Archive for January, 2012

Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemon

January 30, 2012

This started out as chicken noodle soup but when I went to grab the homemade stock from the freezer it wasn’t there.  So be it!  The mirepoix was ready so I deglazed with some white wine, threw in the chicken breast left over from a rotissery chicken, added herbs, olives, some preserved lemon and a small can of red kidney beans.  By the time the pasta was cooked al dente the chicken sauce was ready and dinner was served.  The preserved lemon and Spanish olives was the perfect addition for salt and tang.  The chicken was moist and tender with hints of fresh sage and rosemary.  Garlic bread, a simple Romaine salad with a lemon vinaigrette and a bottle of Chardonnay topped off the meal.  Amazing what can be created at a spur of the moment.  I will remember this improvisation next time I have to cook for company.  Quick and easy wins the day.

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Arepas – Latin Cornmeal Pockets

January 5, 2012

Arepas are a gift from Venezuela and Columbia.  However, they are found throughout the Latin countries and the Caribbean.  They are made of  precooked cornmeal, either white or yellow with very fine granules, sometimes called Harina de Maiz, not to be confused with Masa Harina which is used for tortillas.  Arepa flour, Instant Precooked Cornmeal,  is available in Latin and Caribbean markets.  P.A.N. and Goya are two common brands.  If you can’t find Instant Cornmeal, look for Instant Polenta in the Italian isle of major supermarkets.

The traditional recipe is instant cornmeal, salt and boiling water, fried on a dry griddle and baked in a hot oven until they sound hollow when tapped.  IMUSA has an electric arepa maker that browns and bakes them in about 10 minutes depending upon their thickness.  The Imusa Arepa Maker can be found at Target stores and  They’re also available direct from Imusa.   read more

Quasado (Crustless Spinach Quiche)

January 1, 2012

This is one of those recipes my Mom made frequently.  We often had quasado with tomato soup on cold wintery days or with chicken soup at night.  Mom always served this as a nibble at card parties and she was lucky to have any left for the family…everyone loved this dish.

Quasado, pronounced kwah-shah-doh, is a Sephardic Jewish dish of spinach, feta cheese, garlic, onion, parmesan cheese and lots of dill.  Make it in a pie plate, or muffin cups for easy to wrap and pack in lunchboxes.  The flavors are Mediterranean with a moist spongy center topped with crunchy browned parmesan cheese.  The same recipe can be made for appetizers by simply spreading the mixture over a 7X11 inch rectangular pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake as directed below and cut into fingers or squares.

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