I am so happy that you have landed in my little corner of cyberspace. If you join me here, you will, hopefully, get to know a little about me. You will read my thoughts, my hopes and dreams, and see some of my favorite things. I hope you will visit often. I will try to update it regularly and hopefully you will see an improvement in the blog along the way. Thank you for stopping in to see me as I travel on this journey called "life"!













Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Around the house - Outdoor edition

Good Morning!

I hope you all had a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.  Ours was busy and hot but we got a lot accomplished and we squeezed in some fun with the family and now we begin preparations for another insanely busy week coming up.

Since I can't seem to tell you about the grilled pizza or the Strawberry Shortcake or the fruit dip or the housewarming party or the grandgirl's first birthday party, I thought I would show you what is going on outside my doors.  The inside of my house is still a mess; but, the outside makes me extremely happy.  I hope you enjoy it, as well.



















Now, if I can manage to not get eaten alive by the ravenous flying bugs here in New England, I will be all set.

I'm linking up for the first time here with Sidewalk Shoes for Garden Tuesday.
  
Won't you join us?

Have a happy Tuesday!  I'm going to prepare for my baby's high school graduation. 

Where are my tissues?


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Some things are simply fabulous....



As if they weren't good enough already, 
Lindt added a coffee flavored one.

simply.fabulous.

This photo is being linked up
HERE for Mellow Yellow Monday.

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Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Green Chile Cilantro Sauce

Yes, it's true.

I'm almost a month late with sharing the Cinco de Mayo inspired recipe with you.  You aren't surprised, are you?   Every day is the right day for Mexican though, isn't it?  We certainly think so in our household.

Just think.... you will have a head start on next year's Cinco de Mayo festivities!   You can practice up between now and then because I wouldn't wait that long to make this particular dish if I were you.  I'm certainly not going to wait that long.  I am looking forward to making it again.....particularly the sauce.  It's that good.


When I made this for Cinco de Mayo this year, I had been thinking of making some sort of stuffed chicken breasts for quite some time.  I had some plain goat cheese in the fridge and thought maybe I would use that with some spinach and sundried tomatoes and make something Italian with pasta as the side or maybe make risotto again.

Then Cinco de Mayo loomed and I had a half eaten bag of blue corn tortilla chips that were not fresh enough to enjoy with salsa or guacamole.


And I was able to score some marked down veggies at the store that were just begging to be roasted like grape tomatoes...


and bell peppers and poblano peppers and since I was going to roast them, I added a shallot and a head of garlic which I wrapped up in aluminum foil on the tray.


And I knew that I had to put them all together and create something unique and wonderful and Mexican inspired.  Instead of turning to the blogosphere this time for inspiration, I turned to a cookbook.  

{via}
Inside this book, Bobby shares Grilled Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese with Green Chile-Cilantro Sauce.   What a great starting point!  I knew that I wouldn't grill them since we weren't set up for grilling except for a mini Foreman grill at that time. I knew that I would change up the recipe for the goat cheese stuffing and use the roasted vegetables....but the sauce....it would be great just the way it was...well....almost...I thought that roasted garlic would be an improvement over the raw that he called for.   See, even Bobby Flay...who could cook anything for me any day, by the way....is not immune to my changing his recipes.  (I know you are laughing at me, Mary!  I can hear you from here!)


I like to think I improved it.  It was absolutely fantastic.  I certainly cannot imagine his version tasting as good as mine did.  You will want to make it yourself to see....particularly the sauce.  Did I mention how wonderful it was?!

So I present to you....

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Green Chile Cilantro Sauce
Adapted from Bobby Flay's Grilling For Life

Green Chile-Cilantro Sauce:
2 poblano chiles, roasted and peeled*
1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, roasted
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T water
2 tsp grated lime zest
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

*Note: There are lots of ways to roast veggies in the oven and on the grill. Google that and you will find the way that works best for you.  I'm all over the board with how I've done them over the years. Since moving to NH and having to use my convection toaster oven, I rubbed the veggies with olive oil and sea salt and placed them on a foil lined tray at 450 degrees until the skins were blackened, turning them often. 

Combine the roasted peppers, onion, garlic, lime juice, water, zest, honey, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.  While the motor is running, slowly drizzle in the oil and blend until emulsified.  Add the cilantro and blend until smooth.  If the sauce appears too thick, thin it by adding a few tablespoons of cold water. (Note: I did not have to add any water.) The sauce can be made up to 1 day in advance, covered and kept refrigerated.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts:

4 oz. soft goat cheese
2 bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped, roasted tomatoes
Shallot, roasted and chopped
1/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (You can pound these out until they are thin or butterfly them.  David butterflied these for me.)
Weber Tex Mex Dry Rub Seasoning
Smoked Paprika
Crushed Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (optional)

Combine goat cheese, roasted peppers, roasted tomatoes and Monterey Jack cheese in a small bowl and set aside.  

Butterfly or pound your chicken breasts until they are thin.  Spread the goat cheese mixture on the chicken breasts and either fold one side over if you have butterflied them or roll them up, if you prefer.  Secure them with toothpicks.

I crushed tortilla chips and mixed some of the seasoning with the chips and attempted to dredge the chicken in the mixture.  It failed.  The chips wouldn't stick but the seasoning heavily coated the chicken.  I was a little afraid that it would be too salty so I attempted to scrape some of the seasoning off where I could.  That appeared to work because once I tasted the chicken, it was perfectly seasoned.  Next time, I will leave the tortilla chip idea by the wayside and just sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning.  That would be way easier and we honestly didn't miss the chip coating.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.

Remove from the baking pan and drizzle with the Chile-Cilantro Sauce.  I served this with Cilantro Lime Rice and sliced avocado.  This was definitely a keeper!



This post is being linked up here for Savory Sunday,
here for Not "Baaad" Sundays and
here for Hungry? Recipe Swap Sundays.

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful long weekend.  I'm going to try to take it easy today and catch up on some blog reading.  At least that's the plan at this time.  See you soon!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Asian Fiddlehead Salad

 Fiddleheads....

Have you had them?  From the comments that I have received on the blog and in email in response to my Wordless Wednesday post here, it seems that I'm not the only one out there who has been deprived of these wonderful little delicacies.  Moving to New England has opened up all sorts of doors for me to experience new things over the past six months.  Fiddleheads are, by far, one of my favorites.

Fiddleheads are the rage this time of year in New England. They are the tightly coiled frond of the Ostrich fern and given their name due to their resemblance to head of a fiddle.


 They are only curled up for a couple of weeks and then they uncurl into the beautiful fern leaves that we have all seen so the window of opportunity is short to enjoy them.   From what I've read about them, that they closely resemble some other ferns so you have to be careful which ones you pick.  My stepdaughter and her Chef Husband enjoy foraging for them so maybe they will take me someday so that I, too, can make sure that I grab the right ones.  I love the idea of picking things wild and eating them; but I am aware enough to know that I need to be particularly careful of that. 

Fiddleheads are rich in Vitamins A and C so they are a very healthy option to add to your diet if you can find them available in your area.  I had been told that their taste most closely resembles that of asparagus so that I could prepare them and use them in the same way.  I read up on them that they were kind of bitter and that some people experience gastrointestinal upset if they are not cooked enough.   I probably cooked ours too long but with the amount of work that we have to get accomplished every day, I couldn't be too careful.  I cleaned them really good under running cold water and put them in a pot of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes.  I took them immediately out of the water and plunged them into an ice water bath while I prepared the rest of the meal.

David got the grill all set up for the first time since moving to New England and I had some chicken thighs that begged to be sacrificed on that altar for our enjoyment.  What better dish to go with grilled chicken than a salad.  Since we have a mild Asian food addiction and often use asparagus in those kinds of dishes, I decided to go that route.  I had some szechuan barbecue marinade in the pantry that needed to be used up so a dinner idea was born.


Last week, I had prepared a recipe for Sweet and Spicy Cucumbers that I had gotten here off of Renee's Eat.Live.Blog.  They were amazing!  It was one of those recipes that I've made in this time of transition that I have not had an opportunity to share with you.  No time for pictures....no time for blogging.

The only changes that I made to her recipe was to use rice wine vinegar instead of white vinegar and I had an English cucumber instead of the pickling ones.  I served it with pulled pork sandwiches and they were a huuuuge hit with the people here helping us move.    

I had more of the forbidden black rice that I had told you about previously so I threw that with the fiddleheads, a few other veggies, peanuts and Renee's fabulous dressing and it was wonderful.

So without further adieu, I give you....

Asian Fiddlehead Salad
Adapted from Eat.Live.Blog

For the Salad:

Fiddlehead Ferns ( I have no idea how many that I had....maybe 1/2 lb.)
Baby Carrots, diced
Green Onions, chopped
1 cup black rice, cooked (you can use brown)
Chopped Roasted Peanuts, for garnish

Wash the fiddleheads gently under cool running water.  Add to a pot of boiling salted water and cook about 5 minutes or until they are done to your liking.  I have heard that they will possibly give you intestinal upset if you do not cook them long enough.  My mother-in-law says that she doesn't cook them very much and they are fine.  

So...use your discretion here.

Once they are done, plunge in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.  

In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, chopped carrots, chopped green onions and the fiddleheads.  

For the Dressing:
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. Salt
2/3 cup Rice Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Sugar
Sriracha, to taste (I used quite a bit as we like things spicy!)
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste

Mix the ingredients for the dressing together in a separate bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts just before serving.  You can serve this immediately or refrigerate it to chill and serve it later.  If you serve it later, hold off on adding the peanuts until you serve it.  I served it immediately and it was delicious.  We had leftovers the next day and they were delicious, as well. 




This post is being linked up here with the
Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, here with  
What's Cooking Wednesday,  
here with Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday
and here for Seasonal Sundays

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you are having a wonderful day!



Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers 















Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yum...



 
 This post is being linked up 
here for  Wordless Wednesday.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Edible Backyard...

My backyard is full of dandelions.  You can't eat more local than that...









These photos are being linked up
HERE for Mellow Yellow Monday.

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Thanks so much for stopping by.   I hope to resume posting more frequently soon. Have a great day!