Pass Along Recipes

In reflecting back over some of my favorite recipes, I realized many of them came from good friends that had shared food with my family and me when one of us happened to be under the weather.  There is nothing better than a prepared dish delivered to my home when I am in need.  The taste always seems better, probably because it is made with love and caring.  I am a great believer that our emotions infuse our food as we stir those pots or chop those ingredients.  Did you see the film “Like Water for Chocolate”? It takes this same idea and and weaves it into the storyline.  ( I am in the early stages of my blog, and I have already recommended two films…..hmmm…..guess what my other passion happens to be!).

Don’t you find cooking to be therapeutic?  When I am cooking and preparing food for others or even for myself, it removes my self absorption, replacing it with a selflessness, the concentration being on the recipe and its outcome, and the comfort it may bring to those enjoying the food.

So, this is a pass along recipe my friend Melodie shared after she brought this delicious dish to my home, “looking after” me.  I’m sure this won’t be the last recipe from Melodie.  I always enjoy an invitation to her table to share in All of This! and her incredible culinary skills.chicken pasta

Chicken and Pasta

Mise en place
1. About 2 large chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch slices
Salt and pepper the chicken. Sprinkle some oregano over them, too.
Dredge in about 1/3- ½ cup flour.

2. Cook ½ to 1 lb. linguine in salted water under al dente.  Drain, reserving about 1/3 cup pasta water.

Cut 2 ¼ inch thick lemon slices.
Chop ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, draining the tomatoes.
Peel and mince 4 garlic cloves.
½ tsp. capers
Pinch crushed red pepper
1 cup dry white wine
about 1 cup heavy cream
1 package fresh spinach

Preparation

Heat a 12-inch skilled over high heat until very hot.  Add 2 Tbls. olive oil. When oil begins to smoke, add the chicken pieces.  Cook until pieces are seared on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove chicken to a plate and keep warm, leaving oil in the pan.
Add the lemon slices to the pan and cook until caramelized, about 1 minute per side.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, capers, and red pepper flakes, and sauté for about 1 minute.
Add the white wine and cook until reduced to a glaze.  Return the chicken to the pan with the cream, and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Add the spinach in bunches until the spinach wilts.  Add the linguine.  Cook, tossing to combine linguine and sauce, just until spinach is wilted.

Side Note #1…When I prepare this recipe, I remove the lemon slices from the pan after they are caramelized. I also choose not to flour the chicken, but use the s&p and oregano liberally then continue with the recipe.  It’s all to your taste!

Side Note #2:  This can easily be a vegetarian dish by omitting the chicken and adding tofu.  Prepare in the same method as the chicken.

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Eggs with a Twist Part 2. Or…… Time to Harvest your Basil!

I have discovered yet another twist to a tried and true recipe, actually, make that two, when they are combined.  Deviled eggs and pesto….yes, you read that correctly.  These two marry to create a delightful new taste to a couple of old favorites.  Besides, it really is time to harvest your basil, and pesto is the perfect way to freeze that fresh taste of summer.  Also, it’s tailgating time, and deviled eggs are an integral part of the pre-game feast. Use your favorite deviled egg recipe and substitute your pickled relish with pesto and, presto!, you have an appetizer or side dish that will command raves.  I use a roasted red pepper pesto because I’m not sure how to make a Carolina Blue pesto.  It’s your choice or your team’s colors.

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Pesto Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

6 hard boiled eggs
3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 to 2 teaspoons pesto

Preparation

Scoop out the hard boiled yolk from the eggs.  Using the tines of a fork, mash the yolk and add remaining ingredients.  Using a small spoon, dollop the ingredients back into the egg white halves.  Garnish with toasted pine nuts, petite basil leaves or paprika.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Ingredients
• 2 red peppers, halved and roasted
• 1 garlic clove
• ½ cup of basil
• ¼ cup shredded Parmesan
• ⅓ cup of pecans, toasted
• 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
• salt & pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Halve and seed the red peppers. Roast in oven for 15 minutes with the inside side down. Flip them over after 15 minutes and roast for another 15 minutes on the other side.
3. Remove from oven and place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes. {this will keep the heat in the bowl and make it easier to remove the skin}.
4. After peppers are finished resting, remove the skins and set aside.
5. Put pecans in a saute pan and toast until just fragrant. {about 7-10 minutes}
6. In a processor put, roasted red peppers, garlic clove, toasted pecans, shredded Parmesan cheese, basil, salt and pepper. Blend together.
7. Slowly start to add olive oil {depending on how you like your consistency} to the pesto mixture.

 This freezes well.  It is delicious tossed with pasta.