Monday, January 30, 2012

Google Plus (G+) For Dummies Part I

**THERE HAVE BEEN MANY CHANGES TO G+ SINCE THIS SERIES WAS POSTED, BUT THE BASICS ARE PRETTY MUCH THE SAME - If you need to contact me with questions or concerns, please click HERE

Well, At least what this dummy knows so far....

As most of you probably know by now, Google is doing away with GFC (Google Friend Connect) as of March 2012.  So.... If you are currently using GFC as the primary tool for people to follow your blog/website, what do you do?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tex-Mex Chicken Chili Soup

We love just about any kind of chicken soup and I make a myriad of variations, depending on my mood at the time. It could be Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Wild Rice, Chicken Minestrone, Chicken with Matzo Balls and of course, the old standard, Chicken Noodle.  But there's one that I make more than any other and that's Tex-Mex Chicken Chili Soup.

I've been craving a hot comforting bowl of homemade soup since I had my little battle with bronchitis/pneumonia and I finally felt well enough to make a pot. It's a healthy, hearty soup and it uses ingredients that I generally have in my pantry. It's one of Hubby's favorites because it's a great vehicle for hot sauce and cheese.

It looks like a lot of ingredients, but I can assure you that it's really easy to make. It's also very low in fat and contains lean protein from the chicken and the beans. The veggies are vitamin rich and the beans are an excellent source of powerful antioxidants. You really can't go wrong with this one... It's low fat, delicious and good for you!

I have plenty left to freeze for another time, but let's hope it isn't because one of us needs it to help ease an upper respiratory onslaught!

Tex-Mex Chicken Chili Soup
  • 2 - 3 Cups Chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 28oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 - 2 Qts Chicken Stock or Broth
  • 1-2 Tbls Light Olive Oil or Canola Oil
  • 1 Red or Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Lg Onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 - 2 Large Cloves Garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 Can Niblets Corn
  • 1 Can Mild Chopped Green Chillies
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbls Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbls Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbls Adobo Seasoning
  • 2 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
You can change out the veggies and the type of beans you prefer, but these seem to work best for the flavors that I'm looking for.

The Adobo (I use Goya) seasoning adds a nice richness to the soup that it seems to lack without it. You can also use fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, thyme or even a little finely chopped rosemary. Just go easy on the cilantro or rosemary. They are very strong herbs and could easily overpower the other flavors in the soup.

I start by cooking the carrots in a couple of tablespoons of olive or canola oil because they take just a bit longer than the other vegetables. I then add the bell pepper and the onion and saute them until they are just starting to soften and give off a bit of liquid.

I add in all of the seasonings directly to the softened veggies so that they have a chance to lend their rich aroma and flavors right from the start.

The chicken and the corn go in next...

Then the tomatoes...

Next comes the stock...

And finally, the drained and rinsed beans.

I let the soup simmer on medium to medium low heat for about 30 minutes, but it can go longer at a lower temp if you have the time.  If the broth seems to dissipate and the soup gets a bit too thick, you can add in a cup or two of chicken stock or water as needed.

Serve the soup with shredded cheese, chopped herbs or scallions or if you're feeling decadent, a big dollop of sour cream!  Crusty bread and a green salad round it out and make it a hearty, healthy, delicious meal!



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Friday, January 20, 2012

Women In Food ~ Alex Guarnaschelli's Pork Meatballs

Welcome to the first-ever installment of Women In Food!

For centuries the food world has been dominated by men, but that's beginning to change. I have immense respect for the talented women who've made it to the top of the proverbial food chain in today's culinary world.

I hope to be featuring one of these incredible ladies who are boldly and deliciously paving the way for new generations of female chefs, food writers and industry entrepreneurs on a regular basis. The plan is to provide you all with a little background, maybe some video and certainly lots of delicious recipes throughout the series.

(If you'd like to know a little bit more about why it is that I admire these ladies so much, just click HERE)

Update: I've had to put this series on hold for the time being. I'd like to bring it back at some point in the future, when I can give it the attention it deserves.

So, Without further ado, this month's Woman In Food is...

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli

Executive Chef:
415 Lafayette Street NY, NY
The Darby
244 W 14th Street NY, NY

Alex's Book


Alex's Pork Meatballs
  • 2 pounds lean ground pork (not too lean), cut from the pork shoulder 
  • Kosher salt 
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes 
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 2/3 cup packed curly parsley with stems, washed, dried and chopped 
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, toasted 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon for testing 
  • Alex's Mother's Marinara Sauce, recipe follows

Add the meat to a large bowl, spread it out and season with salt, to taste. Add the remaining ingredients leaving the bread crumbs until last. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Create a small patty and test it in a small saute pan in 1 tablespoon of oil. When browned on both sides, taste and re-season the meat mixture, if needed. Roll the mixture into about 20 to 25 or so balls that are about 2 inches in diameter.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, shut off the heat to avoid splattering, add the meatballs in a single layer and spread them somewhat apart so they have a chance to brown instead of steam. You may need to do this in batches.

Brown the meatballs, over high heat, turning them so they brown all around. Treat them like hamburgers and cook them until they are medium-rare, about 3 to 5 minutes. Touch them to make sure they are still tender in the center. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to remove them from the pan to a tray and cook off the remaining balls, if needed.

Add the meatballs to the hot tomato sauce and allow them to bubble slightly and simmer over very low heat for a few minutes. Shut off the heat and allow the mixture to rest for a few additional minutes before serving.

Marinara Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled, halved and diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled, halved and cut into thin slices
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 cups water, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup basil leaves, washed
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, the garlic, red pepper flakes, and sugar and season with salt, to taste. Stir in the carrots and reseason with salt. 

Cook for about 2 minutes, and then add canned tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add half of the water to prevent the veggies from getting too dry and continue cooking another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. 

The tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors coming together. Add remaining water, as needed, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. The sauce cooks about as long as it takes to make the meatballs from start to finish, about 45 minutes. Stir in the basil leaves and season with Parmesan.

Alex's Bio:
(courtesy of Food Network)
There are few American chefs, much less female chefs who can boast staying power in Michelin-starred restaurants. Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli can boast indeed — she embarked on a culinary journey in France and ended up working in some of the country’s top restaurants including esteemed chef Guy Savoy’s eponymous three-star kitchen. 

Not surprising for the daughter of esteemed cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, who spent her childhood surrounded by food. Guarnaschelli learned to eat according to whatever book her mother was working on at the time: one year was devoted to Indian with Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni; another year was devoted to Italian with The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
"My mother was always coaxing me from my ‘Barbie land’ under the dining room table to peel potatoes, knead bread or assemble a trifle,” says Guarnaschelli, who jokingly continues, "what else could a seven-year-old have wanted from life?"
This early emphasis on her palate truly shaped her future in food. On the day of Guarnaschelli’s graduation from Barnard College in 1991, she decided to explore her culinary interests and began working under the tutelage of the acclaimed American chef and restaurateur Larry Forgione.
Forgione encouraged Guarnaschelli to travel and expand her skillset, so she obligingly moved to France to do a work-study at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy. After school and traveling throughout France, she moved to Paris to begin a four day stage at the Michelin three-star restaurant Guy Savoy. Four days turned into four years with Guarnaschelli rapidly being promoted to sous chef at La Butte Chaillot, another Savoy establishment. “The first three months were terrifying — imagine being a young American woman in charge of a French kitchen with 10 young, male cooks under you? Professionally, it was a life-changing experience,” she says.
After seven successful years in France, Guarnaschelli returned stateside. Though she left the country, she maintained her connection with the cuisine, joining the venerable Daniel Boulud at restaurant Daniel, where she quickly rose through the ranks to become sous chef at the Manhattan standard. Always looking to expand her culinary knowledge, Guarnaschelli moved to Los Angeles for two years to join Joachim Splichal’s Patina Group, where she worked at the acclaimed Patina restaurant in West Hollywood before moving to New York to open Splichal's first New York City venture.
In 2003, Guarnaschelli was given the opportunity to expand her repertoire and become the executive chef at Butter Restaurant, where she would create her own eclectic American and green market-inspired menu. In addition to her restaurant work, Guarnaschelli inspires budding chefs as a Chef-Instructor at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Guarnaschelli is also helming the kitchen of the NYC modern dining and cabaret concept, The Darby.
Chef Guarnaschelli has appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef America as both a challenger and a judge, a reoccurring judge on the popular primetime series Chopped, along with her own shows, The Cooking Loft, as well as Alex’s Day Off launching in October 2009.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Pork with Peach Whiskey Glaze (updated)

I'd started this post before I got sick and just forgot about it until today. We had this for dinner on the 5th of January, I think??  I'm definitely feeling better than I did a few days ago, but I'm still not quite up to making a full meal for dinner. I might try something simple tonight, though.  Maybe a big pot of Chicken Tortilla Soup??  I'll keep you posted. So here ya go....

Lately, it seems like we've been eating mostly chicken or pasta of some kind and I wanted something different.  I knew that I had a couple of pork tenderloins in the freezer and because I have a few different ways to prepare them that are super easy and really tasty, I knew I'd find something to do, but I found that each recipe that popped into my head, left me missing one or more of the key ingredients that I'd need and I really didn't want to go out to the store.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Got Chicken Soup" Redux, An Update and Some Blog News

Before I get to the rest of this post, I want to say a ginormous Thank You! to everyone for all of the good thoughts, wishes and prayers that you've been sending my way.  I appreciate them and all of YOU more than I can say.

The Update:

I saw the nurse practitioner at my doctor's office Tuesday afternoon and the verdict was a nasty case of bronchitis that (according to her) was rapidly headed towards an even nastier case of pneumonia. Hopefully though, with the script she gave me for Zithromax and a little... OK, a lot of rest, I should be well on the road to recovery in the next couple of days.

The cool mist vaporizer, the boxes of Kleenex, the Mucinex and the Ibuprofen are helping too, of course. Oh... and copious amounts of water, which of course has it's downside. (remember how I mentioned having shortness of breath going from the family room to the loo? yeah, that.) I really am being a good girl and following orders, but since I still feel kinda like a limp noodle, I don't have much choice.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lamb Recipe Redux - I'm Down For The Count

Leg of Lamb

Howdy Kids...

I hope you don't mind, but today I'm directing you back to a recipe that I posted back in May 2011. I'm about 99% sure that I have pneumonia and I just don't have it in me to cook anything, let alone do a big old post about it.  According to my stats, it's the second most viewed recipe on this blog. (I'll re-post the first at a later time)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A New York State of Mind - (and Bagels) STMUSS

Good Saturday Morning All!

Yep. You guessed it.  It's time for one of my favorite parties - Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday!

Since we're all about food here at GATAB, I thought I'd start with a little food video that has ties to the music videos I'm posting today. This place is considered by many New Yorkers to have the best bagels in in the city. (I don't know what the little "offside" thing with the 2 guys is about, but this was the most informative clip I could find on Youtube about Ess-a-bagel)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

There are as many versions of Pasta alla Puttanesca as there are cooks who prepare it. It's one of those recipes that varies by region or family or availability. The basic ingredients can usually be found hanging around in any Southern Italian cook's pantry. Spaghetti is the most common pasta used in the dish, but you can use any pasta that you prefer. Tomatoes, capers, onions, anchovies, garlic, good olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes and olives, all have pretty bold personalities, but the beauty of this dish is that the flavors marry so well when they're combined, that none of them really overpowers the other.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's Scary In Cyber Jail!

Google Images
To paraphrase the immortal words of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, "The rumors of my blog's death have been slightly exaggerated".

If you happened to stop by Tuesday afternoon or evening, looking for a recipe or maybe just to say hello, and instead found a screen saying "This Blog Has Been Removed" please allow me to apologize. Well, in all fairness, Google is the one actually making apologies at the moment.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Au Gratin Potatoes

Well, I promised to post the recipes for the sides that I made for our Christmas Eve Rib Eye Roast, here they are....

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