Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Sunday, February 19, 2012

pork quesadillas

another recipe i tried recently was called south meets west quesadillas.  possibly because it used shredded barbecued pork for the protein within the quesadillas.  i changed the recipe a bit, and simple browned the small pork strips from two boneless pork chops with a chopped white onion.

i prepared my quesadillas as i have in the past, using the pork instead of chicken.  these quesadillas were delicious served with the suggested sauce. i always top my quesadillas with chopped tomatoes, black olives, shredded lettuce and chopped green onions.

mix 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce with 1/2 cup of light sour cream for a dipping sauce.  enjoy !

hoisin chicken stir fry

this chicken stir fry recipe come from an older issue of fine cooking.  it uses store bought hoisin sauce which makes the recipe quick and easy.

substitutes for the vegetables include:  mushroom, carrots, or broccoli.  when served on a small amount of rice, the recipe duplicates an entree from any Asian restaurant.

use 2 tablespoons of canola oil and add 1 chopped white onion, cooking for 2-3 minutes.

add one small chopped red bell pepper, which has been seeded, cored and chopped.  saute for 4-6 minutes more.  then add one boneless chicken breast which has been cubed.  sprinkle the chicken with salt and a few red pepper flakes to taste.  stir in prepared fresh snow peas, which have been trimmed. 

reduce the heat and stir in 1/2 cup hoisin sauce to glaze the finished dish.  heat about 1 more minute and serve on rice.  to finish the dish, sprinkle with chopped cashews or peanuts to taste for crunch.

this recipe, with one chicken breast, will serve two people.  the amounts can be increased to serve for guests.

coq au vin

barefoot contessa offers so many great recipes in her back to the basics cookbook.  i decided to try coq au vin for our valentine's day dinner this year.  we stayed home and had a delicious meal prepared in a small amount of time.

this classic french stew made with red wine is a very satisfying winter dinner.  most recipes call for an all day process, but ina suggested a great recipe that was not only delicious, but very romantic. i made a couple of changes to the recipe, but basically followed her directions.

here is my version, which was super.

preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large dutch oven and add 4 slices of bacon.  brown the bacon and remove from the pot.  remove excess bacon fat. sprinkle 6 small chicken thighs with salt and pepper.  add chicken to the pot and brown about 5 minutes on each side.  remove the chicken from the pot and place alongside bacon.

add 1 white chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup chopped carrots, 1 teaspoon thyme and about 2 teaspoons minced garlic.  cook to soften about 5 minutes.  add 1 tablespoon tomato paste and cook another minute.  stir in 12 ounces of Cabernet sauvignon and bring mixture to a boil.

cook about 10 minutes or until the mixture reduces, stirring from time to time.  return chicken to the pot and add 2 cups of fat free, lower sodium chicken broth and bring again to a simmer.

cover the pot and place in the oven for about 40 to 45 minutes.  remove from the oven and add 2 tablespoons of margarine, with about 4 ounces of frozen pearl onions.  stir and add 8 ounces of button mushrooms which have been sauteed in a small amount of margarine, while the chicken was baking in the oven. add crumbled prepared bacon.

bring to a simmer for about 10 more minutes.  serve in large bowls as is, or with a small amount of egg noodles.  served with fresh cooked asparagus and crusty bread, this was a meal to remember.

tropical fruit platter

as i have noted several times on my blog, i enjoy serving fruit with meals.  last week, i found an idea of a cute fruit platter that i had to replicate.

here is a tropical tree made with bananas, kiwi and smaller mandarin oranges. the photo i saw had several trees on the platter.  for one dinner this past week i constructed this tree for the meal, and we enjoyed the presentation.

black and white heart cookies

one of my favorite desserts has always been a simple cookie.  over the years i have made many different sugar or shortbread cookies, and mostly prefer any of Martha's or Ina's recipes.  it is important to choose a sturdy cookie recipe so that the chocolate does not weaken the cookie texture.

this year, i used Martha's sugar cookie cutout recipe from her cookies book, and then applied the melted chocolate after the cookies had cooled.

sweets for my sweetie....and another happy valentine's day.

cherry nut clusters

well, valentine's week is over now and i am still feeling the love. 
here is a great recipe that can be adapted to a variety of occasions depending on the choices made for the clusters.  for valentines day, i chose dried cherries and nuts.

melt approximately 12 ounces of ghirardelli chococlate in a double boiler.  stir in your choice of nuts and dried fruit.  i used about 1 cup of peanuts and 1 cup of chopped pecans with 1/2 cup of dried cherries.

scoop out the clusters with a cookie scoop and allow to harden on waxed paper.  remove and place in decorative paper cups.  store in a covered container in a cool dry place.