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The Legging

Legging from BCBG and the tie blouse tunic from La Perla.

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Chicken Tagine with Dried Figs and Sweet Potatoes

I came across this recipe while scrolling other blogs, I’m always looking for inspiration. This was originally posted on http://foodonfifth.com/. Not only did it have a wonderful aroma, it was delicious. It’s very easy to make but, it does take some time in the oven.

1 whole chicken, cut into quarters

3 tablespoon olive oil

3 smashed garlic cloves ( I added more)

3 teaspoons ground cumin seed

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 large onion cut into large chunks

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks

12 while dried figs

the juice and zest of one orange

3 cups  low sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 325 f degrees.

In a skillet brown the chicken pieces in olive oil over medium high heat. ( I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper)

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Place the browned chicken pieces in the bottom of a large oven safe pot with a lid.

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Evenly scatter over the chicken the smashed garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper and sea salt. ( I put on these ingredients in a bowl, mixed and spooned over the chicken)

Nestle the onion and sweet potato chunks, figs, and orange zest around and under the chicken.

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Gently pour the orange juice and chicken broth over it. Cover and bake for approximately 2 hours or until the chicken is falling off the bone.

Raise the temperature to 375. Uncover and cook for another 20 minutes. Serve in bowls with thick crusty bread.

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Creme Brulee

A few years ago a friend of mine gave me a Creme Brulee kit, I finally opened the box and decided to make this dessert. Unfortunately I could not get the torch to work so I put it back in the stove under broiler to carmelize the sugar. As I mentioned before I’m not much of a baker but it looked easy enough. I already had a recipe from Ina Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot in Paris.

1 extra large egg

4 extra large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving

3 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 300F degrees.

In  a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks and sugar together on low speed.

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Meanwhile scald the cream until it’s hot but not boiling. Add to the egg mixture very slowly and on low speed. Add the Grand Marnier and vanilla. Pour into 6 8 ounce ramekins until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come up halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

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Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or till the custard has set when gently shaken. Remove from the pan and let cool to room temperature and refrigerate till firm.

To serve pour 1 tablespoon of sugar on the top evenly and heat with a kitchen blowtorch to carmelize. Allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 minute. so the sugar hardens.

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Winter Whites

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Cauliflower and Broccoli with a Gruyere Sauce

Gruyere cheese is one of my favorite cheeses so when I came across this recipe on internet I had to make it. I added broccoli to the mix, it was for cauliflower only so I adjusted the  quantities in the sauce. Recipe courtesy  of Eatingwell.com.

8 cups of bite size cauliflower florets, (about 1 head)

4 teaspoons all purpose flower

1 cup 1% milk, divided

1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese or 2 ounces

1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or parsley

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic or 1 clove, I love garlic so I added more and I simmered it with the milk

1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Steam or boil the vegetables till tender 8 to 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile whisk the flour with 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Add the flour mixture. cook whisking till the sauce bubbles and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat add the cheese, chives or parsley, garlic and salt and pepper. Spoon over the cauliflower and serve.

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Chicken Piccata

This dish is a staple in my house, I make it all the time.  I usually serve it with mash potatoes. It is courtesy of Ina Garten. Serves 2. But it is easily doubled.  I usually do the prep work ahead and leave the breaded chicken in the fridge for at least and hour before cooking.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 extra large egg

1/2 tablespoon water

3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature and divided

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, keep the lemon halves

1/2 cup dry white wine

sliced lemon for serving

chopped fresh parsley for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the chicken between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound it out to 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow dish. In a second plate, beat the egg with 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs in a third plate. Dip the chicken in the flour, shake off excess, dip in the egg and then the bread crumbs.

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Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large saute pan over medium heat to medium low. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes on each side. I cook them till they are brown ans crispy. Place them on the sheet pan, place in the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes. I usually place them in  a baking pan.

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For the sauce, wipe the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and then add lemon juice. wine, and the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Boil over high heat until the reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

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Off the heat add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve over chicken.

I put the sauce in a gravy boat because I found that it made the chicken soggy. I happen to like the crunchiness.

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The Riding Boot

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Apple Cobbler

I’m not much of a baker but, around this time a year I like to make this apple cobbler. The recipe was handed down to me by a family member. It’s very simple to make.

4 cups of peeled and sliced apples ( I like to use Macintosh)

1 1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons of melted butter

1 1/2 cup of flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten

2/3 cup milk

Place apples in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and dot with 2 teaspoons of melted butter.

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Combine flour, baking powder, 1/3 cup of sugar and salt in mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup melted butter and mix with fork till mixture is slightly coarser than cornmeal.

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Combine egg and milk and pour into the dry ingredients.

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And spoon over the apples. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 -35 minutes or till golden brown.

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Boeuf Bourguignon

This is my favorite time of the year for cooking soups. I love the fact it can be made ahead of time , if entertaining and the left overs can go in the freezer. It’s great to have something on hand when it’s cold outside. This recipe is courtesy of Ina Garten.

She revised it so that it is quicker in cooking time.

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces bacon, diced

2 1/2 pounds of beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes

kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1 inch chunks

2 yellow onions, sliced

2 teaspoons garlic, 2 cloves

1/2 cup cognac or brandy

1 bottle of dry red wine, such as Burgundy

2 to 2 1/2 cups canned beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

4 tablespoons or 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature and divided

3 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 pound frozen small whole onions

1 pound mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally til lightly brown. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon onto a plate.IMG_0567

Dry the meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In batches of single layer brown on all sides. Remove to the plate with the bacon.IMG_0568

Toss the carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoon of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally till the onions are slightly brown.

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Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the cognac, stand back, ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. ( skipped this part) . Put the meat and bacon back in the pot with it’s juices. Add the wine and enough beef broth to just cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a boil, cover the pot tightly and place in the oven for 1 1/4 hours or till meat  and vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and place on to stove top.

Combine the flour and 2 tablespoons of butter with a fork and stir in the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium pan, saute the mushrooms in the remaining butter over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes or till lightly brown and then add to stew.

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Bring the stew to a boil, lower heat and simmer for another 15 minutes. Season to taste. Serves 6.

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The Tie Blouse and Marsala Trend

Blouse from Tory Burch, skirt from Reiss and bag from Fendi.

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1 Way to Help You Meet New Readers: Meet and Greet

Great idea!

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Sformato di Verdure e Carne (Vegetable & Meat Casserole)

Here’s another one skillet stovetop to oven dish I made the other night. This recipe is with ground turkey but it can be substituted with ground chicken, beef, pork or veal.  Courtesy of Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 small onions, thinly sliced

1 pound zucchini, diced

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/2 cup white wine

2 fresh bay leaves

1 3/4 pound russet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced less than 1/4 inch

8 ounces low moisture mozzarella, shredded

1 cup grated Grana Padana or Parmigiano Reggiano

2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

Preheat oven 400f. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook till slightly softened. About 3 minutes.

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Add the zucchini and teaspoon of salt and cook till tender. Using a slotted spoon remove to a plate.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and then add the ground turkey. Cook and stir till it crumbles and browned, about 4 minutes.IMG_0541

Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Then the wine and bay leaves, bring to a simmer and cook till wine is reduced and saucy, about 5 minutes. Sir in the zucchini and onion mixture.IMG_0542

Toss the potato slices with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining teaspoon of salt in a bowl.

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In a medium bowl toss the two cheeses together. To assemble, butter a large oval baking dish (4 quart in size) Layer the potatoes in the bottom.

Sprinkle with a third of the cheese, layer the turkey mixture on top and then the rest of the cheese.

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Cover with foil, not letting the foil touch the cheese. Place on the bottom rack and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes more till top is browned.

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