Monday, October 30, 2006

Irish Coffee

Authentic Irish Coffee
We had incredible weather during our travels to Ireland earlier this month. Most days were in the low 60's farenheit and it rarely rained. But, on our last couple of days in the Emerald Isle, it finally did rain and it got what do you drink when it's raining outside? Irish coffee, of course. And yes, you have to use authentic Irish whiskey for this. Jameson is probably the best one; however you can also use Irish Mist--which I prefer. Make sure the coffee is strong and hot (like my husband, hee hee) and that you use real fresh whipped cream, not the canned type. Cheers!

INGREDIENTS (makes 1 delicious serving)

  • 1 oz. Irish whiskey or 1-1/2 oz. Irish Mist liqueur
  • 3 sugar cubes
  • 1 cup black coffee, strong and very hot
  • Fresh Whipped Cream
  • 1 heat-proof glass mug or Irish Coffee mug, pre-warmed

Using a pre-warmed heat proof glass mug, add the measure of whiskey together with the sugar cubes. Stir in the hot coffee to about 3/4 of the way up the glass. Float a couple of heaping tablespoons of the whipped cream on top. Don't stir the coffee, just serve and drink immediately. If you want to be even more authentic, you can buy Waterford Crystal Irish Coffee mugs.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Tomato Chutney

Slogar's Tomato Chutney The tomato season is almost over here in Southern California and an excellent way to keep that summer taste during the winter is to jar your tomatoes, or make this delightful tomato chutney. My sister-in-law gave me a jar of Slogar's famous tomato chutney from Crested Butte, Colorado and it was delicious. The malted vinegar gives it an extra kick. You can flavor up your chicken or even pork, with tomato chutney. However the way I was told to eat it was with cottage cheese. You can also make extra delicious bruschetta with this tomato chutney. Yummers!

INGREDIENTS (makes about 4 cups)

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 lb ripe tomatoes clean and chopped
  • 1 cup Onions, chopped
  • 6 oz Sugar
  • 4 oz Malt Vinegar, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Place one tablespoon of vegetable oil into a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the tomatoes and onions and cook gently on medium-low to release the tomato juices. Simmer for 20 - 30 minutes until tender.

Add the salt, paprika, cayenne and half of the vinegar. Simmer for another 45 minutes or until chutney begins to thicken.

Add the sugar and remaining vinegar, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Continue simmering until the mixture becomes thick, stirring occasionally.

Once chutney is done, let it cool completely. Pour into warmed sterilized jars, cover and label. Leave for 3 - 5 weeks to allow the flavor to mature.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

French Brie Sandwich

Brie Sandwich
On our recent trip to Paris, my husband and I were in total awe of the beauty of the City of Light. We had no idea how enormous and inspiring the Louvre was, and I think we both had epiphanies’ after our Notre Dame visit. However one of our most memorable moments in Paris was this brie sandwich we had at a little corner pastry shop near place des Pyramides. Mom @ the French patisserie shop in ParisThis sandwich is so simple, yet it was all we could talk about after we ate it. It was the most delicious thing we've ever had...of course the authentic French baguette, and fresh brie and the fact that we were in Paris also added to our delight. Try this at home and you'll momentarily be transported to Paris.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 1/2 lb. Brillat-Savarin Petit or Brie de Nangis (or your favorite French or domestic brie), cut into 1/8" slices
  • 1 baguette (thin, and about 2 feet long), cut 3/4 of the way through lengthwise
Place the brie slices, slightly overlapping, inside the baguette. Cut the baguette into four 6" sandwiches. You can wrap each sami in parchment paper and serve them or slightly warm them up in your oven for a few minutes. Either way, a light Côtes du Rhône wine goes wonderfully with this simple dish.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fish and Chips

authentic fish and chips
I am back from my European Vacation! Sorry I didn't update my blog while I was away, but I was having so much fun in London, Paris and in Ireland that I did neglect my blog for the last two weeks. But do not despair since I did have lots of great food on my trip. And one of my favorite was fish and chips in London. This is England's most famous dish, and don't forget a good ale to go with it. Make sure you use malted vinegar for the chips to get that authentic British taste! Cheers.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 4 - 6 ounces ale
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 2 pounds fish fillets, cut in half, crosswise

Preheat oven to 250° F. Prepare batter: Mix flour, cornmeal and salt together. Add ale and mix well. Batter should be thin.

Cut potatoes in even, finger-sized pieces.

Heat oil in deep fryer. DO NOT FILL TO TOP. The potatoes and the fish will cause the oil to bubble. Allow room for the oil to rise.

Cook 1/3 of the potatoes until golden brown, about five minutes. Drain on paper towels. Place in warmed oven. Repeat process until potatoes are done and sprinkle potatoes with a little salt. Note: Do not put in too many potatoes at a time. It will cool the oil too much.

Dip fish in batter, allowing excess to drip off. Fry in batches until golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in oven until all fish are cooked.

Serve with a sprinkling of malt vinegar.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Chicken Curry Roti

Chicken Roti

In the West Indies, it is common to eat Roti for breakfast or lunch. It is their version of burritos, I guess. Basically roti is this fabulous Indian flat bread that sort of looks like a large flour tortilla, but it tastes more like naan bread. Spicy chicken curry is then wrapped in the roti, and you eat it just a like a burrito. You can usually buy roti at your favorite Indian restaurant (or you can try to make it); if you can't find roti, you can use large flour tortillas or even lavash for this dish.

INGREDIENTS (4 to 6 servings)

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 heaping tablespoon curry powder + 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dried red chile pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 to6 roti wraps

Cut the chicken into 1-1/2 inch cubes and place cubes in a large bowl. Add garlic and mix into chicken. Then add 1 heaping tablespoon of curry powder; make sure that chicken is well coated. Add ground ginger, cumin, salt, and mix again. Set aside.

In a large skillet with high sides or Dutch oven, add just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom, about 2 tablespoons. Place 4 bay leaves, cloves and red chili pepper (if using) into the pot and warm oil on medium for a couple minutes. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes.

Turn heat to high and add chicken. Stir it around and let it cook for a few minutes on high and reduce back to medium heat stirring frequently, for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken, onions, pepper, bay leaves and cloves with tongs or a slotted spoon onto a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, add 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of flour and the remaining 1 teaspoon of curry powder. Cook on medium-high for about a minute. Whisk in one cup of chicken stock until smooth. Carefully add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, and then add the chicken, onions, bay leaves, and red chili pepper back into the pot, along with any juices that may have come out of the chicken. (If curry looks like it needs more liquid, add more stock or water--you want the consistency of thick stew).

Keep simmering the curry, uncovered, for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool a little--remoe the bay leaves. Meanwhile, heat up the roti in the oven or over a griddle. Place about 3/4 to 1 cup of chicken curry in the middle of the roti, then fold it as you would fold a burrito or a wrap. Eat immediately!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Grilled BBQ Tofu and Israeli Couscous Salad

BBQ Tofu and Israeli Couscous salad

Israeli couscous is fast becoming one of my favorite pastas. Yes, it is pasta, not a grain. Basically, this type of couscous is pasta dough shaped into a pearl--sort of like a tapioca pearls--then toasted and dried, which gives it a very chewy and buttery flavor after it's cooked. You do not just add boiling water to Israeli couscous and let it sit like you would with regular actually have to cook it longer. Just follow the package directions and I bet you'll enjoy this great pasta.


  • 2 packages firm tofu
  • 2 cups Asian BBQ sauce or your favorite Teriaky sauce
  • 1 large yellow zucchini, split lengthwise
  • 1 large green zucchini, split lengthwise
  • 2 Japanese eggplant, split lengthwise
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 3 cups cooked Israeli couscous (just follow the package directions)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Marinate the tofu in 1-1/2 cups of the Asian BBQ sauce overnight or at least 4 hours.

Prepare a hot, cleaned grill, sprayed with a lot of cooking spray. Grill the tofu until well caramelized on both sides. With the remaining BBQ sauce, season and coat the yellow and green zucchini, eggplant, and scallions and grill them until they are cooked through. Transfer the vegetables to a board and cut the zucchini and eggplant into a ½-inch dice and the scallions into ½-inch slices.

In a large bowl, mix the vegetables with the Israeli couscous, parsley and add olive oil and lemon juice. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and check for flavor. Slice tofu and plate over couscous salad and enjoy.