Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You buy clothes, I buy tomatoes

If Drew gave me $100 bucks and said 'go have fun', I'd probably end up at the farmers market or some specialty grocery store. It's sad really. As I write this, I notice that I am wearing a pair of jeans that I bought my first year out of college. But how can you possibly resist these gorgeous heirlooms above or anything that's in its prime for that matter? I mean, these looked so pretty that I had to take a picture on my phone and email it to Drew.

Heirloom tomatoes came into their prime very late this year and so far it's been worth the wait. I just wash them and serve them sliced with salt and pepper as a side dish and I've heard no complaints from my guests. Know your seasons and know your fruits and veggies. It's pretty easy to cook when you don't have to do much to something that is already perfect.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Pig Next Door

The best wedding gift that we've received so far is a membership to The Pig Next Door's Bacon of the Month club. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving. We received our welcome kit in the mail a couple weeks ago, which included a mug that says 'Oink if you love bacon', followed by our first shipment. The shipment arrives on your door in a styrofoam cooler with an ice pack. I was pumped to open it and find a big slab of Hobb's.

Hobb's bacon is king. Some of the best restaurants in the world (including The French Laundry) use his cured delights on a daily basis. 76 year-old owner, Hobbs Shore, has mastered his craft on his ranch in west Marin, CA. His bacon has been long admired by San Francisco foodie circles. But back to the important stuff....

Do yourself a favor and join this club. What do you have to loose? It will be a cured meat adventure. Who knows what will arrive each month? Did I mention each shipment comes with a recipe and background about the meat? Come on, just go to the gym an extra day a month and you'll be guilt free. Happy baconing.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tennessee Williams's Lemon Icebox Pie

I was catching up with one of my best friend's on the phone this week and she told me how she has really been getting into making retro desserts. One if particular that she insisted I share with all of you is this Lemon Icebox Pie. She was even kind enough to take a picture of her creation with her phone and send it to me. She used whole Nilla wafers to give it an extra visual effect. The result, as Tennessee Williams always said, "is good enough to slap your Mama."

Thanks, Lindsay!

Tennessee Williams's Lemon Icebox Pie
  • 1/2 box vanilla wafers
  • 1 stick lightly salted butter
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 can condensed milk, preferably Eagle Brand
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
Accompaniment: grated lemon rind
Special equipment: pie plate

In a food processor, finely crush vanilla wafers. Melt butter for flavor (not sweet butter). Pour vanilla wafers and melted butter into a pie plate and shape into a pie shell with your fingers.

In a large bowl, mix lemon juice, condensed milk, and egg yolk. Pour mixture into pie plate. In another bowl, beat egg whites* with cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and sugar until stiff white peaks form. Pour over pie and top with freshly grated lemon rind.

Bake in oven at moderate heat just long enough for meringue to brown, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and put in the refrigerator until ice-cold.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I know, I know. It's been forever. In fact, the longest time between posts EVER. But there is a good reason for this. Dear Reader, I just got married. Yup, I'm off the market for good. And you'll be very pleased to know that I have been eating a drinking my way through Cape Cod feasting on little-necks and lobster.

Leading up to the wedding was another story. A cottage cheese diet has me bored and starved. I ate no Mexican food for an entire month. I feel like a criminal. Now that I have returned as Mrs. Smith to sunny California, it's time to catch up on one of my favorite cuisines.

A good friend flew home the other night and sat next to Tyler Florence on the plane. She said he was the world's nicest guy. Here's a little Tyler recipe with plenty of cheese to remind me what I've been missing.

Chicken Enchiladas
Food Network
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 5 canned whole green chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar and Jack cheeses
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.

Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn and chiles. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute.

Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables. Dust the mixture with flour to help set.

Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving. Serve with Spanish rice and beans.