Angel Food Cake with Strawberries and Fluff

Angel Food Cake with Strawberries and Fluff

Have you ever been pressed for time to throw together a dish to pass and panicked? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t think of anything to bring! I was worrying about a get together I was attending a couple of weeks ago, and this cake popped into my brain. I used my favorite fruit dip as a frosting rather than a dip. The outcome was delicious!

brad-nierenberg-strawberry-cake

Esmé, over at The Recipe Hunter, was gracious enough to include my cake recipe on her food blog. I hope you’ll visit her blog and give it a try!

 

Advertisements

Chicken Thighs: Budget-friendly and Delicious

Chicken Thighs: Budget-friendly and Delicious

I happened upon this video from Epicurious last week and then gave it a try using items already in my fridge and pantry. It’s brilliant…simple, delicious, and looks like I spent hours. I’ll be trying more combinations over the coming weeks. This will be the best 2 1/2 minutes you’ve ever spent! Watch it!

Lemon Rosemary Chicken Thighs with White Beans

p1080551

Ingredients
8-12 chicken thighs
1 fresh lemon, thinly sliced
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, slivered
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
Salt, pepper
2 cans white beans or 2-3 cups dried beans you’ve soaked and cooked

p1080558

Directions
Please rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Arrange in 9×13 baking dish. Brush top of each piece with a small amount of olive oil.

Spoon beans around chicken. Space out the slivered garlic. Tuck in the lemon slices. Pour liquid so that it comes about halfway up the chicken. Leave tops exposed. Lay rosemary sprigs around dish.

Bake in top half of oven until chicken browns, about 30-45 minutes.

It was really that simple!

For a more exotic way to prepare chicken, try spicing things up with chipotle and ancho chili!

Brad’s Stromboli, That’s Amori

Brad’s Stromboli, That’s Amori

If you are a Stromboli aficionado, please don’t be offended. I know I broke a few rules, but honestly, this recipe I whipped up is delicious. Like it’s relative, the pizza, you can use whatever ingredients you’ve got on hand. I highly recommend you get a bit adventurous and try a few new combinations.

IMG_3440

This is where the purists will pitch a fit…

I used my French bread recipe as the base. Most recipes call for a pizza dough, but I like the sweet, chewy texture of the French bread I make, so I took culinary license!

Follow the recipe linked to below, but STOP when you get to the directions for punching down the risen dough and separating it into two halves.

French Bread Recipe explained in excruciating detail with photos!

Ingredients for Filling
2 packages or 1 pound sliced Black Forest ham
1 package sliced pepperoni
1 package or 1/2 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
1 package or 1/2 pound sliced provolone cheese
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 egg, beaten

Directions
While your dough is rising, prepare your filling ingredients. I sliced and sautéed a green pepper in some olive oil. If you wanted to use spicy sausage, you would cook, drain, and cool it. You could slice and fry up an onion.

IMG_3436

Roll out dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle. Layer cheese, meat, and vegetables. For my two Strombolis, I used mozzarella, ham, and peppers on one and I used ham, pepperoni, mozzarella, and provolone on the other. Season with salt and pepper. Roll tightly. Please on cookie sheet and brush on egg wash.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Baking time will vary depending upon your oven. Let it sit for a few minutes before slicing. Serve with a small dish of pizza or red pasta sauce for dipping. Please note I did not spread sauce inside of the Stromboli before baking. I was worried it might get a little soggy after sitting. Since the recipe makes two, any leftovers are easily wrapped in tin foil and reheated later.

IMG_3439

How do you like your Stromboli? Please share your preferences!

“New” Cuisine is Not Always Better

I love retro foods, so when I stumbled across Mary’s delightful website Old Fashioned Recipes, chock full of oldies, but goodies, I hit the jackpot! She provides recipes for award-winning chocolate cake, creamy scalloped potatoes, chicken pot pie, and much more!

Mary was kind enough to include one of my favorite family recipes for my grandmother’s banana cake. It’s nice to know gram’s cake recipe found an audience among people who love simple, yet delicious home cooking.

If you’d like the recipe to Banana Cake with Penuche Frosting or to browse similar fare like your Gramma used to make, then be sure to visit her site!

I Hit the Jackpot! Expiration Date Lamb

I Hit the Jackpot! Expiration Date Lamb

Some people regularly hit the clearance racks at their favorite clothing stores, but not me. My stomping grounds are the local meat counters on the lookout for deep discounts. When meat is close to its expiration date, the price drops. I see it as a great opportunity to save money on groceries and try new recipes!

My most recent bargain – boneless butterflied legs of lamb. Since lamb is one of my favorites, I grabbed both pieces and gleefully brought them home as visions of stews and kabobs danced in my head!

I threw both packages in the freezer until I started craving some stew.

Lamb Stew à la Bradley Nierenberg

Ingredients

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp flour
1-1.5 pounds lamb (trimmed and cubed)
Salt
Pepper
1 medium onion (halved and thinly sliced)
2 cups carrots (peeled and cut into chunks) (Full disclosure: I used two ginormous carrots in this stew…my chunks of meat are much larger than they appear next to the carrot coins!)
5-6 sliced baby portabella mushrooms
5-8 bay leaves
2 tsp. rosemary (dried or fresh)
1 cup chicken stock

Directions

IMG_3161

Trim and cube lamb. Season with salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil in heavy bottomed pot. Brown lamb.

IMG_3162

Sprinkle browned cubes with flour.

IMG_3163

Cook 2 minutes longer, stirring so that it does not stick. Remove lamb with slotted spoon and set aside.

IMG_3164

Add a bit more olive oil to the pot and saute onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Reincorporate meat.

IMG_3165

Add bay leaves, rosemary, salt, pepper. Stir.

IMG_3172

Add chicken stock. (Tip: As you can see in the photo, I added too much chicken stock and it never thickened up. I think 1 cup will be perfect. but, if you want more “gravy” then use 2 cups but add more flour.) Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer covered until lamb is tender. This takes about an hour. Uncover and continue to simmer until ready to serve.

Season as needed. Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or polenta.

What’s in your favorite lamb stew? Please share your recipe with us!

Not Your Momma’s Chicken and Rice

Not Your Momma’s Chicken and Rice

I was in the mood for chicken and rice last week but wanted a healthier option than I grew up with as a kid. I looked through my pantry and fridge for what I had on hand and typed a few of my available ingredients into Bing. Batta-boom. Chipotle Braised Chicken and Rice with Zucchini courtesy of Epicurious was just what the doctor ordered. I have included a link to the original recipes. I made a few twists and turns of my own. If you give it a try, let me know what adaptations you make!

Chipotle and Ancho Braised Chicken

Ingredients

1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leafs
1 T butter
salt
pepper
1 1/2 T olive oil, divided
3-4 pounds chicken quarters
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili pepper
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1 T fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

IMG_3088
Cook onion, garlic, and bay leaf in butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil with 1/8 teaspoon salt in a skillet over medium heat until onion starts to cook down and caramelize, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

IMG_3087

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in remaining tablespoon oil in and transfer to a plate.

IMG_3091

Stir in chile powders and onion mixture into pan and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add stock and simmer.

IMG_3093

Place chicken back in, and ladle some of the onions and broth over each piece. Cover and look on low 25-30 minutes. Turn once or twice to get flavor over entire pieces. Transfer chicken and onions with a slotted spoon to a platter. Skim off and discard fat from sauce, then boil until slightly thickened. Stir in lime juice and cilantro and spoon sauce over chicken.

Zucchini Rice

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice
1 3/4 cups cold water
3 T vegetable oil, divided
1 T coriander seeds, slightly crushed
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini cut into 1/2-inch rounds, then quartered
1/2 cup chopped mixed cilantro, parsley, and mint
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions

Cook rice and water with 1 T oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 50 minutes. Place in bowl to cool down.

IMG_3094

Saute coriander and cumin in 2 T oil in skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes.

IMG_3096

Add garlic, zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute until zucchini is crisp-tender, and slightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

IMG_3097

Toss zucchini with rice, chopped herb mixture, lemon juice, pecans, and salt and pepper to taste.

This made a delicious and healthy dinner if I do say so myself. I hope you will share your favorite chicken and rice dish! Please leave a comment and remember to friend me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/brad.nierenberg.9 and Twitter https://twitter.com/GourmandBrad

Buon appetito!

Vacation Vittles – Pizza, Seafood, Sausage

Vacation Vittles – Pizza, Seafood, Sausage

I spent last week on Hilton Head Island. I love that place. So many great spots to eat! In a slight departure from my usual topic of home cooked goodness, I thought I would share some of the yummy dinners I dined on.

If you frequent Hilton Head, some of these places might be familiar. Feel free to let me know what your favorite HH restaurants are so I can try them on a future vacation.

Il Carpaccio

IMG_3070

If like me, you fell in love with pizza in Naples, Italy, then you will understand that even though fresh seafood is the specialty on Hilton Head, I cannot leave the island without at least one pizza from Il Carpaccio. The thin, charred crust and delicate fresh tomato sauce is the closest I’ve found in the U.S. to the real thing. I chose the vegetarian this visit. Artichoke hearts, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini tasted fresh and delicious.

I sometimes go off menu and ask for prosciutto, Gorgonzola, pine nuts, and pear or some other combination I tried in Italy. They are very accommodating!

The Carolina Crab Company

IMG_3073

You absolutely, positively cannot leave Hilton Head without trying a Low Country Boil. If you’ve eaten a LCB in some other state, you will be in for a delightful surprise when you try one from the region where it originated. What you cannot see in this image of yumminess is the loaf of hot bread I used for dunking in the flavorful broth. I’ve never tried to make my own boil, I know the timing is essential for each added element. I have a feeling it takes practice to get it right!

The Skull Creek Boathouse

IMG_3072

Skull Creek Boathouse is a favorite with locals and tourists. It has a huge outdoor dining area that looks over the tidewaters. The view is wonderful. The food is even better. I tried coco scallops with a pineapple salsa. The creamy coconut sauce was delicious when pared with the heat of the jalapeno and sweetness of pineapple atop the perfectly seared scallops. I plan to start experimenting with my own versions of this delectable entree. It was one of those meals that had I been in the privacy of my own home, I would have licked the plate clean!

Street Meet

IMG_3075

I usually get a Hoffman snapper at Street Meet, but I could not resist this Cleveland specialty sandwich. Who could pass up grilled kielbasa on a hoagie bun, then piled high with fries, creamy coleslaw, and barbecue sauce? Certainly not I! Accompanied by their own fresh cut potato chips, this was an explosion of flavor in my mouth! The combination of sweet slaw with salty fries and meat was pure heaven. This great little bar/restaurant doubled in size a few months ago so there is now ample indoor seating.

What food vacations have you enjoyed lately? Fee free to post a few pictures with descriptions and links to the restaurant!