Thursday, October 23, 2014

Squash and Mushroom Bake

Yea…it’s Potluck theme again and I am bringing a casserole to the party. This week I have another recipe from Nigel Slater’s cookbook Eat. It’s a lovely squash and mushroom bake that’s super easy to put together.

It’s very pretty as it emerges from the oven, the cheese and béchamel bubbling up, coating the veggies within. Alas, when you spoon it out on your plate it isn’t a lovely site at all.

Tastes great but once scooped from the baking dish it doesn’t have visual appeal. The mushrooms give this casserole a very earthy flavor, lots of tastes mingling with the melty cheese. It’s quite good and we will have it again.

It was a nice side kick for the potatoes and lamb.

If you ever want to serve to guest and keep the aesthetic appeal you best put this into ramekins to bake and serve individually.

Look at that gooey cheese covering the roasted mushrooms and squash........

Here is the recipe – I modified a wee bit.

Several Summer squash, cut into thin slices
Roughly 8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced in chunks
6 ounces of a cheese mixture, I used Monterey and cheddar
Salt and pepper
Basil leaves
Béchamel sauce


Heat a small amount of olive oil and sauté the s slices until browned. Do the same with the mushrooms and add basil leaves, seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste.

Now layer the squash, mushrooms and cheese until you have several layers. Since I used a smaller dish I only had two layers. I, am after all, cooking for two and not a large group.

Make a quick béchamel sauce or use a store bought variety. Pour a cup or so over the veggies. Bake at 375 F for a half hour.

This is my contribution to I Heart Cooking Club this week. Check out the delicious fare at the link above.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wine Wednesday - Valreas Cotes du Rhone
{The last wine review for 2014}

We like a good Cotes du Rhone and this label proved to be a good one to add to our wine cooler.

Incredibly rich and deeply purple in color, a pleasant red berry aroma and taste of slight mineral and intense berry. This holds up to other Cotes du Rhone labels we have enjoyed in the past yet it costs far less than we have spent on other good Rhone wines.

Are you ready for the kicker with this one? It was a mere $5.99 at Trader Joe’s store in Tallahassee. I don’t know how they manage to acquire so many good wines for such low prices but hey….I am thankful.

This will be my last Wine Wednesday report for a few months. See you with more wine selections in February next year!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lizards, burgers and books

See this little guy? There were two of them trapped between our bathroom window and screen. I thought I would try and rescue them, toss them outside so they could live. The first one got away. I had it by the tail and he jumped, leaving me with a wiggling tail as the rest of him scurried away under the door where the towels are kept.

This resulted in me hanging this sign on the door to the toilet. No one wants that sort of surprise, having a lizard jump on you when you are doing your business.

Both lizards have since been removed to the outdoors. We're all happy about that.

Vacation means sitting on the patio. We've had some nice days to sit outside and eat. Here is an excellent grilled burger, mozzarella tomato and mixed green salad tater tots, an indulgence. The burgers were only $3.49 each so what a savings on a lunch out. Doug just popped them on the charcoal grill.

After lunch we read, watched the birds, chill out.

Bookish Talk.....Recently I have enjoyed:

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Broadchurch by Erin Kelly
Eat by Nigel Slater
Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Currently reading Diana Gabaldon's latest book Written in My Own Heart's Blood.

The plans for vacation are loose but we have gotten to the theater and watched Gone Girl and it was good. The book was also good and had more detail but, I can't complain about the movie. We also made it to Talon once (so far) for some target shooting. Haven't been on the range in a while. Getting in some crocheting and lots of reading too! Doug has been fortunate enough to be out with his telescopes several times, weather has been decent excpet for that bugger of a storm we had last Tuesday.

That's about it here, hope all is well in your world.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Arroz Con Pollo from One Pot

Comfort food. That's how I feel about foods I prepare in my Dutch oven. Recently I had the opportunity to receive Martha Stewart's latest cook book One Pot. It's amazing!

The first thing I made from this book is Arroz Con Pollo. My husband proclaimed it was the best Arroz con Pollo I have ever made. Now that's a big compliment and I can say, I loved it too.

This base is a breeze to prepare and it will fill your kitchen with tantalizing aromas as it simmers.

Mixed greens, mozzarella and tomato salad made a good side. You don't want to take away from that main dish.

Recipe follows but if you'd like to see the complete book review check me out at Novel Meals.

Arroz con Pollo in a Dutch Oven


1/2 cup dry white wine
Pinch of saffron
6 chicken thighs
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 fat cloves)
1 large tomato, diced
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock, plus more if needed
1 1/2 cups short-grain rice, I used Valencia
1 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine wine and saffron; let stand until ready to use. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Flip, and cook until golden brown, 2 minutes; transfer to a plate. Drain all but 2 TB fat.

Reduce heat to medium, and cook onion and garlic, stirring often, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add tomato, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Stir in wine-saffron mixture, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the bay leaves. Cook until wine is almost completely evaporated, 8 minutes.

Stir in stock, rice, and olives; Nestle chicken into rice, skin side up. Bring to a simmer, cover and transfer to oven. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 or 25 minutes.

If you get your hands on a copy of this book you will love it. Thanks for coming through again Martha!

This is my 9th book in the Cookbook Countdown hosted at Kitchen Flavours.


I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gluten Free Recipes in 30 Minutes Cookbook
{Misleading Title}

I will list the Pros and Cons:

Looking over the recipes you'll find many that can not be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes. Since the title is Gluten-Free Recipes in 30 Minutes - one would think that half hour includes prep and serving time.

*Honey-Barbecue Wings actually has a 49 minute cook time and that doesn’t include the prep. You are meant to boil the wings for 9 minutes, drain then transfer to a baking sheet for 25 minutes more, then turning the wings and baking an additional 15 minutes.

*Same with the Spicy Buffalo Wings recipe. Total time, as above, equals 49 minutes and that doesn't include any prep time.

*The Three-Bean Chili may be prepped in under 30 minutes but it’s a slow cooker recipe and this takes 8 to 10 hours. It gives the option to use a Dutch oven or stockpot but this cook time is 3 hours.

*The Beef and Shallot Stew also takes hours to cook – 4 to 5 hours in a slow cooker and 2 hours in a stock pot.

*Spicy Turkey Chili is another slow cooker recipe (or you can opt to cook on the stove-top for 1 hour.)

*Almond Butter Frozen Yogurt takes over 3 hours after you prep and cook the required ingredients.

*Herb Roasted Chicken takes an hour and half.

*I was going to make the Maple-Lime Chicken but I realized I needed to marinate it for one hour. So I decided to plan and make it the following evening. Then I noticed the discrepancy in the description which mentions chicken breast and in the ingredient list which mentions chicken thighs.

The cooking time states to cook for 2 minutes each side in a pan and then bake for 15 minutes or until done. We all know thigh and breast meat cook for different times but I also know breast or thigh meat will not cook in 15 minutes. I abandoned trying this one.

I did try the Cinnamon-Raisin Baked Apples. The prep is certainly under 30 minutes but the bake time was not. The recipe calls for a bake time of 15 minutes or until they are very tender.

Well…….I baked the apples for 30 minutes and checked on them. Still not done. After 45 minutes we decided to eat the baked apples. We need a knife to cut through them. They were just OK so I won’t make them again.


We added a dollop of Cool Whip and that was nice….but didn’t take away from the fact that these weren’t tender as expected.


This book is divided up into chapters explaining how a gluten free diet works, the advantages and necessities for those with celiac disease and those who are wheat intolerant.

I liked the section explaining how to make your own gluten-free flours such as quinoa flour, almond flour and an all-purpose baking mix. I don't know if the recipes are accurate though as I had trouble with one recipe straight off. (See Baked Apple recipe above)

There are also conversion charts, a list of Gluten-free brands and resources at the end of the book.

There are many recipes which you can actually serve in under 30 minutes such as the soups, many of the appetizers and all salads. Mac and Cheese and many seafood recipes are also under 30 minutes. That is not the case with all recipes though.

I just felt that the title is misleading because you get the initial impression the meal is ready in 30 minutes. That is in the TITLE of the book.

Overall, you would be better served to check this out of the library first to see if it's for you before parting with your money.

I won this book from LibraryThing.

This is my eighth book in the Cookbook Countdown hosted at Kitchen Flavours.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

French Cooking - Chicken Chasseur
{#7 Cookbook Countdown}

I am plowing through these cookbooks in an effort to get through shelves and clean up a room at a time. That can seem a lofty goal sometimes. Slowly but surely, I will get organized!

The cookbook French by Carole Clements and Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen is #7 in my Cookbook Countdown. I have turned to this book many times and it's among my very favorite cookbooks.

Chicken Chasseur is one of the recipes from this book I've prepared often. Yes, it's that good.

This recipe is a classic, quick to prepare and a true comfort meal.

Chicken Chasseur

1/4 cup flour
3 pounds chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
3 small onions
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
3/4 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped OR 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper

1. Put flour in plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. One at a time, drop chicken pieces into bag and shake to coat with flour.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole. I used my beloved Le Creusuet. Fry the chicken over medium heat, turning as necessary. Transfer to a dish to keep warm after all pieces are cooked.

3. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. fat from pan. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until golden, stirring frequently.

4. Return chicken to casserole and add to the onion mixture. Add wine and bring to near boil, then stir in broth and tomatoes.

5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat until chicken is tender and juices run clear.

I usually double the mushrooms - they are soooo good.

This is another great recipe from the French cookbook by Carole Clements and Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen.

This is my seventh book in the Cookbook Countdown hosted at Kitchen Flavours. I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Eat by Nigel Slater

I just can’t believe the last 6 months have gone by so quickly. Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we were preparing and sharing Nigel Slater recipes from March of this year until now. His six-month reign is over after this week as a new chef has been selected. Diana Henry will be headlining for the following six months.

But I will miss Nigel. The theme this week is Cheerio as we are giving Mr. Slater a sendoff. For me, I will continue whipping up recipes from my newest acquisition Eat. We’ll always have Potluck at IHHC, won’t we Nigel?

Since a friend of mine received this book for Christmas last year she was kind enough to share a few of the recipes with me early. I have already made Marmalade Chicken from this book as well as Pork Chops with Figs. (Thanks for the preview Mrs. L. ! )

My first pick from my copy of this book is a spaghetti bake. The main recipe calls for bacon, garlic and cream but there are other variations for this dish on the preceding page. I decided to combine two of them and add mushrooms.

Ingredients and Directions:

Cook 1 pound of spaghetti or bucatini until al dente. Drain, cool in colander under running water and set aside. Cut 12 slices of smoked bacon or ham into finger think pieces.

Peel and thinly slice 4 cloves of garlic and cook with bacon until bacon is crisp. Toss in a few handfuls of sliced mushrooms and cook until softened. Now they have bacony goodness saturating them – yum!

But drained pasta into bowl with 1 2/3 cups heavy cream and ¼ cup vegetable stock along with the bacon, mushroom and garlic mixture. Toss it together and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle lots of parmesan cheese over the top and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.


I won’t say Cheerio to Nigel as I know he will be a regular for my Potluck contributions. Love this book.

This is my sixth book in the Cookbook Countdown hosted at Kitchen Flavours. I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin