Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BB: Chicken Chili

This will be recipe #2 in the Barefoot Bloggers Challenge. It was well after dark before I finished it and served it, so the photography is pretty bad. I was expecting a Chicken Chili to have beans in it, but no, this was something totally different and unexpected.

Chicken Chili
(2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, All Rights Reserved)

  • I halved the recipe.
  • I added an extra clove of garlic ... mosts recipes are written to be "safe" in the garlic range, so can be upped without overdoing it.
  • I can't buy canned tomatoes here (all for the best, I think) so I peeled a pound of tomatoes, put half of them through the blender and mashed the other half with my potato masher.
  • For serving, I topped the chili with yogurt and mozzarella cheese

  •  4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
  • 1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and large-diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For Serving:

  • Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream

Cook the onions in the oil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute.

 Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor, fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times).

 Add to the pot with the basil.

 Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked.

 Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4 inch chunks.

 Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.

 Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.


I have already put this recipe on my rotating menu.  I hollowed out a mound of rice and poured a large scoop of chili down into the middle ... and it was FANTASTIC!!  I topped the chili with some grated cheese and a big dollop of yogurt (my standard sour cream substitution).  It was even better the second day.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

BB: French String Beans

I read last week about the Barefoot Bloggers Challenge ... to cook from 1 to 5 Iva Garten recipes (all listed at the "challenge" link) and post them this week.  I checked over the recipes that had been chosen for the challenge, and they all sounded fantastic.  'Why not?' I thought, 'we have to eat'.  As usual, cooking and eating the recipes is not the difficult part ... blogging them has turned out to be the challenge!!  I have had some major uploading problems recently, but with some late night work (when our satelite dish seems to get a stronger signal), I am beginning to catch up

I seldom buy green beans here ... the usual variety that are available in the market have VERY strong threads in them, and are difficult to prepare.  And no matter what you do, you end up with little strings stuck between your teeth.  Anyway, I must have been meant to make these because they featured stringless green beans in the vegetable section of the Maxi-Bodega this week, really fresh nice ones, so I bought a pound with this recipe in mind.

French String Beans

  • I have no idea if the beans were French, but for sure they were not "string" beans ... 
  • I didn't have yellow bell peppers (although I will soon ... I have a couple of plants of yellow bell peppers grown from some seeds that I took from a yellow pepper when I was visiting Mom in Canada, and there are a couple of ripening peppers already), so used only red.

  • 1 pound French string beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, large, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, large diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, large diced
  • Good olive oil
  • Freshly grated black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for just 4 minutes.

Drain immediately and immerse in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When they are cool, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the onion and bell peppers together with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, tossing with a spatula from time to time to be sure the vegetables roast evenly.

 Just before serving, reheat the string beans in a large saute pan drizzled with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange on a platter. Spoon the roasted vegetables over the string beans and serve hot or at room temperature.


 Excellent! Simple and fast to make.  Delicious!! The oven roasted vegies added an incredible burst of flavour to the crunchy green beans. This recipe has gone into the file to teach to the cook at Gringo Perdido.


Friday, November 6, 2009

CEiMB: Linguini with Shrimp

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was chosen by Farah of Confessions of a Novice Baker.

I love shrimp.  I have been looking forward to splurging on a package of shrimp to make this dish.  And it didn't disappoint!

Linguini with Shrimp


  • instead of linguini, I used a Tri-Color Vegetable Pasta
  • I upped the garlic to 3 cloves ... I love garlic
  • I used only 3/4 of a pound of shrimp, which I bought peeled, deveined and frozen.  I would have bought them with shells, if I could have found them, because I think that, even frozen, they retain more flavor if they are with shells.
  • the white wine that I used was actually the last part of a bottle of cooking wine ... I can imagine that the dish would have been even better with a decent quality wine.
  • asparagus is unheard of in Peten, however, I had just made a very tasty green bean recipe the day before, and had half of the beans left over, so decided to use them instead.
  • I had no parsley, and don't actually like parsley all that much, so I used a mixture of half fresh chopped cilantro, and half fresh chopped basil.
  • I had no cherry tomatoes, so I chopped up a couple of Roma tomatoes.

  • 3/4 pound linguini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bunch asparagus stalks, trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the linguini and cook according to the directions on the box.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high flame.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute

Add the shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

Add the lemon juice, white wine and the reserved cup of water to the skillet.  Let simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.

Salt and saute the asparagus.  cut into 1-inch pieces.

Return the shrimp to the pan

and stir in the parsley.

Add the drained linguini to the shrimp mixture, tossing to combine.

Add asparagus and tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Delicious!  I never would have chosen to make a pasta with that combination of flavors.   However, I have learned that there are a lot of unlikely flavor combinations that are incredibly delicious.  This combination of garlic, lemon and wine are a perfect background for the shrimp.  The slightly crunchy (stringless) green beans were a perfect foil for the pasta, and also combined well with the lemony flavor.  I made one error in that I must have overcooked the shrimp a bit ... it turned out more chewy than I would have liked (or maybe it had been sitting frozen at Maxi-Bodega for way to long, its hard to say with shrimp here).  I made an interesting discovery when I didn't reheat the noodles before adding the sauce, and they were so cool that everything cooled right off.  E. said that he thought that it was a pasta salad (which would be okay, except that he doesn't really like salads).  I found out later, when we had it served hot, that that was not only because it was cold, but because the dressing reminded him of salad dressing.  And when I thought about it, I realized that yes, it is a dish that could quite easily be served cold with excellent results.

If I am lucky enough to have some fresh shrimp, I would definitely plan to make this recipe again.


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