Archives for August 2010

A Hikers Meal!

Hey ya’ll! My blog is in the process of getting a make-over, so I waited a couple of days to post some recipes…SO SORRY! Anyways…I just want to thank my awesome sister for spending hours tricking my blog out…yep, I know you wish your sister was just that cool! She is such an awesome sister that she dragged me off the couch for our first summer adventure (I know summer is ending, but we have been busy little worker bees all summer: WORK+SCHOOL=NO VACATION). Well, on Friday morning we decided to change up our normal gym routine and instead, go for a nice hike on the Barton Creek green belt. I naturally assumed that Les had mapped out our quest…but Les just likes to go with the flow. This is where we run interference because I am a very schedule-oriented and planned type of person, etc. The hike started off wonderful…we were all psyched up! Les was carrying her cute Vera Bradley backpack w/ our water and lunch packed in it, and I was shooting tons of pics of the scenery. Then the hike started to get really adventurous as we traveled off the trail and began hiking up hills. I knew Les knew where we were going…she has an awesome sense of direction. However, I started to freak out because my brand new Nike tennis shoes were getting trashed (totally should have worn my junky shoes). Then I saw a huge snake skin and tripped over about five different rocks. Needless to say, I had a panic attack…but as we headed back to the start Les and I were in tears laughing at my first encounter with the wilderness. Once we arrived back at the starting point, Les and I sat and enjoyed our lunches on the bank of Barton Springs. All in all, the experience was fantastic…special thanks to my sister for teaching me how to “loosen up” and step outside of the box. Yesterday finally felt like summer, and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Okay, so after my long back-story, we came home and I made a huge pot of tomato sauce with chicken, shallots, and garlic. I call this my “Hiker’s Chicken Stew” because after the hike, Les and I were nearly famished and needed something hearty to eat for dinner. This meal definitely did the trick…and as a plus I got to use my brand new Martha Stewart dutch oven. I was soooo excited. Now, this stew is really rustic, with lots of different herbs…but you can adjust to your liking. It’s delicious so…MANGIA, MANGIA, MANGIA!

4 pieces of chicken thighs (I ordered mine from the butcher counter, they were boneless, but still had a little fat on them for flavor…you can use chicken thighs with bone and skin still intact)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
2 14. 5 oz. cans of Whole Tomatoes (I used no salt added b/c I like to add my own salt)
1 14. 5 oz can Diced Tomatoes (I used no salt added)
1 14.5 oz can Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
3 TBS Tomato Paste
Fresh herbs: Basil, Italian Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary
1 head of garlic (mine had 17 cloves in it!)
1 shallot, whole
1/2 c. White Wine (I used an Italian Moscato, but you could use a red wine if that’s what you prefer)
Grated Parmesan, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper the chicken.
2. Heat a dutch oven (I used a 5.5 qt), or an ovenproof skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil and butter. When the oil/butter is hot add the chicken thighs to the pan. Using tongs, brown the chicken on both sides, about 2-4 minutes each. Remove chicken from pan and place on a plate.
3. Pour in the wine and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any of the greasy chicken bits. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Bring sauce to a boil, then remove from heat.
4. Add plenty of the fresh herbs to the pot (I tore off handfuls of the herbs and dropped them in, you can chop them if you want…but I find it easier to just drop em’ in).
5. Add the cloves of garlic (peeled but whole), whole shallot, and chicken thighs to the pot.
6. Put the lid on the pot and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parmesan.

You could easily serve this dish over some angel hair or penne pasta if you prefer. Or, you could just fuh-get-about the utensils and use a toasted loaf of garlic bread to sop up the goodness!

And on his farm he had some corn…(for cornbread, of course)!

Okay, so my sister has become intolerant to just about every sort of food you can think of. What can I say? She has horrible allergies, especially when it comes to certain dairy products…she basically lives off of soy milk. However, lately she has been changing up her diet to find out what has been giving her stomach aches…this week’s culprit is gluten, or wheat, that is. Anyways…she needs to eat food without wheat in it, which is a problem, because everything she eats has wheat in it…cereal, bread, oatmeal, etc. etc. So…what do I do in a time like this? I get inventive in the kitchen of course! I begin to play with dishes that often call for flour and use substitutions…in this case I decided to tackle cornbread…one of Les and my favorite things to eat. I’m sure it all began with our trips to Black-Eyed Pea when we were little…to this day I still slather mine with butter and crumble it into my broccoli cheese soup…hey! don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Today I made a Mexican inspired cornbread that is made with yellow stone ground cornmeal and canned corn…it’s also made with soy milk because of Les’ lactose intolerance. Anyways…it came out terrific…dense and golden brown. I hope y’all enjoy it! Ole!

2 c. yellow stone ground cornmeal (I used Lamb’s)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
2 eggs
2 c. soy milk ( I used plain, unsweetened soy)
1 15 oz. can whole kernel sweet corn (I used Libby’s naturals, you could use creamed corn in the lactose version)
1 4 oz. can mild diced green chiles
1 4 oz. can nacho sliced jalapenos (I used Hatch brand)
2 TBS butter

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Whisk together wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture using a spatula (this includes the jalapenos with their liquid, and the green chiles).
4. Stir until combined.
5. Grease a cast iron skillet with the butter and place on the stove top over medium heat.
6. Pour the cornbread mixture into the skillet.
7. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees. (I let the cornbread bake on the stove for about 5 minutes until the oven was ready).
8. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Take the skillet out of the oven and allow cornbread to cool (or you could just cut a piece really quick like I did and eat it with butter and maple syrup: YUM!)

This would be a great dish to serve along side any type of “comfort” meal…I’m thinking BBQ or chili…but hey the sky is the limit! Enjoy!