I knew her recipe would be spot on. And with her side note of…

“This one’s easy, I promise! The more you let it reduce, the thicker it will be. And while it might not seem too thick when it’s hot, it thickens more when it cools. I keep mine in a squeeze bottle in the fridge to have on hand – good on chicken, fish, pork, beef, parmesan cheese, strawberries, ice cream, cheese and more!”

I couldn’t get to the kitchen fast enough to give it a try. While the sauce was simmering, I skewered some chunks of chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled them and simply arranged them alongside a mixture of baby greens. I drizzled on Michele’s wonderfully aromatic and thick dark glaze over the greens and the chicken and had a simple but incredibly rich flavored meal. 

I can’t thank you enough Michele. I now have my own little squeeze bottle of this black gold in my refrigerator, of which I feel incredibly smug. 

For the recipe, head on over to her site for her Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze recipe.

Balsamic Glaze…It’s What’s for Making Dinner Special.

One Year Ago: Chicken Marengo

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Jalapeno Steak Sauce Burger with Grilled Vegetables

April 27, 2011 at 8:38 am | Posted in Beef, Vegetables | 40 Comments
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What are your favorite flavor additions to spruce up plain old grilled burgers?  We’ve been experimenting and with warmer weather, our grill  has officially come out of hibernation.

As you know, with a Christmas gift of a grilling class at a local cooking school, we now have another cook in the house.  Bob has been experimenting with different grilled hamburger recipes and when talking with friend Shera she quickly shared her husband’s  favorite recipe.  Sounded so delicious and we had to give it a try. Let’s take a look:

Continue Reading Jalapeno Steak Sauce Burger with Grilled Vegetables…

Crab Cakes Benedict With Spicy Hollandaise Sauce

April 24, 2011 at 10:58 am | Posted in Breakfast, eggs | 39 Comments
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There are so many things to talk about with this post.  A new method (for me) to make Hollandaise Sauce in a blender, a great new flavor for the Hollandaise Sauce, and a double-yolked egg when I went to make the Hollandaise Sauce. 

I guess there’s really only one thing to talk about…The Hollandaise Sauce.

When making the sauce, I cracked open an egg and found a two yolks?  Timeliness is critical when making Hollandaise, so no photo of the twins. Have you ever seen a two-yolked egg?

This recipe comes courtesy of my favorite local specialty store Tony’s Market.  I subscribe to Tony’s Culinary Club, receive emails for mid-week specials, weekend specials and recipes courtesy Chef Mick.  Throw in all the wonderful products available in their stores and it’s a culinary extravaganza.  This recipe came through on an email and I couldn’t wait to give it a try.  Let’s take a look.

The crab cakes were a cinch to make.  I simply purchased them premade at Tony’s takeout dinner section and sautéed them until golden brown.

Photo from bonappetit.com

The new edition of Bon Appetit magazine featured a  five-minute method for making Hollandaise Sauce in a blender. I really thought this sounded like a simplified solution to the otherwise  finicky stove top production. Worked like a charm.

  • 1 1/2 C. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed  (I couldn’t bring myself to use this much butter, I reduced to 1 1/2 sticks and then added two tablespoons of very hot water to make up for the loss of butter)
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper

From here I incorporated seasonings  for Chef Mick’s spicy version.  Not exactly what the recipe called for, but I used what I had on hand.

  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • A pinch of Aleppo Pepper
  • A pinch of Ancho chile powder or Chipotle chile powder for some smokiness

Fill a blender with very hot water, set aside.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Remove pan from heat. Drain blender and dry well. Put egg yolks and 2 T. lemon juice in blender; cover and blend to combine . Working quickly and with blender running, remove lid insert and slowly pour hot butter into blender in a thin stream of droplets, discarding the milk solids in the bottom of the saucepan. Blend until creamy sauce forms. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more lemon juice, if needed.  Serve immediately.

To build the Benedict: toasted English muffins, sautéed crab cakes, a poached egg and all drizzled with spicy Hollandaise sauce. 

The Verdict:  DEElicious.  What a wonderful combination of flavors.  The blender Hollandaise turned out to be perfectly luscious and creamy in texture and really did look just like Bon Appetit’s photo.  Making the Hollandaise sauce a bit spicy was such a nice compliment to the crab cakes and with the creamy yolk from the poached egg…MUUUUWAAAA.  An exquisite combination of flavors.

Crab Cakes Benedict With Spicy Hollandaise Sauce…It’s What’s For Sunday Brunch.

One Year Ago: Crispy Tilapia Tacos

No Recipe Required: Chili Dogs

April 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Posted in Beef, No recipe required | 29 Comments
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Chili Dogs

  • Open and heat a can of Cattle Drive Chili (Costco)
  • Heat up hot dogs
  • Microwave hot dog buns 15 seconds
  • Top with grated cheddar cheese and chopped onion
  • Side with bbq potato chips

It’s What’s For Dinner.

April Wine Time

April 19, 2011 at 6:43 am | Posted in Appetizers, Wine Time | 37 Comments
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2004 Vieux Telegraphe

 

Last Fall, Bob came up with a great idea to get our wine-loving friends together once a month, at our house, to taste test a notable bottle of wine.

When this bunch gets together, and due to a series of incidents at a certain bed and breakfast back-yard gazebo in Oregon, laying down rules is a rule.

Simple. Bob picks out the wine, I provide an appetizer, Tom and Kathy and Dan and Teri trade off turns bringing another bottle of wine and an additional appetizer.

I don’t know why I don’t blog about it more. Maybe we’re just having too much fun to take photos?

I’d like to put a stop to that, so sit back and enjoy April’s event.

The Wine:

For this month’s featured selection we broke out a 2004 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape; It was a big rollicking wine featuring a lot of fruit, minerality and mouth-watering acidity. We all enjoyed this Southern Rhone perennial blockbuster immensely, only wishing we could break the rules and have about two more bottles.

The Food:

Kathy and Tom had just been to Omaha to visit friends and apparently returned home with their luggage packed to the gills with gourmet foodie items. Really From Omaha?? Nebraska???

Take a look at this great little slate board with the cheese types written below each one. This was definitely an impressive lineup!

From back to front:

Hard to pick a favorite, but mine was the Morbier.  You can click on the links to learn more about any of these cheeses.

A great assortment of cheese wouldn’t be complete without a classic array of crackers.

Kathy sliced up a soft baguette, topped it with Cambazola Blue Cheese and drizzled with some balsamic glaze. I couldn’t keep out of these things. Really nice flavors. The glaze was purchased in Omaha? Really?? Nebraska???  I hope I can find some in Denver, that’s a long drive.

My contribution was a recipe compliments of Stephanie over at Plain Chicken. Meatball Sliders. Frozen Italian-style meatballs, simmered in jarred marinara sauce and wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent Rolls with a slice of mozarella. Thanks Stephanie! These were incredibly good, easy to put together and a crowd pleaser. Click on the link for the recipe.

And of course, our Wine Time event wouldn’t be complete without Cheetos, a tradition Dan started at the very first event. Why do those darn things seem to pair so well with every single wine we’ve had??? 

The People:

Note to self: Remember to take photos of people too.

April Wine Time…Appetizers were for Dinner .

One Year Ago: Southwestern Chicken Fried Steak With Green Chili and Egg

Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad

April 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Chicken, Salads | 34 Comments
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During the week I try to plan lots of light-meal salads for dinner. They’re salads that contain lean meats, lots of greens and vegetables tossed into a single dish meal with a lively vinaigrette. Not only are they delicious and healthy, they also make way for weekends filled with cheeseburgers, Italian sausage laden pasta dishes, bacon and egg breakfasts and dare I mention…ice cream topped cinnamon bun bread.

This Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad is one of my favorites. It comes together in about 30 minutes and can practically be made one-handed without having to put down your after work/before dinner glass of wine.  The combination of flavors here are striking thanks to the warm dressing, Kalamata olives and rosemary dusted chicken tenders.  And with the techniques of tossing the chicken and onion in olive oil before cooking and finishing by steaming the whole dish covered with a plate, you end up with a nice texture and wonderful warm flavors. Let’s take a look:

Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloin
  • 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, cut into thin wedges (this might be the only time you’d have to set down your wine)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup cranberry or pomegranate juice
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 2 6-oz. pkg. baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup sliced pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted

Heat indoor electric grill or grill pan over medium heat.

In a bowl combine chicken and onions. Toss with two tablespoons of the olive oil, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and salt.

Grill chicken and onions on grill rack or in grill pan for ten minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink, internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, and onions are tender, turning once. 

Meanwhile, for dressing, in a saucepan combine juice; vinegar; and remaining olive oil, pepper and salt. Bring  juice mixture just to boiling; remove from heat. Place spinach, olives, pine nuts, chicken, and onions in an extra-large salad bowl; toss to combine. Pour warm dressing over salad mixture. Toss lightly. Cover salad with a large plate for one to two minutes or just until spinach is wilted. Remove plate. Serve immediately. Makes six servings.

Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad…It’s What’s for Dinner.

One Year Ago: Ranch Grilled Chicken Tacos

Sunday Brunch Menu

April 11, 2011 at 11:07 am | Posted in Bread, Breakfast, pork, Potatoes | 48 Comments
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After a full meal with many delicious offerings Bob and I enjoy a ritual of asking “what was the best thing on the plate?” 99% of the time we’ll agree that the potatoes, no matter how they were prepared, win the contest.  

Stephanie with lil' Chili

 

This Sunday Brunch post mortem ended up with quite a different scenario. 

Our God Daughter Stephanie came over presenting a perfect opportunity to try out new recipes on my favorite little guinea pig. Stephanie lives in Ft. Collins, about an hour North of Denver.

She attends Colorado State University, majoring in Communications with a minor in Political Science. She graduates in December and we couldn’t be prouder.

Let’s take a look at what I cooked up for brunch and find out what won the “best on the plate” contest.

Take a close look at the bacon. See that shiny glaze? A mixture of brown sugar, cayenne and black pepper turns an over-the-top delicious slice of bacon into a dog fight for second helpings.

Simple to make, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out one pound of thick-sliced bacon, single layer on a sheet pan. In a small bowl, mix together 1 packed T. brown sugar, 1/4 t. cayenne pepper, 1/2 t. black pepper. In our case the 1/4 t. of cayenne turned into 1/4 heaping teaspoon. Bake the bacon until it looks like it’s about 3/4 done. Remove from oven, drain grease, turn and sprinkle each piece with the sugar mixture. Return to oven and watch carefully until it looks done.

Everyone loved this, however, not the “best on the plate” winner.

Next up, the quiche. Going forward, the combination of ingredients for the base of this recipe will be my go-to for quiche. I believe the texture and the creaminess offers a great canvas for about any variety of vegetables and seasonings. The name of the recipe is Three Cheese Baked Eggs With Roasted Red Pepper and Scallions. I can picture Three Cheese with asparagus and scallions or jalapeno with adobo sauce or mushroom and chives….aren’t there always so many possibilities for quiche?

Next time I make it I am going to substitute the grated cheddar with gruyere cheese and see how it turns out. You’ll find the recipe below.  Delicious, but not the winner.

The potatoes on the plate really couldn’t be in the contest since I simply opened up a bag of Oreida Hash Browns, salt and peppered and browned in olive oil until golden.  Always a simple, easy and delicious side for any brunch.

Not being dessert people, for the first time in the history of “what was best on the plate”,  sweet beat out savory. This is a combination of ideas and recipes offered up by two of my favorite bloggers.  Kirstin, over at My Kitchen In the Rockies posted this quick cinnamon bun recipe at about the same time Larry over at Big Dudes Ramblings was frying up pecan bread and wishing he had some Butter Pecan Ice cream to melt over the top. I haven’t been the same since I read that, and knew I was going to have some sort of warm ice cream topped breakfast type bread on Sunday.

I followed Kirsten’s recipe and added about 1/2 cups of pecans to the topping mix. I served it warm from the oven with a scoop of Butter Pecan ice cream drizzling itself down the sides. This is one of those flavors that once the spoons of warm pastry and cool ice cream hits the inside of your mouth, you’re momentarily paralyzed by its outstanding combination of textures and flavors.

Now if I can just wrangle Bev’s Pecan Bread recipe out of Larry before the ice cream is gone, I’d love to try his original combination. 

Spicy Bacon, Three Cheese Quiche, Hash Browns and Cinnamon Pecan Bread with Butter Pecan Ice Cream…It’s What’s for Brunch.

One Year Ago:  Tangy Pineapple Chicken

Three Cheese Baked Eggs with Roasted Pepper

  • 3 medium red bell peppers (I used jarred roasted red bell peppers)
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    9 large eggs
    3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
    1 1/2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 oz)
    1 cup whole-milk ricotta (8 oz)
    1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 oz)
    3 scallions, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

Roast peppers on racks of gas burners over high heat, turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 10 to 12 minutes. (Or broil peppers on a broiler pan about 5 inches from heat, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes.) Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, then let stand 20 minutes.

2. When cool enough to handle, peel peppers, discarding stems and seeds, and cut into 1/3-inch dice.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F.

4. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder into a small bowl.

5. Beat eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Add butter, flour mixture, and cheeses and mix well at low speed, then stir in peppers and scallions.

6. Pour into a buttered 10-inch (6-cup) glass pie plate and bake in middle of oven (or lower third of oven if baking with bacon) until top is golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Linda’s Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe

April 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Posted in Salads | 29 Comments
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With temperatures in the 80’s on Saturday and snow on Sunday,  it’s officially Springtime in the Rockies, which has inspired me to post this change of seasons, simple and fresh salad recipe. 

One of my favorites, it comes from my friend Linda.  This is the same Linda that brought us Linda’s Moist and Delicious Corn Bread recipe. I love the tangy dressing on this quick fix salad and it’s a staple all summer long, whether alongside a cheeseburger off the grill or a dish of pasta from the stove-top.  With an all-star line-up of ingredients of seasoned rice vinegar, Tabasco and sugar for the tangy tart vinaigrette combined with the fresh crunch of the crisp spinach, sweet plump strawberries and salty sunflower seeds, you’ve got one great combination of flavors. 

Let’s take a look.

Linda’s Spinach and Strawberry Salad:

2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs Tabasco sauce
2 Whole green onions — chopped
3 Tbs sunflower seeds
1 Pint strawberries — sliced
1 Bunch baby spinach — (12 oz)

1. Rinse spinach, add strawberries and sunflower seeds.  Add dressing.

Speaking of friends, look at this little gadget Cauleen gave me for Christmas. It makes whisking up a vinaigrette a breeze. Just add ingredients  and squeeze the handle which activates a stirrring spiral  inside the carafe and voila. It even comes with a little pouring spout for use at the table. Recipes for classic vinaigrettes are printed on the outside along with measurement lines for ingredients. L-O-V-E love this thing.

Linda’s Strawberry Spinach Salad…It’s What’s for Dinner.

One Year Ago: Shrimp and Grits

Abbie’s Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

April 1, 2011 at 9:17 am | Posted in Chicken, Pasta, Pasta Salad | 26 Comments
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Last Saturday was our monthly Front Range Food Blogger Meetup over at Barb’s house. Barb writes Vino Luci Style, lives in a central Denver location and generously opens her doors to host our group of local food bloggers. I so  look forward to our gatherings. Not only is it the ultimate potluck event, but we also get down to business and spend time with discussions to better our blogs. Last month we had photography demonstrations and last week we focused on SEO optimization. So far there’s been about a dozen of us attend, and I’m personally loving every minute of  it.

Barb suggested that we blog about and post recipes for the dishes we bring so she can link to them on our Meetup page. I’m all for that since I spend half the social hour begging for recipes. Here’s my latest contribution to our meeting.

My Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad. Although I’ve had this recipe for about 30 years, it’s not one I make often because I simply can’t be trusted around it. I’ll stand over the kitchen island and eat half the bowl in minutes. So while the “servings” portion of the recipe indicates eight, if I’m around it’s actually six for me and two for you…two if you’re lucky. 

Abbie, Macaroni Salad Afficianado

Well it seems I have a macaroni salad soul mate named Abbie. Here’s how the whole thing came down (so to speak). The meeting was winding down. We had all but packed up our leftovers. We had divvied up and Saran wrapped portions of cookies, pastries and assorted goodies to take home and were in the living room finishing conversations when we heard a big crash.

Kirsten over at My Kitchen in the Rockies promptly went to investigate and found Abbie, Barb’s adorable Cocker Spaniel (who although she doesn’t write a food blog is most certainly an important member of our group) with her head buried in my bowl of macaroni salad which she had wrestled to the floor, stripped off the foil covering and was taking those big gasping doggie bites…you know the ones…where they can hardly breath because they’re trying to inhale as much as possible before being caught.

To protect the innocent Kirsten quickly picked up the evidence but once the story leaked, we all had a good laugh.  Of course, Barb was unnecessarily horrified, and commented on my blog:  “Abbie and I are both sorry she showed little manners. I guess I need a sign, “As cute as she may look, she is a dog who takes advantage of any situation where food is involved”

Abbie, you’re a girl after my own heart!

How do I feel about the whole thing? High five paw Abbie.  A compliment that you loved my macaroni salad, but sorry Sistah…I can’t be trusted around the stuff either…but I bet I could have had that bowl emptied before Kirsten got there.  🙂  I mean c’mon there was still half of it left. 

My Abbie’s Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad:

4 cups large shell macaroni — cooked
10 oz chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces. (I’ve used rotisserie, canned and breasts cooked and cubed – it all works)
8 oz frozen peas
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbs sugar
Salt
Pepper
Dillweed

Servings: 8

As with my potato salad, I like to have all the ingredients in a large bowl and then add my hot drained starch on top, letting everything sit for a couple of minutes to steam the vegetables and seasonings before I mix together. After stirring, adjust flavors to suit your palate.  I usually start with 1 Tsp dried dill and also tweak salt, sugar and vinegar to get it just right for me. As always this is better if it sits overnight in the fridge.

Abbie’s Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe…It’s What’s for Dinner.

One Year Ago:  Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches

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