Saturday, November 27, 2010


Like all home cooks, I fall into certain cooking patterns. Throughout the week I stick to the easy stuff - a good bison burger or something I can cook fast and serve with pasta or rice. There are also the "make your own" nights, a chance for everyone to eat the leftovers of their choice or something they want from the convenience food section of my pantry. Weekends are for experimenting on new dishes, and full meals at the table - steak or rotisserie chicken. This dish is a yummy weeknight quickie, and is also perfect for tailgating or picnics. And it is Steeler football season!!!

When I first tried this my tongue had one of those celestial choir moments. What is it with garlic and herbs and me? Holy heck it's good! I gobbled my sandwich, mopping the sauce with my bread and craved seconds. I called Mira to see what she thought, and before I got a clear answer she was holding her plate out asking for more. It looks like this one is a keeper. I think I could fit this on my rotating schedule - maybe for Thursdays.

2 pounds of chicken cubed into 2 inch squares
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine seasonings, oil, vinegar and lemon juice into a plastic bag and add chicken. Marinate for at least 24 hours. When ready to cook, arrange cubes of meat on soaked bamboo skewers and grill until golden brown, but don't overcook as the marinade has already cooked the meat partially. I doubled the marinade and set half aside as a condiment or baste for the meat. Serve on Italian bread alone or with shredded lettuce, onions and tomatoes and a drizzle of sauce.You can also use the meat to top a salad.

Spiedies are native to New York state and were originally made with lamb. You can use veal, beef or pork too.

Spiedie Sauce on Foodista

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I have been searching for healthy and filling meals to pack in my little red lunch bag for work. Picking a recipe for lunch is an art in itself. Too heavy and I will be staring off into space instead of keeping production and using that brain. Too light and I will be furtively searching through my drawers for something chocolaty to tame the munchies. This tasty salad seemed to be the perfect choice.

1 cup water
1/2 cup whole grain bulgur
zest and juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 7-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Boil water and pour over bulgur and let sit until water is absorbed and bulgur is cooled. In a small bowl combine lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic and seasonings mix. Pour over cool bulgur and add vegetables and toss. Serve on a bed of lettuce with a nice whole wheat pita.

Tabbouleh on Foodista

Sunday, November 14, 2010

City Chicken

This Pittsburgh favorite is a meal-time-machine back into the 1930s. Imagine yourself feasting with the family at the table set with Fiesta - kind of like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. On the place is budget-friendly home cooked food like mashed potatoes, canned peas and chicken with gravy. Wait, chicken is too expensive. Make that city chicken, chunks of pork or veal arranged on a stick to resemble that expensive chicken leg.

It's hard to believe that at one time, chicken was more costly than veal or pork and was saved for that special Sunday night dinner. City chicken is best known in the big cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the Depression. You can still find packages of pork and veal with sticks sold as "city chicken" at the butcher shop. It is delicious, and even tastes a bit like chicken. But then, that's what everyone says about all unusual food, right?

City Chicken
2 pounds veal or pork (or both) cut into two inch chunks
3/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
3/4 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cups canola oil
2 tablespoons arrowroot (or cornstarch)

Beat eggs and milk and place in a small tray or bowl. Combine flour, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, paprika and set aside in another small tray or bowl. Place four or five chunks of pork or veal, or alternating chunks of both on a stick. Dip stick into egg mixture, then roll in breadcrumbs until well coated. When all sticks are coated with breadcrumbs,  place on a dish and cover with foil and set in the refrigerator for at least one hour to allow the breading to set. Preheat oven to 350F. Add canola oil to a hot skillet and brown the sticks on all sides. When brown, place sticks on a 9x12 baking dish. Pour chicken broth over top and cook in oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until tender. When done, remove sticks to a dish and cover with foil. Take pan dripping and pour into a sauce pan and heat to boiling. Add arrowroot mixed with a bit of water and thicken into a gravy. Serve sticks with gravy.

City Chicken Recipe - Chicken Recipes on Foodista

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

Meatless Monday is a worldwide initiative to help people improve their health my cutting out meat for one day a week. As someone who has been hard at work overhauling her diet into something less refined and lower in saturated fat, the idea was something I was very interested in. The only problem - I adore meat and usually find anything other than a double cheese pizza or gooey grilled cheese as being meatless purgatory.

The rumors are true - I was the kid with the poodle who secretly ate all my vegetables. Beans had to be pulverized into creamy hummus before I would even look at them. And forget green beans - they squeaked when I chewed them. Yick! So how to do this? How to eat vegetarian and not feel punished? That my friends is the big question. If you are going to work hard and give up the unhealthy food, you need to be sure that each meal is spectacular and doesn't taste like a compromise. Into the kitchen I went, stocked with beans and veggies. With spoon in hand and full of trepidation, I took a bite. What's this? It tastes...delicious! Can you believe it??? I actually had seconds. Yes, Karen, the hater of the vegetable world has eaten beans and enjoyed them. Maybe you will too.

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
5 cups kale, washed, ribs removed
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into thin disks
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetarian broth (or three 14.5 cans of Swanson's Vegetarian Vegetable)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Bunch kale and shred into 1/2 inch slices and set aside. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Saute onions, carrots and celery until softened and onions are barely translucent. Add garlic and saute for 5-10 seconds until fragrant. Be sure not to overcook the garlic. Add broth, kale, beans and seasonings and cook on low for about 30 minutes. Serve with crusty whole grain bread.

White Bean and Kale Soup on Foodista