Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Honey Ginger Chicken

I wish I had some better pics for you but,  alas, I was hungry and was very goal oriented.  That is it was time to chow.  This is an amazing dish.  The idea came from this blog, Mommy Hates Cooking,  but of course, I made it my own and my chicken was frozen in the morning.  So the clow cooker was not an option.  Oh well, no worries, enter the stove.  I have to say, this is probably how I would make it the next time,  Because, fo sure, there will be a next time.  It goes really quick when you are ready to put the flame on, provided you have everything chopped and ready.


10- 12 chicken tenders or breasts, cut into smaller pieces
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons oil
3 cups vegetable of choice, I used carrots and celery because I have nothing else at the moment.

Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce 
2 tablespoon ketchup
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 8 oz can of pineapple chunks, just the juice
2 tablespoon cornstarch

Serving Garnishes and Accomaniments:
reserved pineapple chunks
cooked rice to serve it with

In a saucepan combine all your sauce ingredients.  Place heat on medium until it starts to bubble. Keep stirring, reduce your heat.  Once it is thickened, place on a very low heat setting.  

In a large frying pan over medium, heat oil.  Dip chicken into flour, both sides and fry about three minutes on one side and three minutes on the other.  It really depends on how thick your cuts of chicken are.  You can find out if they are done by pressing on them with a fork.  If there is give then it is not cooked all the way through.  If it feels firm, its done. Remove chicken, set aside, covered.  I just threw mine into the microwave, it is a nice holding place.

In the same fry pan saute your vegetables.  I sometimes put a little water in the pan and cover so it steams.  This way you don't have to use more oil.

Once they are done, throw your chicken back in and add sauce and you are done! Serve pineapple along side or garnish the dish with the pineapple.

It took longer to write this recipe than it did to make the dish.  Its quick and easy- so make it!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Rio Tomatlan in Canandaigua, Finger Lakes Region, New York

My friend and I stopped in and had lunch at Rio Tomatlan in Canandaigua.

I ordered the Pollo con Mole, Chicken with Mole Sauce.  There were elements to this dish that I liked and elements that I did not like.  The server said if you like peanuts, you will like it.  Its pretty nutty. Sadly, I found the sauce to be watered down and definitely no nutty taste at all.  Peanut taste is pretty easy to pick up on, so I am kind of surprised it was so vastly different then her suggestion.  Just so you know, I can pick out flavors pretty easily in dishes.  I definitely have a trained palette. (Amateur but knowledgeable, yah know).

The parts of the dish I really liked is the cilantro, cojita, pickled jalapeno peppers and the pickled purple onion.  It was a nice foil to the sauce.

The refried beans, which I really like usually, were a bit bland, they totally could have used some garlic and more salt.

This was the first Mexican restaurant, like, ever, (and I have been to many) that did not serve salsa and chips automatically.  It was an appetizer you could choose to pay for, or not.

The atmosphere of the restaurant was bright and colorful.  Beautiful table cloths and colorful bird cages hanging from the ceiling.  Paintings all over the walls of Mexican people and Mexican life.  Lots of visual appeal.

I would go again but I certainly would not order the mole.

My friend ordered the chorizo and sweet potato tacos (pictured above) which were the special of the day.  She reports that they were flavorful and delicious.  

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mint Frosted Brownies

Mint frosting on brownies?  What?  Oh so delicious.  I sure am glad these brownies left the house.  I would not be able to help myself.
Note:  I don't know what I was thinking and added a little too much cocoa powder, like a teaspoon.  It tasted too strong of coffee.  Oops, don't make that mistake.  1/2 teaspoon is what you want.  Unless of course, you are frosting it with coffee icing. Then, go for it.

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan

3 ounces (90 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
1/2 cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Line the pan with parchment paper so that a couple inches hang over the edge. I sometimes use a 9 inch- an 8 inch pan will yield higher brownies.  
Place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium-high heat. Allow the butter to cook until the milk solids bubble up and then settle into the pan and caramelize. Swirl the butter in the pan in order to see the color of the little bits on the bottom. As soon as the milk solids are golden and the butter smells nutty, about 3 to 5 minutes, remove the pan from the heat.

Add the chopped chocolate to the browned butter and let stand for 1 minute to melt and then whisk together. Pour it into the sugar and and vanilla while the butter mixture is still warm. Whisk in the eggs, salt, and espresso powder until completely incorporated. 

Directly over the bowl with the chocolate mixture, sift in the cocoa powder and flour. Fold the ingredients together until just combined using a spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  

Mint Frosting
This is one of those recipes where you have to go by feel.  Too much liquid and you will have a soupy mess.

1 stick (4 ounces) butter
1 brick (8 ounces) cream cheese
1/4 cup creme de menthe, starting with a tablespoon at a time
3 cup plus confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Cream butter and cream cheese, add in some confectioners sugar. Beat.  Add in creme de menthe.  More confectioners sugar.  Add in extract.  Add confectioners sugar until you get the desired consistency.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Spinach Lasagna

I am not a real big fan of lasagna because I have never been a big fan of cooked ricotta.  Fresh ricotta with a little vanilla and a teaspoon of sugar.  Oh my.  But not cooked.  My husband told me he is not a real big fan of spinach lasagna.

Things change.  He loves this recipe. The kids ate it up.  My oldest daughter, the picky one, managed to pull out a bit of the spinach.  You know she has to keep up her reputation for not eating anything green. I tell  you she was the first to eat the leftovers though, her and her Dad.

Spinach Lasagna
See original recipe here at Serious Eats

For the Spinach:

2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
6 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh flat or curly spinach leaves, washed and dried
For the Ricotta:
2 pounds fresh ricotta cheese
2 eggs
4 ounces finely grated peccorino romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For the White Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
12 ounces grated low moisture mozzarella cheese
12 ounces grated Swiss cheese

For Assembly:
1 1/2 pounds (enough sheets to make 12 layers) fresh lasagna noodle

For the Spinach: Saute garlic and shallots in butter and oil until soft.  Add in spinach and cook until it is wilted, having lost its moisture.Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Let spinach drain and cool while you mix up the ricotta.

Combine ricotta with egg, nutmeg and peccorino romano.  Season with salt and pepper.

Squeeze spinach out.  In a food processor (or by hand), chop spinach and short pulses.  You want it chopped, not pureed.  Mix into the ricotta.

To make  your white sauce you will need a large skillet or saucepan.  Heat butter until melted. Add flour and increase heat to medium high. Cook, stirring butter and flour with a whisk until golden. Be patient.  The golden part is what gives it a really nice flavor. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in milk. Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and add 3/4 of mozzarella and Swiss cheese. Whisk until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. 

Place a small amount of white sauce at the bottom of the 13 x 9 dish.  Lay a single layer of pasta sheets over that.  I used the ready to use kind, fresh in the Dairy Section of my local grocery store.

Top with a thin layer of spinach/ricotta mixture.  I only had a small amount of pasta sheets so I just did a few layers, dividing it into thirds. Pour a little sauce over that and lay down your next layer of sheets.  Finish with some sauce on top of the pasta sheets.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until bubble and lightly browned, about 20 minutes longer. Let rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vanilla Extract

I love my vanilla.  I have been making my own vanilla for some time.  I dont know why I have not blogged about it before.

Before my favorite was Molina.  I use to live in AZ and it was easy to go down to Mexico and buy several bottles of Molina.
But then I discovered I could make my own vanilla extract at home.  I just fill up bottles with vodka and drop in my vanilla pods.  I put in two or three per pint.  I like it strong.  You can definitely use less.  Some people drop the pods straight into the vodka but I like these pretty little jars that fit nicely into my cabinet.

If stuff grosses you out sometimes then stop reading.  But if you are interested where some vanilla flavorings comes from, I will let you in on a little known secret.  It comes from a sac in the Beavers butt.  No kidding.  Honestly as gross as that is, I would rather have that then some artificial thing that is being produced.  If you would like to read about the Beaver butt thing, click here at One Green Planet.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Summers coming.  It has been so cold and not wanting to warm up here for Spring, like, at all.  This week 70's are in the forecast!  Yeah!  I will take it.

These beans can be easily translated to a crock pot too. Lay it all in there with the bacon on top and turn it on low and slow.  Come home to baked beans.  Don't think the slow cooker is just for the winter months.  The slow cooker is your ally in summer too.  Just set it outside.  If you have it in the sun it will really turn up the heat on whatever you are cooking so be mindful of that.


1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
3 cans of pinto bean, liquid dumped until it reaches the bean line
2 tablespoons brown mustard
2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup Barbeque Sauce (recipe below)
6-8 slices of bacon

In a Dutch oven saute onions in butter until golden.  If you do not have a Dutch oven then do this in a soup pot.  Add in the remainder of the ingredients. Transfer over to a casserole pan when ready to put in the oven.   Lay bacon slices over top of beans.  Cook in a 350F oven, uncovered for 60 minutes.

Barbeque Sauce

2 tablespoons pork fat or bacon grease
1 cup brown sugar
3 medium onions (about 3 cups)
3 cups ketchup (I used 2 1/2 homemade Eureka ketchup and regular ketchup)
1/2 cup salsa
8 cloves garlic, minced (I used my canned pickled garlic)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (to taste)

Saute onions in fat until golden, deeply golden.  You want them caramelized.  Once they are caramelized add in ketchup, salsa and the remainder of the ingredients. and cook for 30 minutes at a simmer.  Remove from heat and cool a little.  Blend.  Set aside.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


We have a local creamery called Pittsford Dairy.  I have not been there before and finally made my way over.  What was I waiting for?  I bought some heavy cream around Mothers Day because I wanted to make some tiramisu.  Its not ultra pasteurized so it does not keep as well.  But I would rather it that way anyhow.  I decided to use it up to make some scones. I had bought these dried strawberries at the Amish store I go to and thought- PERFECT!

Recipe adapted from this recipe at Food Network by Ina Garten

4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4 ex large eggs
3/4 pound unsalted butter, cold
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup chopped dried cherries


1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon plus more as needed of water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter.  Do this until the flour seems "mealy".  Mix together eggs and cream and add into dry ingredients all at once.  Stir as minimally as possible.  You just want it mixed and that is it.  Make into biscuit like rounds or spoon into scone pan.  This recipe makes about 16 scones.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Don't over bake.  It should just be golden around the edges.  With scones it always better to air on the side of under baked rather than over.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Egg Rice Bowl

I just had the most amazing lunch.  I have made this rice before.  I love it.  This time I added a few different things since it was just me eating it.  No picky eaters saying I don't like this and I don't like that.  I love how it came out.

Rice and Egg Bowl

1 cup rice ( I used Basmati rice)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water

1 tablespoon butter 
1 tablespoon avocado oil (may be needed)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup pineapple, chopped 
2 green onions, chopped thinly
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger, grated
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 package mock crap chunks.

Cook the rice as normal but instead of adding just water, add half coconut milk and half water.

While the rice is cooking.  Cook mock crab chunks in butter.  Set aside when warmed.  In that same pan, cook bell peppers until tender.  Add in some oil if needed. Add in pineapple, heat until warmed through.  Add in garlic and ginger and heat until fragrant.  Add in the cooked rice.  Add in tamari and sriracha.    Sprinle with chopped green onions.

Add the cooked egg over top.

Friday, May 6, 2016


I saw this recipe in 2008.  Every time I see blackberries, a lot of them, I think of that cake.  Why did it take me so long to make it?
I went to find it the other day because I had a ton of blackberries.  I was amazed at how many people stole her photo of her cake.  It totally will make you drool.

 BTW, you really don't need  a ton of blackberries, just blackberry preserves (specifically). This cake is delicious.

When I saw the cinnamon on the list of ingredients, I was a little worried that it would overpower the blackberry.  In the end, whether it did or didn't, I don't know.  The cake is delicious, that's all I need to know. Though, I would be curious to try it without the cinnamon.

Blackberry Cake

Lightly adapted from the recipe here at Salt and Chocolate.  You can definitely trade the almond flour for regular flour.

1 cup or 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups cake flour
1 cup almond flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup of sour cream
1 cup of blackberry preserves (not jelly)

1/2 cup of blackberry preserves or jelly
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 300F. Spray a 12 cup bundt cake pan with non stick baking spray. 

In a bowl combine the flour, almond flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda and set aside. 

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and scrape down the bowl after each egg. Add in the vanilla and beat until combined. Add a 1/3 of the flour into the butter mixture alternating with 1/2 the sour cream beating after each addition. Beat in the blackberry preserves. Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 300 for 15 minutes then increase the heat to 350 and bake for 40-50. Or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn it out.

While the cake is cooking heat the blackberry preserves in a small sauce pan until melted and then remove from the heat.  Pour into mixing bowl and blend in powdered sugar. I used my canned jelly for the glaze,  I heated a bit more than half a cup and strained out the seeds.  Beat the jelly with the powdered sugar until it is the consistency that you want.  It should be pourable but thick enough not to run too easily.  Pour on the cake while the cake is still hot.