Archive for April, 2011

Not the same old thing

I am sure you often ask ” what should we have for dinner”. Everyone runs out of ideas. I was shopping the other day and I saw a huge disply of large wonderful looking artichokes. They are one of my daughter’s favorite things to eat. I bought two beautiful ones and decided to make them for dinner. Our favorite way to eat them is stuffed with a bread crumb mixture. I add some protein with pancetta and cheese and serve them with a salad and it a wonderful complete meal. They are a little work to clean and stuff but they are so worth it.
Whether you prefer to eat them steamed with a little lemon butter on the side or stuffed like we do I highly recommend them as a lovely change from the mundane same old same old choices. Serve with a salad and you have a complete meal.
Try out this recipe and tell me what you think.

Happy eating
Ann

Stuffed Artichokes

2 large artichokes ,stem removed, choke removed and leaves trimmed
4 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 fresh lemon
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 c grated parmesan
2 T chopped pancetta
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T chopped parsley
1 T chopped basil
1 t dry oregano

Cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke. peel off bottom outer leavres the trim the pointy tops of the remaining leaves. If you have a grapefuit spoon or a serated spoon remove the inner most sharp leaves and scapre out the area on top of the heart. It has course sharp almost hair like stuff to remove. You should have a clean smooth well that can be stuffed. Place in a bowl of cold water with a 1 T lemon juice.
When both are cleaned place in a large pot of salted water that has come to a boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes until they a knife easily pierces the heart. Remove from water and let drain. Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in 1 T of olive oil until crisp, remove and drain. Melt butter and remaining T of olive oil in a saute pan. Add garlic, cook for 30 sec and add bread crumbs, cheese and herbs and salt and pepper, add pancetta and stir until mixed well, Squeeze the juice from the artichoke water, mix together.
Place artichokes in a low sided baking pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Gently pull the leaves to povide arteas to stuff. Place stuffing in the middle of the artichoke. Use up all the stuffing. Add a 1/4 c of water to the baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 15 min .

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Chicago

On a recent family trip to Chicago I learned 3 things 1. Chicago is a very clean city  2. The people of Chicago are incredibly nice (midwestern charm holds true!)  3.  The food of Chicago (despite reputation) has got nothing on New York!

While in Chicago we stopped by for breakfast at The Beakfast Club, a restaurant very a la Kitchenette.  We had a variety of things and it was all okay. But not terrific.  Next stop: deep dish pizza.  We went to a place that Zagats rated the best in Chicago.  For those of you who haven’t had deep dish pizza it is a gobs of cheese with fillings like mushrooms or sausage stuffed into a pie shell that is  cross between pie dough and pizza crust with a small amount of tomato sauce on top.  Way too much cheese for my liking.  If you really want good pizza, the best I have ever had, go to DiFaro’s in Brooklyn. OMG! Now THAT is pizza!  We never got around to trying a Chicago style hot dog but I was skeptical about a hot dog topped with onions, relish and pickles anyway.  Again, A Greys’s Papaya Dog with mustard and sauerkraut is about as good as it gets

There were 2 stand out places in Chicago.  One was Carson’s Ribs.  It was so good, we went there twice.  The ribs were chewy with just the right amount of BBQ, the coleslaw was the chopped kind with a hint of sweetness and they served a cheesy potato casserole that my daughter thought was the best thing she ever ate!  I just noticed that they had a website so I might be ordering those ribs to come to NY very soon.  The other place that was fantastic was, believe it or not, at the airport.  It was a Rick Bayless hut that served these delicious Mexican tortas stuffed with meat, cheese and pickled peppers.  If you are at O’Hare make this a definite pit stop!

All in all we had a nice trip but my beliefs were once again confirmed.  There is no place like home.  At least where food is concerned.

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What’s for Breakfast?

Right about this time every year, mid-late April, the routine of what to make the kids for breakfast gets me down.  I’m not even sure that they mind eating the same 2 things over and over again because they don’t complain. But! I like to shake it up now and again.  I mean, how many times can a kid eat oatmeal or cereal in the morning? So here is Kitchenette’s Granola Recipe along with an idea that goes so well with our granola.  And I am including a breakfast tip from Trader Joe’s that is sure to win you points with the kids.

Breakfast Parfait

Layer in a glass sundae cup our delicious granola, plain or flavored yogurt and sliced fresh berries of any kind for a healthy and different breakfast treat that the kids will be sure to enjoy!

  

Trader Joe’s Croissants.  Plain or Chocolate

Trader Joe’s has the most fabulous product!  Plain or Chocolate Croissants that you take out the night before and bake off fresh in the morning!  When I make these I get up in the morning, preheat the oven, pop the croissants in and then go about my morning routine of showering etc.  By the time I am done, the smell of these croissants baking is waking the children up and I go to get them out of the oven.  Perfect every time!  And so delicious you would think you were in Paris every time!

Next week we will tackle those lunches we have to make every day of the school year!

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A Spring Harvest

If you live in the Northeast, April is a time when you feel the first wave of warm days and the first sighting of tulips and daffodils. Nothing is more replenishing after a long  intense winter. Along with the flora comes the first crops of lettuces and early spring vegetables.

The lovely delicate leaves of baby greens, soft and delicious butter lettuces  along with spring onions are the first tastes of spring harvests.  If you have the opportunity to buy from a farm or green market you will be amazed at the difference in taste from grocery store lettuces.

Fill a bowl with freshly washed lettuce leaves and other vegetables for dipping and pair it up with a homemade Ranch dressing and your kids will love dipping all the different vegetables in the dressing. Another  wonderful idea to do with fresh large lettuce leaves is to make lettuce wraps . Saute small pieces of chicken with pine nuts and celery, add a little soy sauce and sesame oil and fresh chopped cilantro. Place the chicken mixture inside the lettuce leave and enjoy a healthy delicious snack.

Anytime you have the chance to buy local and organic you are supporting local farmers as well as enjoying the delicious benefits of farm to table eating.

Indulge in  all the wonders of spring

Ann

Homemade Ranch Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 c sour cream

2 T white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 T chopped garlic

1 T chopped basil

2t chopped parsley

2 t chopped chives

1 spring onion or 1 scallion chopped

salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor put mayo, sour cream vinegar, garlic, and herbs. With the motor running slowing add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put into air tight jar . Can keep up to two weeks in frig.

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Holidays at my house

I grew up in a family of mixed religion and therefore I guess, I lacked a formal religious background.  My mother is Jewish and was raised as such but when she married my father ( raised a fairly strict protestant by his parents) both religions seemed to cancel each other out. But that does not mean that we did not have family holiday traditions or that we did not celebrate religious holidays.  We did.  In fact, we celebrated them all!  Hannukah, Christmas, Passover, Easter.  From Easter egg hunts at my Jewish grandmother’s house to hiding the matzoh at Passover with family friends–we celebrated.  It brought us together as a family and taught my sister and I to celebrate and appreciate differences in religions and differences in people as well.  However, now that I am a mother I constantly find myself wondering if my children will feel the same as I and appreciate a non-religious household.  There is something to be said for being raised with specific religious beliefs.  I think it helps with those unanswered questions we all have.

Happy Spring Holiday-whichever you celebrate!  Lisa

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A Passover Tradition

Celebrations were a big proponent in my childhood. My mother believed that birthdays were very important and she would make a week long of festivities cooking your favorite meal, bringing cupcakes to school and going out to a special restaurant. Mine was always “The Toll House” in Whitman, Mass. This was the home of the orginal Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie.
When it came to celebrating Jewish holidays we would always have lots guests to our house. They would be a combination of friends and family. My mother loved to set the table with decorations that depicted the holiday were we celebrating.
Every spring there is an important week long holiday, which is a celebration of the freedom from slavery under the Pharoh and the Exodus from Egypt. This holiday is Passover. There are lots of traditional dishes that are served at the Seder table. Matzo Ball Soup, Pan Roasted Brisket, Honey Cake to name a few. My mother would make her version of a dish called Tzimmes. Now of all you who know are probably asking why Tzimmes? This is a dish usually served on Rosh Hashanah made with carrots and sweeten with honey. It is suppose to represent the idea of having a sweet new year. My mother’s Tzimmes used to be made in a earthenware pot and it was filled with Flanken ( a soft boiled meat) and layered with sweet potatoes, carrots, and topped with a matzo ball mixture. It was baked in the oven till it was crunchy on the top and the flavors had all melted together. My mother would only make this once and year so for us this became our symbol of Passover. I have included this delicious dish for you all to enjoy,.
I encourage you to pass on your traditions or if you don’t have any as of yet to start them with your own family. Nothing is more loving than the gift of a family tradition.

Happy Spring

Ann

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