Retro Recipes and Traditional Fare

ImageFor this recipe I defrosted two chicken breast halves overnight. And with a jar of capers from the pantry, I thought I'd make a simple chicken piccata. I chose to use one of my favorite flours, Wondra. It gives such a unique coating to meats when pan fried. It's usually used for making gravies because it dissolves instantly without forming lumps, but as the name implies, it works wonders on just about anything.

To serve with this quick meal, I had a bunch of white asparagus I bought last week. I know they're not in season in the Northeast, but at least they were from California. And they were on sale too. The spears of asparagus, steamed just until tender but with a little crunch, nicely complement the pan-fried chicken. If cooked just right, the breasts should be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Make sure you let the breasts rest, like with any meat, so that the internal juices redistribute. This recipe is easy to do and so rewarding at the table.

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splitpeasoupThe day after Easter I always find myself with a huge pot of leftover ham stock. In my family we traditionally eat boiled ham and eggs for the holiday. It's a very simple meal that I look forward to every year. I love hard-boiled eggs, so Easter has always been a favorite time of year, because I get to eat all the foods I love, including chocolate. But what to do with all the leftover ham stock? My mom typically makes ham and bean soup, but in the past few years I've started my own tradition of making ham and split pea soup.

Since we're already enjoying spring with the suddenly warm weather, it might seem out of place to be making soup. But actually this in-between brisk weather has me craving a soup like this. Fresh peas will be in season soon, but until then split peas are a wonderful substitute. The ham stock is immensely flavorful and works well in this soup. You could also use chicken or vegetable stock. If you have leftover ham, cube it and add it to the soup near the end of cooking time.

Enjoy this Easter leftover soup!

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bund.pumpkin.whole November 15th is National Bundt Day. Duty calls. I need to make a bundt. I am trying to stay seasonal, so what would make the most sense? You guessed it, pumpkin! When I want to make a bundt, my first stop on the internet is always Mary’s blog. She could be considered the queen of bundts and boy does she love pretty much all things bundt related.

She recently posted this recipe for Sour Cream Pumpkin Bundt which she got off of the Libby’s website. I would never in a million years think to pull something off of a branded website.

Since reading Mary’s post, I have actually perused a few of the sites, just to see what their ideas are for the holidays. Some interesting, some not so interesting. Yet, none the less, good info and always inspires new ideas.

Regardless, this cake is a winner. And as I have mentioned in the past, bundts are easy and they are always a crowd pleaser. This one certainly pleased a crowd. I made three minor alterations to the recipe. I added dried cranberries to the streusel, cut back a little on the streusel ingredients, and replaced sucanat with white sugar.

We are having friends for brunch Thanksgiving weekend. I may just have to make this again!

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fetadipWow, I was exhausted yesterday.  Somehow the kid's first day at school wore me out.  I'm not sure how that happened since all I did was sit around and wait for them to come home while I talked a bunch of jibber-jabber on Facebook

By mid-afternoon I was tired.  Doing nothing can suck the life out of you.  I decided I only had enough energy to make dip for dinner.  So I whipped up this Feta Pepper Dip.

However, as the dinner hour quickly approached, the responsibility of being a mother and a wife extinguished my extreme lack of motivation.  I am happy to report chicken and salad made it to the table along with this awesome dip.

Here's whatI love about it...the salty feta, with the slight heat of the pepperoncini and the tang of the lemon zest make a tasty little treat. The end all is to it up with barbecue chips.  The barbecue chips are really a must here, the sweetness of them adding another layer of flavor.

But I'm also thinking this would be some kind of heaven slathered on a grilled lamb burger.  That just might be lunch for us today.

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Smoked salmon is one of those things nobody ever told me about until I was grown up. I mean, I guess I heard about it, but it was food beyond my reach. It never appeared in our kitchen; in small-town Illinois, it seemed exotic.

Other things I didn’t see much of included calves’ liver and oysters but when I tasted them for the first time, I knew it would be the last. I had quite a different reaction to silky, seductive smoked salmon.

I’ve never been able to convince my children of the virtues of smoked salmon: they have thus far refused to taste it. If you have a more open-minded group at your house, try this sandwich—it’s pretty great.

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