Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Slight Move


All the same recipes, stories and rants (and then some) can now be found at 
no 'dot blogspot' anymore.

I would like to have sent a message to every follower, but couldn't figure out how...

Please sign up to follow Finding Tasty dot com!! I'll  miss you, if you don't : )

~ Jenny B

Monday, April 25, 2011

Artichoke, Pancetta and Lemon Pasta

I may sound like a broken record, but this recipe is not only delicious, it's healthy, too. It was a family pleaser last night (EXCEPT FOR MY FINICKY 13 YEAR OLD: I WON'T NAME ANY NAMES BUT YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE). The pasta is elegant enough to serve to adult friends, too.
Start the sauce when you put the pasta water on to boil-- it goes that quickly.

4 ounces pancetta, thin slices
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 fat cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Hefty glug of dry white wine
2 healthy squeezes of lemon (1/4 juicy lemon or 1/2 of a not-so-juicy one)
Zest of one lemon
1 can whole artichoke hearts, drained and sliced into quarters
1 and 1/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for passing
1 pound slowly dried pasta

1) Place a large, covered pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Set a non-stick skillet over medium heat and allow it to get hot, then cook the pancetta, as you would bacon, turning halfway through, until crisp (this takes mere minutes). Set aside on paper towels.

2) Pour off all of the rendered fat from the pan then add in butter or olive oil, add in the shallot and garlic. Turn the heat up to medium high and sauté until soft. *If the pasta water has come to a boil, put the dried pasta in now* Deglaze the pan with a glug of wine and lemon juice, simmer strongly for a minute or two, then add in the artichoke hearts and lemon zest. Bubble for a minute or two more, and add in the chicken stock and bring to a gentle bubble.

3) Drain the al dente pasta well, and chick into the pan with the sauce, or toss together in a large serving bowl. Crumble the crisp pancetta into the pasta, as well as the Parmesan. Toss.

Serves 6. Serve with liberal amounts of freshly crack black pepper and more Parmesan

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Persian Chicken

In keeping with the Middle Eastern Palooza going on in the world these days, I decided to cook with some flavors from that region.
This one's a keeper. The yogurt/olive oil marinade keeps the chicken juicy, the saffron, cumin and garlic give it lashings of flavor, and the lemon adds zing. 
Perfect for a barbecue.

1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 fat cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water for 10 minutes
1/2 teaspoon roasted coriander powder
1 whole chicken cut up, OR 6 bone-in breasts, OR 10 boneless, skinless breasts

1) Mix the yogurt marinade ingredients together, then slather over chicken and set in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but over night is better.

2) 30 minutes before you are ready to grill, remove the chicken from the fridge and lay the pieces on a large tray or platter. Salt all sides of the chicken, then grill, getting some nice char marks on the meat.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Roasted Baby Artichokes

Growing up, my parents tended not to keep junk or snack food in the house-- they simply didn't eat it and never bought it. I learned at a very young age that if I wanted something to snack on in between meals (which was frowned upon), I'd better have an open mind (and palate).

There were only ever two things always found in the family fridge-- Dijon mustard and marinated artichoke hearts. To this day, those are two items I reliably stock in my own fridge. As a little kid, I would munch away a jar of artichoke hearts while watching Gilligan's Island reruns. And when I got older, as a poor college student, one snack I could afford was Saltine crackers smeared with Maille's Dijon mustard.

While pots of Dijon mustard are readily available, baby artichokes are seasonal, and now's the season! Look for them, packaged in better grocery stores (gourmet or natural food shops). This method of preparation is simple, if not a bit time consuming, but worth every second!

9 baby artichokes (more or less, as you like)
Lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
more lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Dill weed
Parmesan cheese

1) Preheat the oven to 375F. Have a large bowl filled with water and lemon juice (this is called acidulated water), at the ready. Snap off the outer leaves of the artichoke, about 2 layers of leaves. Cut te top 1/2 inch off and trim the bottom, as well as the stem to remove the tough, fibrous outer bit (it should look like this one to the right here) Cut the chokes into quarters and place into the acidulated water, while you trin the rest of the chokes.

2) Dry the chokes off with a tea towel then toss them with evoo, lemon juice (2 parts evoo to 1 part lemon juice), salt and plenty of black pepper and then dill weed. Bake on a non-stick pan for 20 minutes, until soft, then sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top and bake a few minutes longer, until the cheese has softened and begun to melt.

Serve hot, warm or room temp. Serve 2 chokes per person for an appetizer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ghosts... again

  So, I've just returned from Florida's, Amelia Island. It was gorgeous, and historic, and it had great restaurants, yes-- but what I want to talk about is ghosts.

Last night I went on a ghost walk. I was the only one on the tour which was cool, because that meant that I could ask all the question I wanted. And I did ask a lot because I am a huge fan of ghosts. Maybe, 'fan' isn't the right word. I am intrigued by them, as long as they are not residing in my house, as they (she) did when we lived in England.

I won't bore you with the details of my private ghost tour, but I will tell you that it was supposed to last 1 hour 45 minutes and ended up lasting close to three hours. The woman, my 'guide' was unlike any other I have ever met (I'm like a ghost tour groupee)-- she was not the classic, 'sit yeself down while I spin ye a tale of haunts and hags' ghost story teller. She was an a-typical ghost tour guide, mostly because she was so normal. Except she wasn't

She was totally and completely in touch with ghosts and spirits. Not in a creepy way, it was all matter of fact, not at all dramatic-- but she had clearly been touched. She told stories about her own life that I totally believed. But I am known to be gullible. She related tales of spirits that roamed downtown Fernadina (the quaint old village on Amelia Island) without hesitation. But she could have just studied up on those.

No, the reason I say that she was 'touched' is because of this: My guide and I both took lots of pictures of inanimate objects, trees, houses, hotel porches, graveyards-- and all of mine came out looking as they should when taking a picture on a dark night in the rain-- smeared and black. But all of her pictures, as she was taking them on her digital camera, had orbs, orbs of varying colors, and foggy-looking shapes. She had big light spots appearing on her photos, as we looked at them in the view finder, that simply were not there-- in person or in the images that I was taking at the same time, standing right next to her.

After my marathon ghost tour, as I drove back to our hotel along the very empty streets of Amelia Island, I came up with two questions:

1) Why is it, when one sees a ghost, they have almost no expression at all. Certainly never laughing or even smiling. I've seen a ghost once and this was the case--she was most serious. Reading accounts of other people's sightings, this expression of apathy seems to be the norm. Why? Don't ghosts have a sense of humor? Is that the 21 grams that evaporates when one dies--the sense of humor?

2) Why is it, except in the movie, 'The Sixth Sense' ghost are seen only in 18th and 19th century clothes? Why don't we ever hear tales of a spirit haunting a bedroom of a B&B in platform shoes and white satin hot pants?

These two questions are what keep me from fully committing to a life of ghost hunting.

Any and all answers are most welcome.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crustless Quiche with Roast Tomatoes, Leeks and Gruyere

Crustless, so it is healthier. Roast vegetables, so that it is vegetarian. Gruyere so that it is goooooood.

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 small leeks, trimmed and sliced into rounds up to dark green part
5 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
sea salt
1 cup thinly sliced collard leaves, spinach, Swiss chard or kale
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 cup homemade breadcrumbs, or crushed garlic croutons
4 large eggs + 1 egg white
1 cup lite sour cream
1/2 cup milk (whatever you drink, skim, 2%, whole)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded Gruyere, or any sharp cheese you like

1) Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the halved tomatoes into a large bowl. Separate the leek rounds into individual pieces with your hands and add them in with the tomatoes, add in the garlic, too. Drizzle bout 1-2 tablespoons evoo over the mess and toss with your hands. Sprinkl with sea salt and place into the oven. Roast until the tomatoes are soft and edges of the leeks are beginning to caramelize, between 20-40 minutes depending on your oven. When they are done, remove from the oven to cool slightly, then place all of it into a strainer above a bowl-- catching the juices that run out (save 1 tablespoon of the tomato jus-- drink the rest as a delicious soup!) This will also dry out the vegetables a bit, which is good. Allow the veggies to sit in the strainer until completely cool. While that's going on, sauté the greens over high heat in a bit of evoo until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.

2) Turn down, or preheat the oven to 325F. Butter a 9", deep-dish pie pan with 1 softened butter, then pour the breadcrumbs in and roll the pie dish around in your hands until all the butter os coated with the crumbs.

4) Whisk the sour cream, eggs, egg white, milk, 1 tablespoon tomato jus and Dijon mustard together. Lay the greens on the bottom of the pan, then scatter 1/2 of the cheese and pour the egg/sour-cream/milk mixture over top. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and place the roast tomatoes and leeks on top (it will still be soft) and scatter the rest of the cheese over the tomatoes. Place back in the oven and continue to bake for 20 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Serve warm, room temp or chilled. Makes 8 slices.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fun Mexican Tortilla Soup

  The 'fun' lies in that I served this with tostadas rather than tortilla strips. Wahoo! I get my kicks in the most simplistic of ways. But my kids had fun dipping and crunching the tostada into the soup. They did not, however care for chopped avocado-- that was optional (but delicious to the adult palate).

8 cups chicken broth
1, 14 oz can chopped tomatoes, with juice
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 poblano chili pepper, charred or roasted to remove skin, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
a very small pinch cinnamon
Salt to taste
1, 15 oz can pinto beans
5 green onions, sliced thin
Handful of chopped cilantro

1 avocado, cubed with lime squeezed over top
Shredded sharp cheddar or Mexican cheese
8 tostadas

  1) Char or roast the pepper, stick into a Tupperware, cover tightly and allow to steam the skin from the pepper. Remove the skin and chop.

2) Pour the chicken broth and tomatoes into a large soup pot and slip the chicken breasts in. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.

3) Add the chopped pepper, cumin, oregano and cinnamon to the soup and simmer. Taste and season with salt. Chop the chicken into small dice. Just before serving, add the beans, green onions and cilantro, bring to a simmer and serve. Top with cheese and avocado and a tostada.

Serves 6