Okay, I didn’t quite fly over the sea, but I did fly a plane today. I had a lot of help from my instructor, but he let me take off and land the plane on my own. He even commented that most people don’t turn as quickly or as sharply as I did on their first flight. I think I’m a natural. He probably thought I was crazy.
Either way, I’m hooked. I will get my pilot’s certificate. And then maybe my glider pilot license. I can see myself soaring through the air without the noise of an engine – just peaceful, serene, and practically weightless flight.
Heroes Reborn is premiering on television right now. I am so excited for this show! I watched the original and was practically heartbroken when it went off the air (mid-season too)! Seems good so far. I guess we’ll see.
Save the cheerleader. Save the world.
Anywho, my grandparents are settled in their new home and my mom and I have been sorting through their things. We’ve found some pretty interesting stuff already. It’s amazing what Polacks in their 90’s have held onto over the years. For example, I found an opened Pillsbury crust mix box that read, “New! 6¢.”
Made me smile.
Lots of updates in one post. I’ll write again soon. For now, I leave you with this easy, one-pan meal. Chicken, tomatoes, broccoli and lemon. Shove it all into a cake pan, bake for 20-25 minutes, and inhale. Chewing is optional.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 5 oz.
4 oz. cherry or whole tomatoes, halved or cut into small pieces
8 oz. broccoli tops, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lemon, cut into 8 thin slices
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking dish with 2 tsp. of the olive oil.
Pound the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap until each piece of chicken is the same thickness, about 1/2-inch thick. Place the chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish. Arrange the tomatoes, and broccoli around the chicken. Drizzle everything with the vinegar and 2 1/2 tsp. of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Top each chicken breast with 2 lemon slices. Drizzle the remaining 2 tsp. olive oil over everything.
Bake until the chicken is opaque throughout, 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 4.
Unemployed life is surprisingly busy. I feel like I have less time now than I had while I was employed. Dealing with insurance issues, the unemployment department, running errands, applying for jobs, fixing my car, interviewing, faxing, mailing, printing, copying… I am exhausted. Maybe this would be a good time to take a vacation. Any cheap deals out there? Ha!
One thing that unemployed life has given me is a chance to really dig into recipes that I haven’t touched in awhile. I hardly bake but I was craving blueberry muffins, so I made them. As you may have noticed, I have a soft spot for lemon and blueberry. I realized that all of these years I had been baking blueberry muffins without any hint of lemon in them. It was time for a change.
I love the freshness the lemon adds to these. The muffins themselves are airy and moist too. This is my favorite base muffin recipe to use. The key is to not over mix the batter. Little chunks of flour are okay. That’s how you get all of those fluffy bubbles in your baked muffin. If your muffins end up too dense, it’s because you over mixed the batter.
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about the amount from 1 large lemon)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
For Topping (optional)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, mixed with
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat oven to 375°. Grease 18 regular-size muffin cups (or 12 large size muffins).
In bowl, mix butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt.
With spoon, fold in half of flour then half of milk into batter; repeat. Do not overmix. Fold in blueberries and lemon peel. Spoon into muffin cups (filling about 3/4 full) and sprinkle topping onto each muffin.
Bake 16 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and springy to touch.
Pandowdies, cobblers, slumps, and grunts are all variations on biscuit dough cooked with fruit. These down-home desserts from early New England are enjoying a welcome revival.
I picked up these apples at the Longmont Farmer’s Market (10 for $1!) and promised the farmer that I would give them a good home. I remembered seeing a recipe for Pandowdy in a book that my good friend Jane gave me as a gift, Elizabeth Alston’s Biscuits and Scones. The rosemary in this recipe caught my eye and I was immediately intrigued. I had to try this baked apple-rosemary goodness.
This pandowdy recipe is super quick and hardly takes any work to make the biscuits. You toss the dough around a bit and it’s ready to bake. Simple.
The thing that takes the longest is peeling and slicing the apples. An extra set of hands or an apple peeler is always handy, but I flew solo and old school on this project. Who needs an apple peeler when you have two hands anyway? Look at that peel-action! One single peel, baby. Booyah! Maybe I should try out for America’s Got Talent…
It’s best to enjoy this warm with a huge scoop of ice cream. Doctor’s orders.
1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup light cream or milk
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a heavy baking dish (about 8-inches square or round).
To make filling, crumble rosemary as fine as possibly into a bowl. Add sugar and lemon juice and stir. Add apple slices, toss to coat. Spread evenly in the baking dish.
To make biscuit topping, put flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and rosemary into a medium-size bowl, crumbling the rosemary as fine as possible. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers until the mixture looks like fine granules.
Add cream. Stir with a fork until a soft dough forms. turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and give 10 to 12 kneads. Turn dough over and roll or pat to fit just inside the baking dish. Place on top of the fruit. Cut 4 slits in the dough so steam can escape.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden. With a knife, lift edge of crust and make sure it is cooked underneath. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
If you’re like me, sometimes you find yourself staring into your pantry or fridge and see something that inspires the heck out of your next meal. Today’s entrée was inspired by a can of artichoke hearts leftover from Mister’s Vegan Baked Ziti dish. I originally saw this recipe on Kate’s Framed Cooks blog and mentally bookmarked it.
The artichokes in this recipe soak up the lemon juice like little flavor-packed sponges. Who knew artichokes could hold so much bright citrus? They really freshen up otherwise dull chicken breasts. The hint of fresh thyme is a nice touch too – mostly because it gave me an excuse to go to the local greenhouse and buy myself a thyme plant. Double win.
Every since I joined Pinterest, I’ve seen beautiful pictures of lemon bars, blueberry muffins, and other various fruit crumbly bakes that make my mouth water. Because July is Blueberry month, I decided it was time that I tried baking one of these delicious looking creations myself.
These were originally supposed to be lemon bars, but turned into more of a cake when I realized I didn’t have an 8 by 8-inch square cake pan. The baking gods were looking out for me. This cake turned out super moist, light and packed with fruity summer flavors. If you love lemon bars, you will love this cake too.
1+ Tablespoon of lemon juice (the juice of about 1 small lemon)
2 teaspoons lemon zest (the zest of about 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat egg and egg yolks on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in sugar, butter, sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla, mix until well blended. Add in dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in blueberries. Pour mixture into a butter 8x8 baking dish or 9-inch cake pan and spread into an even layer. Bake 30-34 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Allow the cake to cool, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.
To get restaurant quality Hollandaise sauce is a little tricky. The emulsion of egg yolks and butter that has dated as early as the 17th century is not something that comes easy to the novice chef. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll crank out the perfect Hollandaise sauce in your own home.
The most important part of this recipe is to keep the eggs moving constantly over a low, gentle heat (not piping hot but not room temperature either) then add the butter slowly to create a stable emulsion. If you do this, your sauce should turn out creamy and rich every time.
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fill a medium sauce pan with 1-inch of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low.
Place egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until they lighten in color, about 1 minute.
Add the lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Place bowl with eggs over saucepan with simmering water and whisk constantly until thickened and doubled in volume, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove bowl from saucepan with water and whisk in butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and use immediately or keep warm, covered, over double boiler over very low heat for up to 30 minutes.
Save your arms and make this in a Blender --
Put the egg yolk, lemon juice, and cayenne in a blender. Pulse a couple times to combine.
Put the butter in a small microwave safe bowl and melt in a microwave until just melted. With the blender running, gradually add the melted butter into the egg to make a smooth frothy sauce. If the sauce is very thick, blend in a teaspoon of lukewarm water loosen it up. Season with the salt and serve immediately or keep warm in a small heat-proof bowl set over hot (but not simmering) water until ready to serve.
My ever growing list of things that I dislike about HOA’s
They don’t like the fact that I had my bike stored on my patio (where else am I going to store my bike, in my bathroom?)
They don’t like grills, especially my beautiful 3-burner grill, on patios either. Something about a fire hazard? Yadda, yadda, yadda…
Okay, so there are only those two things. But the grill was a big deal. Summer means grilling season for this lady and it was hard to give it up. I ended up selling my precious to a family man who loved to cook and needed more grill space. At least she went to a good home.
2 pints cherry tomatoes (or any tomatoes you have handy, cut into large chunks)
Any other veggies you have on hand (I used zucchini and squash too)
wooden skewers, soaked
For the sauce:
1/2 cup good chicken stock
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cut the lamb into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, red wine, vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large ziplock bag. Add lamb cubes and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days. Toss occasionally.
Oil your grate and preheat your grill to medium high. Cut the red onions in quarters and separate each quarter into 3 or 4 sections. Loosely thread 3 or 4 pieces of lamb alternately with sections of onion on skewers. Sprinkle both sides of the lamb with salt and pepper. Thread your tomatoes (and any other vegetable you have) onto skewers. Rub your vegetables with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place your lamb skewers on your preheated grill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times, until the lamb is medium rare. Approximately 5 minutes before the lamb is done, place the other vegetables on the grill, turning once, until seared on the outside but still firm on the inside.
For the sauce, bring the chicken stock, olive oil and lemon juice to a boil in a small pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until reduced by half. Add the rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Serve the sauce on the side.
This chicken is to die for! If you treat this with extra tender loving care, this plump little creature will satisfy you unlike any other has satisfied you before. Erotic? I think so.
If you’ve never brined anything before… shame on you! Once you brine, you never go back. Unless of course you marinate the hell out of something. But that’s a different story. Brining usually consists of a ton of salt, water, and a ton of fresh herbs. Your thirsty bird soaks the heck out of this amazing combination and BAM! You have a juicier, more flavorful chicken.
I can’t express how important trussing your bird is to the entire process. Do this. Here is a great tutorial by the wonderful Alton Brown on how and why you should truss. Note that I trussed my chicken but I’m still not the best at it and wrapped the string in the wrong place… eh, it gets the job done.
I usually roast my bird on a bed of potatoes and veggies in a cast iron skillet. This way my chicken is elevated away from the bottom of my pan and my veggies simmer in the chicken fat and end up being really flavorful after everything is said and done with. I put the potatoes and top it with chicken first, roast for a half an hour, then add the carrots. I have this weird issue with soggy vegetables… but that’s just me.
I got this recipe from Mister Michael Ruhlman. With a name like that, you know it’s going to be good. This guy knows his stuff!
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, bring to a simmer, remove the pan from heat and cover to let the ingredients steep. Add the ice to cool down the brine (if you're not in a hurry, you can measure out 40 ounces of water instead of 30 and omit the ice).
To brine your chicken, put it in a large plastic bag, pour in the brine. Press as much air out of the bag as possible and twist and tie off your bag so that no air is touching your bird. Put the bag in a large bowl and refrigerate it for 8 to 24 hours, turning the bird a couple of times to ensure all surfaces are receiving the brine.
Remove the chicken from the brine at least an hour and up to two days before cooking it (discard the brine). Rinse the bird, pat it dry, and stuff the bird with a few lemon wedges. Gently wedge your fingers between the skin and the meat of the breast and stuff with a few tabs of butter and extra fresh herbs if you desire. These will melt while the bird is roasting and sink deep into your white meat breast. Truss and roast the chicken at 400 degrees F for about an hour (for a 3-4 pound chicken), legs toward the back of the oven. Time will vary depending on the size of your bird. If your skin is getting too dark too quickly, lower heat to 375 degrees F. Your cooking time will be longer, but your skin will still be a beautiful golden brown.
Your bird is cooked when the drumstick of the bird has loosened enough that it wiggles easily when you touch it. You should also stab the thigh of the bird with a small knife to see if the juices run clear. If you have a meat thermometer, insert it into the inner thigh area between the thigh and the drumstick being careful not to touch bone. The internal temperature should be at 165 degrees F.
Allow the chicken to rest for 20 minutes, cut into pieces and serve.