Saturday, March 13, 2010

We have been in a supper club for about the last 15 or 16 years with a great group of friends.  We get together on the 2nd Wednesday of each month and I love to try new recipes on everybody!  Last week it was at our house and we served Chicken Marbella from Southern Living's Our Readers Top Rated Recipes.  This is an excellent cookbook that I highly recommend.  I have not made anything out of this one that I did not love!! This chicken recipe has such an unusual combination of flavors that I could not imagine how it would taste.  It was great.  Sort of a Mediterranean bbq  if you will.  I loved it and would make it again. The aromas while it is cooking are fabulous!

Chicken Marbella

1 (12 oz) package pitted prunes
1 (3.5 oz) jar capers
1 (0.5 oz) bottle dried oregano
6 bay leaves
1 garlic bulb, minced (about 1 TBSP)
1 c pimento-stuffed olives
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
1 TBSP coarse sea salt
2 tsp pepper
8 lbs mixed chicken pieces
1 c brown sugar
1 c dry white wine
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
 Combine first 10 ingredients in a large zip-top freezer bag or a large bowl.  Add chicken pieces, turning to coat well; seal or cover and chill for at least 8 hours (overnight is best), turning chicken occasionally.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in 1 or 2 (13x9) baking dishes. Pour marinade evenly over chicken, and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar; pour wine around pieces.

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently. Remove chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter.  Drizzle with 3/4 c pan juices; sprinkle evenly with parsley.

Serves 8 to 10.

This is a very flavorful dish so you don't want to serve anything to take away from that.  I served plain mashed potatoes with it and my supper club friends brought green beans and a simple salad and rolls to go with it.  They loved it!

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This recipe I tried while looking for a new muffin recipe for a friend of mine.  They were really delicious, baked up pretty and came out of the pan well without muffin papers.  They can also be made ahead and frozen up to 1 month.  My oldest daughter loved them and took a bunch back to college with her.  This recipe is from the 2009 Southern Living Annual Recipe book, page 69.

Morning Glory Muffins

1 c chopped pecans                                    
3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 c sugar
3/4 c canola oil
3 large eggs
2-1/2  tsp vanilla
1 (8oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 large carrots, finely grated (1 cup)
1 cup golden raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350,  Bake pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.  Cool completely.

Meanwhile, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.  Whisk together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla; fold in crushed pineapple and carrots.  Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Fold in toasted pecans and raisins. Spoon into lightly greased muffin pans, filling 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 for 23 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  Makes 2 dozen muffins.

* Batter can be poured into 2 greased and floured 8x4 inch loaf pans and baked at 350 for 55 to 60 minutes.  Makes 2 loaves.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Braised Beef Brisket with Sweet Onions

This is one of the first recipes I tried two weeks ago.  It's from the January/February 2010 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen,  Which is one of my favorite magazines.  Definitely one to subscribe to, I mean, seriously, it's Paula Deen.   Now people tell me I'm a good cook, but I'm actually just a good recipe follower.  A good cook can take a bunch of ingredients, mix them together or, modify a recipe with them and have great success.  I follow recipes to the tee. That really isn't all that hard.  So here is the braised beef brisket.  It's quite a large flat piece of meat so you will need a good sized dutch oven that is oven safe.  I had to cut my brisket into 2 pieces and layer them in my pot but it all worked out fine. This is one you can prepare ahead and then stick in the oven for 3 hours before dinner and not worry with it. (of course, I had to do this on a weekend).  The aromas of the fresh rosemary, onions and red wine simmering together are to die for.  Your family will think you slaved!  Be sure and save some slices for the following recipe: Beef and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches w/ Horseradish Mayonnaise-YUM!  Also from Cooking with Paula Deen January/February 2010 issue.

Braised Beef with Sweet Onions

1 (3-1/2 pound) trimmed beef brisket
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
3 TBSP olive oil
6 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
2 c dry red wine
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 TBSP all purpose flour

   Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
   Sprinkle brisket evenly with salt and pepper.  In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high-heat.  Add brisket, and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove brisket and set aside.  Add onions to Dutch oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently,  until onions are tender and caramel colored.  Stir in wine, diced tomatoes, rosemary and bay leaves.  Return brisket to Dutch oven, cover and bake for 3 hours or until meat is very tender.
   Remove and discard bay leaves.  Remove brisket from  cooking liquid; set aside and keep warm.  Remove 1/2 cup tomato mixture from Dutch oven and whisk in flour until smooth.  Add flour mixture to Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently for 2 to 3 minutes or until tomato mixture is thickened.
    Cut brisket across the grain into thin slices, and serve with tomato mixture.
   Makes 8 to 12 servings.

(Cover and refrigerate 8 brisket slices for the following recipe.  Makes a great, quick Sunday lunch!)

Beef and Grilled  Cheese Sandwiches 
w/ Horseradish Mayonnaise

1/2 c mayonnaise
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
2 tsp prepared horseradish
8 slices sourdough bread
2 c arugula 
8 slices beef brisket
8 slices provolone cheese
1/4 c butter, softened and divided

Preheat griddle or non-stick skillet to medium-low heat.
   In a small bowl, combine mayo mustard, and horseradish.  Spread mixture evenly over 1 side of each bread slice.  Top half of prepared bread slices evenly with arugula, beef and cheese.  Top each with remaining bread slices, mayonnaise side down.
  Spread tops of bread evenly with 2 TBSP butter.  Grill sandwiches, butter side down, on preheated griddle.  Spread remaining butter on tops of sandwiches.  Cook sandwiches 4 to 5 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4 servings.


Beef and Grilled  Cheese Sandwiches 
w/ Horseradish Mayonnaise

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


So... here it is.  My blog about my new culinary experiences.  Sort of the Julie and Julia thing only I'm not stuck on just one person's cooking.  I decided that I was tired of the same old meals I was cooking my family, in fact, I was starting to hate cooking!!  And I LOVE to cook!  So I decided that I wouldn't cook ANY of the old dishes.  Two weeks ago I started trying 4-5 recipes a week that I had never tried before.  Guess what?  Cooking is fun again!  So here I am to share my successes and my flops in the kitchen.  Bon Appetit!