365 Project – 297: RECIPE: Easy filipino chicken adobo (October 24, 2012)

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Oh, I wish there was smell-a-vision so you could inhale this garlicky, vinegary, soy saucy perfume of happiness!! 🙂 Adobo is probably the most popular filipino dish in the States, and in my opinion, it’s one of the easiest to make. I wasn’t born in the Philippines but, fortunately I did learn how to cook some of my favorite filipino dishes. Here’s my version of adobo (there are TONS of adobo recipes out there). It’s a bit Americanized but, it’s still authentic enough and I have fans far and wide that love my adobo. I haven’t been great at sharing the recipe (I don’t measure…I tend to cook with my nose…seriously) but, I actually measured this morning so here goes!

Please be a recipe tester for me and let me know how it turns out for you!!!   I hope you come to love adobo as much as we do!


Serves: 4
Adobo is best if it’s served overnight or if you can make it in the morning to serve for dinner. It just gets better day after day.

9-10 chicken thighs (skin on, bone in)
1 head garlic, smashed and broken into whole cloves, skin on or off
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 – 3/4 cup soy sauce (per your preference of saltiness)
1/4 cup water
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Suggested accompaniments
Pepperoncinis (for garnish)
White or brown rice
Steamed or sauteed green veggie (broccoli, swiss chard, kale, mustard greens,  etc.)

In large pot add all ingredients, except chicken, and bring to a medium boil. Heat up your frying pan on high. (Add oil if necessary just to prevent chicken from sticking to your pan; non-stick pans require no oil.) When pan is hot add the chicken thighs, skin side down first, ~ 3 minutes to brown on each side. Transfer browned chicken to pot. Bring mixture to a hard boil, with tongs move chicken around in pot to make sure all pieces get coated (all the chicken will NOT be submerged by the liquid.) Cover pot, reduce to simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
OPTIONAL: Halfway through cooking time rotate the chicken pieces, top to bottom, to help disperse the flavor more evenly.

Serving suggestions:
* Chicken is ready to eat after an hour but, if you can let it sit longer, up to a day or two, it tastes better.
* Adobo is traditionally served with steamed rice and a simple vegetable on the side, like steamed broccoli or mustard greens.
* Greek pepperoncinis served as a garnish are a great spicy/sour/acidy compliment to adobo. I HAVE to eat adobo with pepperoncinis! 🙂
* In the summer, a refreshing side is a mix of diced tomatoes, diced white onion, and cilantro tossed with a little olive oil and salt.
* My adobo recipe is saucy compared to others, like my papa’s version, which is less saucy (it’s fattier with pork AND chicken and, super tasty too!), so you’ll end up with leftover sauce.  So, after you quickly gobble up the chicken, SAVE your adobo sauce!  Just serving it on rice later is so yummy AND, truth be told, I have re-used my adobo sauce by browning up more chicken, adding it to the sauce, and getting another meal out of it. Don’t dump all that umami flavor down the drain!  Although, I wouldn’t re-use the sauce more than once. You can freeze the sauce too.
* This recipe serves 4 but, I recommend making a huge batch because it makes for GREAT leftovers and freezes really well.

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And, here’s what the adobo looks like when it’s done. Mmmmm….

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365 Project – 291: The last slice… blackberry pie ala mode :) (October 18, 2012)

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Thoroughly enjoyed this last slice of homemade blackberry pie last night. Mmmmm…. 🙂

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365 Project – 284: Gluten-free blackberry blueberry crisp…YUM! (October 11, 2012)

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I don’t have time to post the recipe now but, I will tomorrow. I experimented with this recipe and it turned out sooo good! 🙂

p.s. Looking at this photo after posting it, I don’t like it much.  It looks burned, even though it’s not.  Will do a redo photo next time I make this crisp with the recipe later. 🙂
See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 257: RECIPE: Chicken Cacciatore from “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” (September 12, 2012)

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School’s started and the crockpot is one of my favorite and easiest ways to get a hot meal on the table at the end of the day. Not only do we end up with a homemade meal but, you walk in and the house smells heavenly and the cleanup is minimal.

I use a lot of recipes from “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. This, and other recipes from this cookbook, can be found by clicking on this link. Here’s my version of the recipe, adapted from this cookbook, which my family gobbled up last night. 🙂

Probably the main difference in my version is that I like to brown the chicken and saute the onions and garlic before putting them in the crockpot. I also didn’t have dry white wine on hand so I used an opened bottle of champagne instead, which worked fine. And, because it was easy and convenient, I used all chicken thighs instead of mixing it with drumsticks. The original recipe is a bit easier because everything goes into the crockpot, without any cooking on the stove, but, I like the texture and flavor of the chicken better with my added steps.

The original recipe suggests serving this over rice or noodles. I added potatoes so you can eat this as-is right out of the pot. To keep this gluten-free I omitted the flour and I served it up over polenta. I also made my own marinara sauce, which I consider pretty easy to do. I just recommend using San Marzano tomatoes, which you can buy in the can at any store. In my opinion, they just have a richer, sweeter tomato flavor. Lastly, I increased the portions a bit to make this a recipe for 6-8, instead of 4.  My family has big appetites. 🙂

I’m curious what you think of this recipe, compared to the original version.  Make it and come back to leave a comment with your take on this recipe.  Enjoy!

Serves 6

~ 4 cups homemade marinara sauce (see recipe below)
1 medium-size yellow onion, cut in half and sliced into half-moons
1 to 3 cloves garlic, to your taste, minced
1 medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 tbsp coconut or canola oil
8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
~ 1/4 cup dry white wine or champagne
3 cups fingerling or red potatoes, in 1/2 inch chunks
Shredded parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)

1. In a skillet or fry pan, heat coconut or canola oil on medium high heat, add your chicken and brown about 1 minute on each side
2. Layer half of the marinara sauce and all of the bell pepper, and browned chicken in the crockpot.
3. To the skillet, on medium high, add the onion and saute 1 minute to slightly soften,  add the garlic and saute another minute (turn down the heat if the garlic starts browning), then add the wine or champagne. Heat on high and scrape up all the browned chicken bits. Let reduce a couple minutes then pour into the crockpot.
4. Add the potatoes, sprinkle the mushrooms on top and cover with the remaining marinara sauce.
5. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 2 1/2 to 3 hours on HIGH or 6 to 7 hours on LOW.
6. Serve as-is or over rice, noodles or polenta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.

Additional Notes: I love mushrooms in this recipe but, my daughter doesn’t so I’ve made this without them and it tastes just fine. I’ve also followed the original recipe, by skipping steps 1. and 3. but, I prefer this version with the extra steps of browning the chicken and sauteing the onions and garlic. For sure, I have ADDED steps to this recipe but, I still think it’s pretty easy. It took me about 30 minutes to prep and get this all into the crockpot, including the time it took to make the marinara sauce below.

1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 – 2 tbsp agave syrup or sugar, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

In medium size skillet saute the onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until softened, ~ 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the salt and pepper. Heat until bubbly then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree with an immersion hand blender to break up whole tomatoes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If using this sauce in the above chicken cacciatore recipe, the sauce is ready to use since the flavors will continue to develop in the crockpot. Otherwise, cover and let simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for 2 months.

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Reblogging menu and recipes for a vegan BBQ

Some great vegan recipes here! 🙂

The Juicy Mamas

I was racking my brain for some vegan options for our family BBQ with juicy mama Bon Bon and was happy when I found a menu and vegan recipes that worked. So in case you are looking for something other than a vegan burger try grilling eggplant and tofu satay. Even my hubby, who is NOT a fan of tofu, was surprised how tasty there were. And, having a few colorful sides to choose from made the meal a fresh, tasty feast for your tummy AND eyes. For sure, try the corn salad with sweet summer corn right now. It’s like candy! And, the arugula and fennel salad just kind’ve elevate the flavors of the whole meal. Here was the full menu…enjoy!!

Appetizer: carrots and cukes with hummus
Lemon Miso Tofu and Eggplant Satay (ReBar Modern Food Cookbook)
Arugula Fennel Parmesan Salad (Oven Spoonful Catering – omit the parmesan to…

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365 Project – 25: On my kitchen shelf (January 25, 2012)

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For the most part I cook without measuring, and use my eyes, nose and taste buds to whip together a meal. When I need a recipe I occasionally search online, but, mostly I cherish my well-worn cookbooks, with their dog-eared, stained pages. If I HAVE to pick my favorites, I’d probably choose my ReBar Modern Food Cookbook, Moosewood Cookbook, andThe Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Today I’m actually going to use the chicken cacciatore recipe from my Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook. Then there are those recipes I try from Sunset Magazine, et al. Oh, it’s so hard to pick just a few of my favs! Not only do I use them for cooking but, I thoroughly enjoy leafing through cooking magazines and cookbooks just for the pure pleasure of it. My husband can’t imagine HOW I can enjoy “reading” a cookbook but, I also can’t relate to his love of Sports Illustrated. To each his/her own!! 🙂 LOL

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Easiest cookie tip ever: add roasted, salted pecans

Seriously, this baking tip is so easy that I’ve already pretty much summed it up in the title of this post.  The other day I was baking cookies with my daughter and I added nuts to half of the batch.  I found some roasted, salted pecans in the freezer, pressed a few pecans into each cookie, then popped a warm, salty, sweet morsel in my mouth 12 minutes later.  It was SOOOOO YUMMY!!  Just that tiny hit of salt elevated all the flavors.

Anyway, I’m sure someone already has recipes out there with salted nuts but, I stumbled upon this by accident. With the salty-sweet craze over the past years, I’m, like “Duh! Why didn’t I think about this earlier?!”  I may be the last one in the know about adding salted nuts, versus unsalted nuts, to your cookies, but, in case anyone else hadn’t thought about it yet, I thought I’d share.  It’s so easy.  Try it with any of your favorite cookie recipes and savor the sweet-salty goodness! 🙂

RECIPE: Kale and Potato Soup with Red Chilies (Greens cookbook)


1 bunch kale
3 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, diced into ½ inch squares
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 small dried red chili, seeded and chopped, or ½ tsp chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
4 medium red potatoes (about 1 pound), scrubbed and diced into ½ inch cubes
7 c water or stock
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional) *
2 cans white beans *
Non-fat sour cream (optional)

* MY VARIATIONS: To add extra flavor I added 2-3 teaspoons of Seitenbacher vegetarian broth powder. Add this powder to taste, like you would add salt. Also, to give the soup some “meat” I added the white beans after pureeing the soup with my hand blender. To let the flavors develop I recommend making the soup in the morning or the day before.

Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears cut the ruffled kale leaves off their stems, which are very tough and take a long time to cook. Cut the leaves into pieces roughly 2 inches square, wash them well, and set them aside.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, add the onion, garlic, chili, bay leaf, and salt, and cook over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the potatoes and the yeast, if using, plus a cup of the water or stock. Stir together, cover, and cook slowly for 5 minutes.

Add the kale, cover, and steam until it is wilted, stirring occasionally. Pour in the rest of the water or stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer slowly, covered, until the potatoes are quite soft, 30 to 40 minutes.

Use the back of a wooden spoon to break up the potatoes by pressing them against the sides of the pot, or puree a cup or two of the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. This will make a unifying background for the other elements.

Taste the soup for salt and add a generous grinding of black pepper. If possible, let the soup sit for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to further develop. If desired add a spoonful of non-fat sour cream.

Serves 4 – 6.

FYI – this soup was served as part of a vegetarian dinner with Lindsay Wagner…yup the Bionic Woman! Click here to see the entire menu.

RECIPE: Super fast and simple blackberry strudel

Those of you that pick blackberries know it can be a lot of hard work to pick 4 cups worth for an entire pie. My daughter and I quickly picked some berries in our backyard and only yielded ~ 2 cups. So, I decided to make a strudel using a puff pastry sheet I had in my freezer. This was an experiment that went right so I wanted to share.

1 puff pastry sheet (thawed)
1 egg and 1 tsp water (for the egg wash)
Confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

2 cups fresh blackberries
2 Tbsps tapioca
1/2 cup of sugar (I prefer my filling on the tart side so some of you may prefer to add 3/4 c. sugar)

Preheat your oven to 375. Toss the filling ingredients together. Let sit 15 minutes.
Flour your pastry surface. Roll out one thawed puff pastry sheet to roughly 9″x 13″. Transfer your dough to a lightly greased baking sheet or lined with parchment paper or silpat. Put the filling near the end of your pastry sheet closest to you. Place the filling 1″ from the edge. Complete rolling the sheet gently with the seam down and the ends tucked under. Brush some egg wash on top. With a knife cut a few slits on top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and lemon zest. Serve hot as-is or with whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy!

p.s. This probably technically is not a strudel because the filling doesn’t have nuts, dried fruit, etc. but, in our house this is how we roll it out! 😉

Check out the great video below, showing how to make a strudel with a puff pastry sheet. It’s for a peach strudel but, the technique is the same.


It’s a wrap! Salami, havarti, arugula, and tomato wrap

I am overdue for posting a blog entry so I thought I would post a photo of today’s lunch.

On a Flatout flatbread (pictured here) or tortilla: 1 slice havarti cheese, 3 slices grilled genoa salami, a handful of greens (eg. arugula, kale, lettuce) tossed in a splash of white vinegar and olive oil, and 3 sliced cherry tomatoes.

My hubby and I have been enjoying these wraps for lunch the last few days. It’s so tasty, easy and fast…and a great way to keep using those greens and juicy, sweet tomatoes in your garden! Enjoy!!