Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Gemelli with Shrimp and Sugar Snap Peas from June issue of Martha Stewart Living

Recipe - Gemelli with Shrimp and Sugar Snap Peas 

I thought about having either grilled chicken or shrimp on Memorial Day since we already had barbecue ribs on Saturday but since I also had the ingredients to make ‘Gemelli with Shrimp’, that is what I ultimately prepared.  It was so good, I almost couldn’t put my fork down after tasting it from the skillet…but I did.  It’s a Martha Stewart recipe from the June issue of her magazine and you only need one skillet to make it.  You can find it on her site here.

There is a little bit of preparation before hand with deveining the shrimp and taking the skin off plus with trimming the sugar snap peas, but after you’ve completed those steps, the rest is a snap!  I couldn’t resist.

Use any short pasta that you like if you can’t find Gemelli, which I didn’t so I got one called Cellentani.  I like its curly shape and for the recipe, you will need 12 ounces.  
The first step is to cook the pasta in 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth and 2 cups of water plus 4 large cloves of garlic sliced.  Season with salt and pepper and stir frequently while you prepare your shrimp and snap peas. 

 I should have cleaned the shrimp and trimmed the peas the day before but I was too busy playing catch-up on Netflix.  I used my kitchen shears to eventually snip the dill. 

When the pasta is approximately 3 minutes to completion, stir in your shrimp and lemon zest and cook for about a minute and a half. 

Then add your snap peas, ½ cup of Feta and your 2 tablespoons of dill.  Cook about a minute, or until your snap peas are crisp-tender and your shrimp is opaque.  They are so good crisp-tender!  

Stir in lemon juice and serve topped with remaining Feta, a teaspoon of lemon zest, coarsely chopped dill and some olive oil.

Here’s my first serving in a bowl which I posted to Instagram and after I had another serving, I put the rest in the fridge.  It tastes pretty good cold too!  What a great combination of goodness!  One of the best pasta recipes I have tasted lately and I will definitely make this again!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Trader Joe’s and a Spatchcocked chicken

Here’s an update picture of the roasted chicken also shown below.

I did a little shopping at Trader Joe’s yesterday just to say I went there before their 1st anniversary showed up on the docket.  The Fresh Market is across the street from it so it’s a nice area for grocery shopping.  Unfortunately, I noticed some dark clouds in the sky and decided I should leave before the rain came.  Too late and I got soaked on the way to my car.  The bags held up quite well though!  Anyway, put me in a store with specialty foods and I want one of everything and at the same time, I don’t know what I want! 

I settled for some romaine lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, kosher ground chuck, thick and creamy Greek yogurt, apples and oranges, and some ciabatta and wheat breads.  I didn’t get a lot of time to look at the frozen foods as in Thai Shrimp dumplings and a whole lot of other intriguing items so I’ll be going back.  I like that they don’t charge an arm and a leg to chop up some fruits to sell in containers and they have fresh packaged chicken piccata that I almost bought, but I like to make my own.  I even keep a supply of capers and usually lemons just in case I feel like making it.

Today I decided I would cook a whole chicken I took out of the freezer on Saturday because I wanted to spatchcock it and cook it with the pearl tomatoes I bought at Trader Joe's.  

To spatchcock a chicken, you simply take out the back bone by cutting out both sides of it with kitchen shears before...

...flipping it over and flattening it out.   The whole chicken is supposed to get evenly browned this way.  I cut the tail off too. 

Here is Martha’s page with a video on how to spatchcock a chicken and the tomato recipe too.  The only problem I will have with this recipe is cooking it at 500 degrees.  My NuWave only goes up to 375 so I will just have to cook it a bit longer than 30 minutes although my NuWave cooks pretty fast.  Time will tell and I’ll post my success or disaster picture later.

As shown above, my chicken was a success – the thermometer read 170 after 50 minutes.  I only used 8 tomatoes because sis can’t eat too many of them due to high potassium.

I forgot to mention that because of the rain, I didn’t get a chance to check out the new hamburger restaurant in the same plaza.  It is called California's Habit Burger Grill and this Delray Beach location is supposedly the first in Florida.  I love hamburgers so no doubt I’ll be back over that way soon!           

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Martha Stewart's One-Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives

I get so many views on this particular recipe from March 24, 2014 that I decided to bring it to the front once more.  Please enjoy this revisit while I do some necessary grocery shopping and thanks for stopping by!

As I said in my previous blog about the April issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, I was off to make my list of the ingredients I would need for this titled dish and that's what I did and then I went over to the Fresh Food Market and got what I don't always find at Publix such as the orecchiette.  (Publix has it now though.)  This is my first time eating this particular pasta and I liked it and the texture is great.  I’ve never made a homemade noodle but the orecchiette reminded me of the fresh ones I’ve seen cooks make on TV. 

The ingredients you will use:  Arugula and Cheese for serving.  In the pan goes the Orecchiette, chickpeas, tomato paste, Kalamata olives, a rosemary sprig, olive oil, and 3 cloves of garlic.  Pepper flakes and salt and pepper not shown.

In the pan before I added the 5 cups of water needed.  

The recipe from April issue of Martha Stewart Living and you can find it on her site here:

12 ounces orecchiette
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 6-inch sprig rosemary
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 1/2 ounces), plus more for serving (I used Parmesan)
2 cups baby arugula (about 2 ounces)

1.) Combine pasta, chickpeas, olives, tomato paste, garlic, rosemary, oil, pepper flakes, and 5 cups water in a large straight-sided skillet. Season generously with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and liquid is reduced to a sauce that coats pasta, 12 to 15 minutes.

In this picture, it has come to a boil and then I simmered on medium high for about 15 minutes.  I set the timer on my NuWave cooktop and stirred the pot every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking.

Remove from heat when your pasta is al dente and add your cheese.  I also put in a few tablespoons of water to thin the sauce a little because mine was a little too thick. 

    Serve it in a bowl with arugula on the bottom if you like and add a sprinkling of cheese to the top.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and enjoy.  Add more red pepper flakes also if you like.  I know I’ll be having this for lunch again today!

I liked the flavor of this meatless dish and it was very filling.  You could take a cup of this to work and have it for lunch and not be hungry until dinner time.  It would also make a good side for dinner with maybe a fried pork chop for those who want meat with their meal.  The red pepper flakes gave it a little zing and the arugula and olives added even more flavor.  I have to say a quarter teaspoon of those flakes went a long way!  I don’t usually eat anything spicier than a banana pepper but a few of the recipes I’ve tried lately have the pepper flakes in them and I’m starting to get accustomed to them.  The Kalamata olives also added lots of flavor – I love those olives!

I had about 5 ounces left of the orecchiette so I think I will make a smaller portion of Orecchiette with Sausage, Corn and Chiles that I made before from the June issue of Martha Stewart Living.  Here's that recipe and I remember I didn’t have orecchiette at the time and used another kind of pasta.  

Give today's one-pan dish a try.  I think you'll like it!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Martha Stewart Living June 2015 is a keeper for me!

I’ve been through the June issue of Martha Stewart Living 3 times which is a good indicator that it is of great interest to me.  Two times is usually my top browsing time in case I missed something the first time around and a third time is when I actually want to read just about everything that drew my attention.  Unfortunately, I was not too fond of the monochromatic cover done in shades of pink, but again, that has to do with the pastel thing with me.  Point being, I might not have bought it at the newsstand.   Actually, I never did like pink and red together anyway so those two cherries on the plate were a real distraction for me, along with the reddish lettering.  Thanks for the chocolate color of the brownie and the white cream frosting to help take my eyes off the reds and pinks though!  There’s a pork chop on page 89 in the Grow Your Own article that I think would have looked great on the cover for this Food Issue.  Does anyone else have any thoughts on the cover?   

The Food and Gathering section was right up my alley though with ‘What’s for Dinner’ recipes that you can cook in one pot.  The placemats were a perfect color to draw our eyes to the main ingredients on each plate and in particular shrimp, sausage, chicken breast and salmon.   They all look good although I rarely eat salmon and never asparagus.  Some people don’t like peas; I don’t like asparagus.  Further through Food and Gathering, I thought the Test-Kitchen Trick for Fast Foolproof Flavor was very helpful.  I have never liked the idea of putting raw meat on grilles and then having to wait around while it cooks and hopefully not burn.  Brine-boiling the pieces first sounds like the better idea.

I really enjoyed seeing the Wyebrook Farm in an article called Farming Forward.  The young couple Emelie and Dean Carlson created a little heaven on earth with their sustainable farm.  It is a beautiful place in Pennsylvania that you will probably want to visit once you see the beautiful pictures in the magazine!  Thanks to Michele Kornegay for sharing the wonderful dining experience she had at Wyebrook Farm.  You can copy and paste her link in her comment below or use this one for a mouth-watering read:  Wyebrook Farm dining experience by Michele Kornegay.  Thanks again Michele!  

The next section on making your own Pita bread and preparing a big meal with it and all the fixings made me want to lick the pages.  The Kofta Kebabs were made with lamb but I think I remember having them with beef also and with similar seasonings of parsley, onions, and cumin.  I do love Pita Bread

Grow Your Own which I mentioned above is all about growing your own herbs and spices and then there are some edible dishes that you can upgrade with using your own herbs and spices.  The pork chop on page 89 had a dry rub of rosemary before cooking and a sprig of rosemary was used to skewer fresh figs.  How cool is that!  Lucinda Scala Quinn was quoted as saying, “Even a single container of basil can make you feel as if you’re participating in the season as a gardener.”  I agree with that and just yesterday I put my basil plant in a bigger pot and added more soil, water and a prayer that it continues to grow!

You sweet-lovers are going to love the cake article, even I want to try the Strawberry-Cream-Pie cake, and the gardens by Scott Endres pictured next are beyond gorgeous.  I love how he built a wall with plants in woolly-pockets.  I wouldn’t mind making one with just coleus although a few more plants like he used would make it prettier.

Thanks MSLO for this wonderful June issue!  Hmm, what will I cook first!



Friday, May 8, 2015

And How Was Your Week?

With real problems going on elsewhere in the world, it seems trite to complain about having a bad week and so I just won’t be super happy about my week and for that, I need a lobster dinner! 

First off, if you are ever chosen to be a personal representative in a Will, get ready for a lot of tedious, lengthy work!  My sister was the actual PR for two wills but she managed to get me into the fray.  Yeah, that’s a good word especially after she pulled a real doozy this month by writing a huge check from the wrong checking account!  The recipient finally informed us that they only put a check through once although our bank’s policy is to accept it up to three times.  We waited and waited for the recipient to redeposit it after we straightened out the funds but I finally ended up stopping payment on it and writing another check.  Those people just were not going to redeposit it.  What bothered me were the phone calls I had to make.  I hate talking on the phone.  Put me in a room with a phone ringing all day that I would have to answer and I’d be ready for the loony bin before the day was up.  When people tell me they tried to call I often say I didn’t hear the phone which I wouldn’t because the ringers are off on the phones near me.  We have seven landlines and two cells so I can always check the messages.  My son knows enough to send a text but then he doesn’t like talking on phones either. 

When I wasn’t on the phone with the check ordeal, I was bandaging my sister’s arm.  She has two huge cuts inches apart on the same arm.  One is from the fall she took about a month ago and the other came from her computer chair.  All she did was bump into the armrest while getting up and it tore her arm open about an inch long.  Her skin is too thin for stitches.

And then I had the lawn mowing guy to deal with to which I can only say, “Another one bites the dust”.  We had a deal for him to mow twice a month in the winter and 3 or 4 times in the summer for two different fees.  I also let him put in a sprinkler line in the backyard but I asked for pop-up sprinkler heads and not the ones sticking up in the air that he put in.   I doubt he even has a bill for the parts he bought and I can only blame myself for just handing out cash for the job.  After he and his brother did the sprinklers, they never came back at the end of April to mow the lawn so I asked him about that.  Long story short, I ended up mowing the lawn but forgot about replenishing the salt I lost from perspiring and so I was awake half the night with muscle spasms.  Ouch, ouch, ouch!  Instead of getting on the phone though to find a new lawn guy, I’m looking online but have to wonder why they have a form for potential customers to fill out when they simply ignore the messages.   

It took all week for Shark to send me the proper bag to use for sending back the faulty wand on my NV651 model and then the mailing label they sent me wouldn’t scan at Fed Ex.  They even tried to blame me for putting it on long ways instead of sideways.  I said “here, let me stretch the label out for you while you scan.”  Still didn’t work and so then the blame was placed on Shark for emailing the label instead of faxing it.  Whatever!  I only wonder if a replacement wand will ever be delivered to me or will I have to get on the phone to find out what happened to it!  Unnecessary phone calls stay away from my ear!

Update on the wand:  It arrived this morning, Saturday 5/9/15 with a 'passed inspection' sticker on it so there will be no phone calls.  Yay!    I love that Shark NV651 model!  

But like I asked, “How was your week?”  Also, have a nice Mother's Day all you mamas!            

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quick Foods I Like When I Don’t Have a Lot of Time to Cook

I haven’t had a lot of time to do much cooking lately so when I’m out running errands, I stop off at Publix or Costco to browse some of the shelves and the coolers for easy things to prepare such as Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie burgers for instance.  

My neighbor mentioned them once and so I picked up a small package one day to try before maybe getting a bigger package at Costco.  They were actually good even though I only had a muffin to use as a bun.  It was a good muffin though – plain the way I like them, and toasted.  I won’t list the ingredients here but I found this link - Dr. Praeger's if you would like to check them out for yourself.

Next I thought I would taste this box of Near East blend of Quinoa and brown rice that looked interesting.  It is quite good right from the stove but I thought I would cool it and maybe add a cucumber, some parsley, and lemon juice and make a version of Taboulleh.  Or I could just squeeze some lemon juice on it and have a serving for lunch with a glass of V-8 juice.

Day two – 5/6/15 - I decided to make the Taboulleh and used curly parsley instead of flat leaf this time.  It is very good especially with the lemon juice!

It cooked up in about 17 minutes and looked almost like the picture.  

I can’t get my sister to eat a lot of veggies, nor does she eat meat on a regular basis which makes it rather difficult to cook for her.  She does like the barbecue ribs at Costco though and mostly because of the sauce.  One day I made some barbecued chicken and used the original Publix brand barbecue sauce and lo and behold my sister thought it tasted just like Costco’s.  She will now eat meat with that sauce on it, so yay!

Tonight we had Sloppy Joes made with the same sauce to which I added a dab or two of tomato paste.  Years ago we would use Open Pit sauce which I never really liked so I’m glad we discovered the Publix brand.

After I brown about a pound of ground chuck, I pour on about ¾ of an 18 ounce bottle of sauce, add the tomato paste and simmer for about 12 minutes and it’s done!  I know there are many different recipes for Sloppy Joes but we’ve always just used barbecue sauce and I kind of like not having to cut up a lot of ingredients such as green peppers and onions, etc.  How do you make your Sloppy Joes?           


Friday, May 1, 2015

Pasta Pancetta – an Allrecipes.com recipe

Pasta Pancetta 

I was going to make Nigella Lawson’s Pasta Carbonara because I wanted to try Pancetta, but then I noticed the eggs in the recipe were just stirred with heavy cream and added raw to the cooked ingredients.  I cannot tolerate raw eggs especially runny yolks so that recipe was out.  I then went looking on Google and found this Pasta Pancetta recipe that of course has pancetta but no eggs.  Mushrooms were supposed to be in the recipe too but I left those out.  I mainly wanted to taste the pancetta with the linguine which by the way was very good.  If it was an Italian who came up with adding pancetta to pasta, all I can say is he or she was really on to something!  I had never tasted it before and even though it is rather expensive and I’m such a cheapskate, I might buy it again!  

The ingredients included shallots, garlic, pancetta, black pepper, oregano, chicken broth, olive oil, linguine and freshly grated parmesan which is the white chunk in the foreground.  You can get the recipe here at Allrecipes.com.

While your linguine is cooking for about 10 minutes, in a large skillet cook the pancetta in oil until just beginning to brown.  ¼ cup olive oil was listed in the recipe so I used part of that for the pancetta.  In direction #3 it says to add olive oil to the cooked linguine also but it didn’t say how much so I divvied up the ¼ cup between that and the pancetta. 

After browning the pancetta, stir in shallots, garlic and mushrooms if you are using them and cook for one minute.  Season with pepper and oregano and add chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, medium heat and simmer 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir occasionally, then cover and continue to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. 

After I drained the linguine I added the rest of the olive oil and tossed it to coat and then I stirred it in with the cooked pancetta.    

Naturally I had to have a taste, (see my first picture at the top of page), with plenty of fluffy grated parmesan but not all of this.  I just wanted to show you how much I grated from that small piece of parmesan I picture above.    

The directions say to divide the pasta among individual serving plates and top with equal portions of pancetta and (mushrooms) but you can also mix it together like I did.  I figured I’d probably be the only one eating it since sis was already turned off by the smell of shallots and garlic!  Oh well, more for me and she can have her Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Word of Caution - Some Shark vacuums have wands that are being recalled!

NV651 Shark Lift-Away

There’s nothing like buying a couple of vacuum cleaners and learning a few things about the company in the process.  I’m talking about the two Shark vacuums I bought in 2013 and 2014.  Well, I bought one in 2013 and my sister bought me the new Lift-Away NV651 version as a Christmas gift last year.  They both work great and I especially like the mini attachments that operate only with the lift away version. 

Anyway, sis bought that version at Amazon and a couple of months later I received an email from them about a recall.  I called the number they provided but Euro-Pro/Shark was unaware of any problem.  I thought that was odd but oh well, I took the opportunity while on the phone to register my unit.  Naturally I had to bring it over to the phone so I could find a number they wanted for the registration.  It was engraved on one of the pins of the plug which I thought was clever.  I told them so too.  So that was approximately 2 months ago and then the other day I received another email from Amazon and again about a recall.  I was just going to ignore it but decided to check out the site just the same.

 The recall was for real this time and had something to do with the wand that pulls apart for use with attachments.  

“The aluminum wand can disconnect from the vacuum cleaners handle and remain energized with electricity, posing a risk of electric shock.”  Yikes, and good to know because who wants to be energized like the bunny!  Next I had to take it all apart as shown in their video, turn it upside down and look for a little dimple or pin hole in the plastic at the top of the wand, which meant the wand had been checked and was safe.  I thought that was clever of them too.  Wouldn’t you know mine had a little nick on the seam but no hole in the plastic so I thought well maybe they missed with their pin prick when they inspected my wand and it was probably okay, but maybe not.  

I even got a magnifier just to make sure there wasn’t a dimple a little further down.  No dimple.  It would be on the right side of the plastic part that meets the aluminum. 

Next, I needed to copy the prepaid label they emailed me over the weekend and now I'll wait a few days for a bag to arrive for use in returning the wand.  It’s all very simple even if a little annoying and it’s not as if I don’t have another Shark to use.  Too bad I don’t feel like cleaning though!

So, if you have a Shark NV651 Lift-Away model, check your emails for that recall information or look for that tiny dimple on the wand as Euro-Pro called it.          

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Patti LaBelle's 7 Cheese Mac and Cheese with Lobster and Shrimp! Yum!

I definitely plan to make this version one day!  Not today though but I am going to do my simple version on the stove!  I'm going to miss Patti on #DWTS!

This is my stove top version of Mac and Cheese, 2 kinds today – sharp cheddar and Colby.  I use 2-1/2 cups of milk, usually No Fat, add ¼ cup of Flour and stir until the lumps are gone.  A whisk works well for that job.  Then I bring it to a boil, lower the heat and cook, stirring often while 12 ounces of macaroni finishes cooking.  Take milk/flour mixture off the heat and add 8 ounces of shredded cheese of your choice and stir until melted.  I like to buy block cheese and shred it myself because it seems creamier than the kind already shredded.  Once the cheese is melted off from the heat, I stir in the strained macaroni, season with salt and fresh pepper and serve, usually with peas or canned tomatoes.  It is my favorite but I plan to try Patti LaBelle’s with shrimp and maybe lobster although I prefer my lobster on the side with Clarified Butter!  

P. S. The brown in my picture is either from my iPhone or the stove light although my phone usually takes great pictures!  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Is your monitor giving you a backache?

My sister has been in excruciating pain for over a week now and not well enough to go to the doctor.  All that pain really took a lot out of her this time even though she’s had the same problem before.  Sunday she was feeling better though and on Monday I managed to get an appointment with a rheumatologist for today and now her shoulder and upper back area is feeling much better.  The rheumatologist visit was recommended by her neurologist who said he couldn’t give her any more needle point shots until she saw a rheumatologist. 

The interesting part of our visit was that we didn’t actually see a doctor today but instead the nurse practitioner.  After she went through all of sis’s records and asked a zillion questions and then found the various places on her back and shoulder that hurt the most, she gave her a shot.  Actually, she used a syringe filled with cortisone and something starting with an M and injected it into her upper back in 15 different spots.  She was very gentle about it too and used some icy spray so the needle wouldn’t hurt too much while she casually jabbed away.  Normally when needles appear, I leave the room but they both made me stay this time so I sat and watched.  Hmm, I might even go back to have my knee checked and maybe get the same type cortisone shot, or maybe not because I’m such a chicken!  My sister has a much higher tolerance of pain than I do and good thing because she has pain all the time! 

I guess the good news was she doesn’t have rheumatoid arthritis but needs to have a bone density test taken because her bones are thinning even though she takes calcium with D vitamin.  Luckily, when she took that fall a few weeks ago, nothing broke although she lost a chunk of skin from her right arm.  I’m still changing the bandage on that boo-boo. 

The next best part of today’s visit was that the nurse and I both agreed that her computer monitor is too high and is probably the reason her upper back hurts so much.  I have told her that she needs to sit eye level without tilting her head back and she should not use that computer table where the monitor is up on another level.  Maybe she’ll be willing to make a change now that the nurse concurred with me!   

Anyway, my computer table is 26-1/2 inches high which is at a comfortable height for me to use the keyboard.  My monitor is set so that my screen is eye level at the imaginary line which is 2 to 3 inches from the top of the monitor.  I sit an arm’s length away and rarely have to move my head up or down to read the screen so it must be at the right level.  If I’m at the computer all day long I do get sore from sitting when I have a lot of typing to do but I don’t get back or neck problems!  Are you eye level with the imaginary line on your monitor?  

P.S.  I just had to add this 27 second video of Kennedy and Jaycee 'dancing'.  It was so cute to watch Jaycee copy her big sister!  Grandma is telling Kennedy to be careful.  Also, there are more videos from Youtube.  The little girl on Ellen dancing with her mother is cute!