Archive | January, 2012

How To Cook Southwestern Chicken Chili Soup

25 Jan

Southwestern Chicken Chili SoupWith temps dropping all day, that meant it was a day for soup.  Or chili.  Or maybe both, because I wasn’t sure which to call this dish I threw together for dinner tonight.  I wasn’t even going to blog about this but Alexis liked it so much I changed my mind.

Southwestern Chicken Chili Soup


2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 cup onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes and green chile
1 can corn kernals, drained
1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp roasted cumin
1/4 tsp dried lemon peel

Preheat a large stock pot over medium high heat.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.  
Add butter and oil to pot and brown chicken for 4-5 minutes.  Remove to a plate.
Add the diced onion and saute for 3 minutes.  
Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Deglaze the pot with balsamic vinegar.
Return chicken and any juices to the pot.
Add remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. 

Avoid crowding the pot when browning chicken.  If you can get all the chicken in with one layer, do it in two batches.
Garnish with crispy fried tortilla strips or masa dumplings.

The onset of darker nights and colder temps cause some folks to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).   I have to admit I am not as enthusiastic about getting out to cook when it’s already dark when I get home from work.  According to the Mayo Clinic, light therapy is a common treatment for combating the effects of SAD.  


How To Cook Garlic Soup

7 Jan

Garlic Soup How to prepare Garlic Soup Recipe? Here’s a garlicky version of French onion soup: all the onions are replaced by garlic and shallots. Double or triple the recipe for larger meals or servings. It makes 4 servings. Follow the directions:



•4 garlic heads
•8 medium shallots, peeled
•3 tablespoons olive oil
•4 cups (1 quart) beef broth
•1⁄4 cup brandy orCognac
•2 teaspoons stemmed thyme
•1 teaspoon salt
•1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•4 ouncesGruyere or Emmentaler

1.Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to400°F.
2.Slice 1⁄2 inch or so off the top of the garlic heads so that all the cloves are exposed. Place them on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with 11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil, and seal the packet closed. Roast in the oven until the cloves are as soft as room temperature butter, about 40 minutes.
3.At the same time, place the shallots in a small, shallow baking dish; drizzle with the remaining 11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil; and roast until browned, caramelized, and softened, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
4.Remove both the garlic and shallots from the oven; cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
5.Squeeze the soft pulp out of the garlic heads and into a large saucepan. Roughly chop the shallots and add them to the pan. Stir in the broth, brandy orCognac, thyme, salt, and pepper. Set the pan over the heat and bring to a simmer.
6.Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly for 45 minutes to blend and soften the flavors. To serve, grate about an ounce of cheese into each of the bowls. Ladle the soup over the cheese.
Variations: Substitute dry sherry, dry vermouth, dry Madeira, dryMarsala, or red wine for the brandy. Rub several baguette rounds with olive oil, then toast them until crunchy. Place in the bowls, then grate the cheese over them; ladle the soup around and over the rounds.

Garlic Broth: Simmer the soup as directed, then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth or a large coffee filter into a medium pot. Reheat over low heat, then serve with or without the cheese.



How To Make Summer Salads

3 Jan

Summer Salads

As we are still in the height of Summer here a few suggestions on wonderful French recipes.Salad Nicoise is known to all of us with dried or fresh anchovies, hard boiled eggs, provencal black olives and its special dressing, usually served in a hand made and hand decorated ceramic oil bottle.

Another delicious salad is ‘Salade Provencal with Warm Anchoiade’. It takes just 20 minutes to prepare and looks wonderful served in a ceramic bowl made right here, the Provence, as well.

For a salad serving 6 people you need 2 quarts of mixed salad greens (crisp, sweet leaves like romaine, endive and iceberg are best), 8 hard boiled eggs, shelled and quartered, 8 medium tomatoes or plum tomatoes, quartered, 1 large salad onion, thinly sliced, 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced, 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced, 1/2 cup small black olives packed in brine, drained (preferably Grossane olives from Provence if you can get them), 1 cup high-quality olive oil, 30 anchovy fillets, rinsed, drained and chopped, 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin, 1 rounded tablespoon of capers, packed in brine, drained, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, freshly ground black pepper

First you combine everything from the salad greens to the drained olives, toss it and set aside.

Take a small saucepan and gently warm the mixture of anchovies and half the olive oil over medium heat while constantly stirring it, for about 5 minutes until the anchovies form a thick paste.

After you remove it from the heat, add black pepper, and stir in the capers, garlic and vinegar. Gradually stir in the rest of the olive oil. Use at least half of the warm dressing for the salad you prepared before and refrigerate the rest. You can reheat the rest of the dressing and use it another day with lovely oven roasted vegetables or as a dip for raw vegetables.

This lovely salad served in a large ceramic salad bowl and then divided into smaller bowls, again hand made and decorated in the Provence, will not just taste delicious but also look wonderful. A mix of the strong colours of the Provence….the greens, yellows, reds from places like Vallauris or Aix-en-Provence.

As we all know, eating is not just about the actual taste of things but mainly about atmosphere, hence the suggestion to serve Provencal dishes in hand made. French tableware, just the same as you would serve Pasta on Italian cookware and Pollo al Ast on Spanish ceramics.