Chicken, Chard and Garlic in Olive Oil

One of the fastest and tastiest meals I fix for myself is this dish. I do it often enough that I didn’t think about writing a post about it.

I grow the most wonderful red chard in a little bed by the back door. The leaves are huge, shiny dark green with deep red veins.

Ingredients

A big bunch of chard leaves. Cut out the large main vein, then slice the rest into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

3 cloves garlic, chopped (more or less depending on your taste – I love garlic!)

2 skinless, boneless chicken tenders cut into small pieces

olive oil

lemon pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Toss chicken and garlic in hot oil with lemon pepper. At the last minute, toss in the chard. Stir and let cook until just slightly wilted, but still shiny and bright green.

That’s it! Dish up and eat!

Sourdough Cranberry Rolls

 

I love anything made with sourdough. When I lived in Alaska, I was given a starter that dated back to the 1800s (at least that’s what I was told, but Alaska is known for yarns as big as the state). At any rate, it had been going a long time, and was deliciously sour. I have made sourdough chocolate cake, sourdough fruitcake, sourdough pancakes and waffles, sourdough breads – any recipe I can get my hands on.

The sourdough starter or madre that I use now also came from Alaska, this time from my friend and colleague, Betsy, who used to live there, too. This recipe was adapted from The Tassahara Bread Book and I used dried cranberries instead of raisins. Their original recipe calls for fermenting the raisins, so I wasn’t sure if it would work to ferment the dried cranberries. I imagine you could use dried blueberries, as well.

The Tassahara bakers seem to keep a sourdough raisin roll starter on hand at all times, and this might add to the flavor each time it is used. I probably won’t make this recipe as often as they do, so I didn’t keep anything out for the next time, other than replenishing the regular madre as usual.

 

Sourdough Cranberry Rolls

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sourdough starter
1 3/4 cups water and fermented cranberries *
2/3 cup dry cranberries
Whole wheat flour as needed for kneading.

Mix the salt and cinnamon with the flour. Put the sourdough starter on top of the flour and stir in the water from the cranberries, a little at a time to form a soft dough.

When the mixture is too thick to stir, work with your hands and knead for several minutes. Add the fermented cranberries, and knead a bit more. Add the dry cranberries, and knead them in, too.

Keep the dough on the moist side as much as possible, but add more flour as needed to keep it from being too sticky to work with. Let the dough sit for 20 minutes or so.

Divide the dough into twelve pieces for large scones. Shape into balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel and let them sit overnight, at least 15 hours or more.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until well browned.

* Fermenting the Dried Cranberries: Place 1/2 cup of dried cranberries in 2 cups of water. Cover and let sit for 3-4 days, unrefrigerated. Stir daily. Don’t change the water because it will be used in the recipe.

NOTES:
1) This may seem like a long drawn-out process, but it’s like making the pink grapefruit marmalade. It only takes a few minutes each day, rather than taking up a whole day of preparation. I tried this recipe for Sourdough Cranberry Rolls with great trepidation, but it was so easy! I’d like to try another dried fruit. I mentioned blueberries above, but wonder about chopping up something like dried mango or ginger. Oh my!

2) The damp towel part didn’t work well for me. It seemed to weigh down the rolls too much, so I took it off and it worked better. I think my tea towel was too thick, not thin like the old flour sack towels my grandmother used.

3) I got twenty large rolls/scones instead of twelve. Also, their recipe calls them “rolls,” but I think they are more like scones, so that’s what I call them. Whatever you want to call them, they were delicious!

4) After they were cool, I wrapped each one in waxed paper and froze them. They are warm and ready to eat after about 20-25 seconds in the microwave. Slather with butter and enjoy!

A hui hou!

Aloha!
Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Homemade Individual Pizza (9″)

A funny story about pizza comes from my high school years in Belleville, Illinois, just across from St. Louis and the Mississippi River. There was a new Italian family in the neighborhood who had opened up a new “pizza parlor,” which is what they were called then. I was with my parents and some of their friends one evening when we went in to see what all the excitement was about.

The group asked the waitress to describe a pizza. After she finished, my mother looked around and said, “I think we’ll each take one.”

The waitress tried to convince her they only needed one, but Mother insisted. Finally the waitress said, “Uh, let me bring just one to start with and you can decide if you want more later.”

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on everyone’s face when it was brought out. Without a doubt, that huge pizza was enough to serve everyone around the table.

I suppose there are people who don’t like pizza, but I have no idea what planet they come from. It’s basically like an Italian open-faced sandwich, and you can put anything you want on it, or leave anything out you don’t want.

I’ve made bread a lot in the past, but never pizza. I couldn’t imagine myself trying to learn how to toss a huge circle of dough above my head without a major disaster.

Then I found a little hidden-away article in a magazine. I don’t even remember which magazine it was in. All I know is that I clipped it for further evaluation. Was I ever surprised when I read it! And it’s super delicious! I think I could even categorize it as an “artisan pizza,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. I’m eating it right now as I type up this post!

Homemade Individual Pizza

Crust

1/2 package dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar

Add the yeast to the water and let it sit for 10 minutes. It will begin to look slightly foamy.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt and sugar together in another bowl. Then add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients.

Stir until it’s well-mixed. The dough should be thick, requiring a little effort to mix it. Cover the bowl with a clean kithen towel and let rise at warm- or room-termperature for about two hours.

After the dough has risen, place it on a floured board to knead until smoother and no longer sticky. I pushed the dough into a greased 9-inch iron skillet with my fingers, making sure the edges came up a little on the side of the skillet to form a rim.

Add the toppings, starting with the tomato paste, and ending with the shredded cheese. Bake at 425 degrees F. for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese bubbles up and the crust just starts to brown.

My toppings

tomato paste right out of the can
sliced mushrooms
thin salami slices, cut in half
thin slices bell pepper
minced garlic
freshly picked oregano leaves
freshly picked marjoram leaves
sliced fresh basil leaves
shredded Romano Pecarino
shredded pepper Jack cheese

Other toppings I like (but didn’t add this time)

loose sausage
chopped onion
sliced black olives
sliced tomatoes
any other sliced veggie
jalapeño peppers
pineapple
sauerkraut
any kind of cheese

You can put whatever you love on pizza, or whatever you have on hand. Have fun with it!

This was super simple and easy – with no fancy tossing! The only wait was for the dough to rise, but I can usually find lots of other things to do around here.

This could be served to two people along with salad and dessert, but I ate the whole thing by myself (blush)!! Even the rim was tasty! But don’t even ask how many calories are in it. Of course, other than the crust, the veggies would all be “legit.”

If this is your recipe, please let me know and I’ll give you full credit, along with my deepest gratitude for having put it where I could find it!

Buon appetito!

Aloha!
Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Lilikoi Butter Revisited

 

I am fascinated by the fact that my website statistics show “lilikoi butter” as tops in the list of the search words that bring people to my site. It’s been a year since I wrote about making lilikoi butter and I still get requests for more information.

After my first post on that topic, I received an offer from Alexis and Chris of Coastview Aquaponics to come get the last of their wild lilikoi. I wrote about that visit here. I juiced it all up and froze it to save for a later date.

This past week, I finally got around to thawing it out and making lilikoi butter again. I doubled the recipe shown here and ended up with 15 half-pint jars of lilikoi butter. In reading over the original recipe I posted, I realized that I left out the final process. I’ve added it below.

 

Lilikoi Butter

4 eggs
4 cups sugar (I used a little less and mixed it with Splenda)
1 pound unsalted butter
1 ¾ cup lilikoi juice

Mix juice, sugar, butter in a large pan. Heat until butter is melted. Beat the eggs together in a separate bowl and temper by drizzling a little of the hot liquid into the beaten eggs so they don’t scramble on you. Keep stirring and when the egg mixture is about the same temperature as the hot liquid, pour it into the pan with the juice, butter and sugar.

Bring to a rolling boil, then down to a slow rolling simmer for about half an hour. This will thicken as it cooks. (See picture above.)

Using a large-mouthed funnel, pour into sterilized jars, covering with sterilized lids and rings. I turn the jars upside down to let them cool until I hear the top pop, indicating a good seal.

NOTE: I have often complained that something keeps eating my scraggly lilikoi vines, until I read about (and tried) sprinkling crushed egg shells around the edge of the plant. Whatever it is that was eating them doesn’t like to crawl over the egg shells. I suddenly have new growth on my vines that nothing is eating away! Maybe I’ll get a few of my own lilikoi next summer. Hooray!

A hui hou!

Aloha!
Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Pink Grapefruit Marmalade

 

This is a three-day process, but the flavors are absorbed so much better than a marmalade made too quickly. I tend to like my marmalades to have a slight bitterness, more like a true Scottish marmalade. This recipe ensures I’ll get that.

Choose 3 smallish pink grapefruit (or 4 larger ones) and 2 lemons. Have 2 oranges on hand. These are not added to the marmalade, but you’ll use their juice later on.

On the first day, cut off thin slabs of grapefruit and lemon rind and cut into tiny slivers. Take care not to include pith at this point. Add 2 cups water for each cup of fruit. Let it stand.

 

On the second day, boil this mixture for 30 minutes. It helps the gelling process if you add large hunks of grapefruit pith to the soaking mixture. Also, cut out the grapefruit segments and add these to the mixture.

 

On the third day, remove all the pith sections and any stray pips (seeds). Add juice of 2 oranges to supplement the liquid. This helps you to know it won’t burn dry. Also add 1 pat of butter to keep down any froth that forms. Cook using 3 cups of the fruit and liquid mixture to 1 1/2 cup sugar. Simmer about 2 hours (or less). Keep an eye on it and watch for gel to start forming. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal with sterilized rings and lids. Turn upside down until you hear the “pop” of the lid. This lets you know you have a good seal.

Perfect on hot buttered biscuits!

A hui hou!

Honey-Lime and Earl Grey Granita

 

I’ve always wondered about the difference between sorbet and granita. On “The Kitchn,” one of my favorite websites, I found a recent post on the difference between ice cream, gelato, sorbet and granita. Since I was mainly interested in the last two, here’s what I discovered.

Basically, sorbet and granita are exactly the same. The only difference is how they are made. A sorbet is churned like ice cream, while the granita is poured into a shallow dish and frozen. The ice crystals are broken up from time to time to make it slushier than sorbet. I discovered that what I made is actually a granita. So there you have it!

Someone else has said that a recipe is not an end in itself, but a process. Therefore, this adaptation from one of the recipes in The Backyard Beekeeper’s Honey Handbook is my personal step in an on-going process.

Honey-Lime & Earl Grey Granita

Combine 2 1/2 cups water with 5 tablespoons light, mild honey in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add 6 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea and lime juice from half of a lime, then bring back to a boil.

Reduce the heat and let simmer for a minute. Filter the mixture through a strainer and taste. Add more lime juice to taste.

When it’s all just right, pour the mixture into a shallow, flat container with a large surface area on the bottom. Place in the freezer.

Watch, and when the mixture just begins to freeze, remove from the freezer and pour into a blender. Length of time will depend on your freezer and size of your container, usually between 1 to 3 hours.

Blend on high for 30 seconds ONLY.

Pour back into the original container and refreeze. When the mixture has the texture of crystallized honey, it is ready. Serve in a frosted cocktail glass and garnish with a spring of spearmint – and take a picture.

Makes 1 to 2 servings.

LUCY’S NOTE: Well, I want to share the less than perfect recipes with you, too. I don’t think I will make this again unless I change a few things. Usually I have loose Earl Grey tea on hand, but this time I had only tea bags. So I cut open enough tea bags to come up with the 6 tablespoons the original recipe called for. The tea in a tea bag is made up of bits and pieces, not like regular loose tea leaves. It made the flavor unpleasantly strong, and I normally like strong tea. I wonder if more honey would have made it taste better? It has the potential for being very tasty, but it certainly could use further experimentation.

A hui hou!

Aloha!
Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Ginger-Limeade

 

You can buy this drink in a bottle in many of our stores. It is made locally, and it tastes very good, but it will never surpass the taste of freshly made in your own kitchen.

I can only give you the approximate proportions I use, and you may need to experiment for your own tastes. If you wish, lemons could probably be substituted for limes, but I have never tried it. I have limes, and I prefer limes, so that’s what I use.

The piece of ginger I use is about 3/4 the size of the one in the picture above. Peel it, then slice it into thin circles.

Put these in a saucepan, add about 1 cup of sugar, more or less to taste (I use only Splenda for this), fill to about an inch from the top with water. Simmer until it has reduced by about half.

Let it cool while you squeeze the juice from about 8-10 limes. Add the juice to the ginger syrup. I add either a liter of seltzer water or (my preference) diet tonic.

Serve over ice for one of the most refreshing summer drinks you’ll find anywhere. There is almost always a pitcher of it waiting in my fridge!

A hui hou!

Bite Me! Fish Market Bar & Grill

 

The first time I visited Bite Me! was within the first week it was open, and I was … uh … hooked! I love fresh fish, and if there is anything I love more, it’s fresh fish tacos. I’ve eaten them in many places, and made my own on the beaches of Puerto Peñasco in Mexico, and more recently, at El Pachuco right down the street from where I live.

 

When I’m in Kailua-Kona, I love taking friends to Bite Me! for their fresh fish tacos and any of the other fabulous fish on the menu. You can find the menu on their website.

“Fish” is the resident kitty. I tried to take a picture of her, but she scampered away. Look closely and you’ll see her tail disappearing among the bar stools.

 

Later, she came to me and jumped up on my lap while I was talking with Captain Brian, owner of Bite Me! He held her while I snapped this photo. He and I discovered we’d both been “liveaboards” on our respective sailboats, but in different parts of the world.

 

He said another friend had caught a rare picture of Fish. He sent it to me to include here. Many mahalos to Brian’s friend for letting me use it.

 

Inside the market you can pick from the very freshest fish to take home.

 

Most of us dine outside on the deck overlooking the harbor.

 

You can also eat inside . . .

 

 

. . . but who would want to do that when you can sit outside, enjoy the sun and fresh breezes – and watch the boats? It makes me homesick to watch others on their sailboats!

 

A whiteboard sign at the entrance shows the day’s specials.

 

At the table you are presented with a full menu. I love the cover.

 

Their dessert menu is one of those “to die for” listings. My friend Judy always asks for a root beer float, while I just order another fish taco.

 

As you leave, there is a full array of t-shirts you can buy to boast about your own “catch of the day.” You can enjoy a day of fishing on one of Captain Brian’s Bite Me! boats.

 

The next time you are hungry, head out toward the Honokohau Harbor in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawai`i, drive past the docks on the right to the area where boats on trailers are being launched and retrieved. Look for the Bite Me! sign, and you will not be disappointed.

A side note: I found out later that Tim, the chef at Bite Me! and Captain Brian have been good friends ever since their childhood. What a neat way to honor that friendship!

A hui hou!

Spicy Apricot-Orange Marmalade

 

Have you ever wondered about the precise difference between jelly, jam, preserves and marmalade? I checked with Google.

An answer came up with the following:
• Jelly is made from fruit juice
• Jam is made from pureed fruit
• Preserves are made from whole fruit
• Spreads are made from whole fruit and/or pureed fruit
• Marmalade uses the zest and pulp, and the juice, however not the whole fruit.

I honestly don’t know which one this is, but because I used slivers of orange peel, and because it looks like marmalade, that’s what I call it. Actually, it’s more a combination of preserves and a marmalade, which probably makes it a spread, according to Wiki. It’s definitely not jelly, but whatever you want to call it, it’s delicious!

Spicy Apricot-Orange Marmalade

4 ½ cups apricots, pitted and sliced (leave the peel on)
2 navel oranges
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ cup Splenda
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated is best
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (I added mine as soon as I took it off the heat)

Cut the oranges to remove the segments (try not to get any of the membrane). Thinly slice the orange peel (like what you normally see in orange marmalade). Combine everything in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Maintain a slow rolling boil for 15 minutes while mashing up the apricots against the side and stirring constantly.

Add your lime juice (lemon would work, too) and stir in. Put into sterilized jars, then cover with sterilized lids and rings. Turn upside down until you hear them pop, which means you have a good seal.

I got a little more than six 6-ounce jars out of this batch. If I’d filled them a bit more, it would have been an even six jars.

I love this sort of thing over ice cream, with homemade biscuits, or on a thick slice of toasted hearty whole wheat bread (homemade if possible)!

A hui hou!

Slow Cooker African Peanut Chicken

 

I made this today to have on hand for a few meals. This dish may not look very pretty, but it’s low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and an absolute treat for your taste buds. You can use smooth peanut butter, but I love the crunchiness of the chunky style. You can use any hot pepper sauce you wish. I had a bottle of “Cajun Sunshine” that my brother put in my stocking at Christmas.

 

Ingredients:

1 (14.5 oz.) can organic diced tomatoes
¼ onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup each of veggies like broccoli florets, Brussels sprouts (halved).
6 large skinless chicken breast tenders (or your favorite cut)
If you aren’t counting carbs too closely, you can add a few baby carrots

Combine everything except the chicken in a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Place chicken tenders on top. Cover, cook on low for 6-8 hours. Great to have ready for you when you walk in the house from wherever your day took you. Again, if you aren’t worried about carbs, quinoa or brown rice make a nice accompaniment. It’s delicious all on its own.

A hui hou!