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Monday, December 26, 2011

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

A little bit of the exotic in this recipe. Preserved lemons are available in gourmet shops or you can make your own (it's quite easy but you have to plan a month ahead). They are used in Moroccan stews and they add an interesting lemon flavor - very strongly lemon but without bitterness or the extreme tartness of the juice. You only use the rind; the flesh is discarded.

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives
(4-6 servings)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yucatan Cabbage-Pineapple Salad

A delicious tropical twist on cole slaw - it's from a great cookbook with a punny name: Lettuce in Your Kitchen by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby. Lots of fun, bold salads in here. I doctored their recipe up a little and cut it down. They must be very hungry guys because their recipe, that is supposed to serve 4-6,  can easily serve 10. Unless you are serving this for a party, you really don't need that much salad. You'll feel like you are eating it forever!

Yucatan Cabbage-Pineapple Salad
(serves 6)

1⁄2 cup Pineapple Juice
1⁄3 cup Olive Oil
2 tbl Fresh Lime Juice, about 1 lime
1 tbl Chipotle Peppers In Adobo, minced (if you are a chilehead, add 2 tbl)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt And Black Pepper

1 medium Mango, peeled and cut into 3⁄4" dice
1⁄2 small Pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 3⁄4" dice
1⁄2 small Green Cabbage, cored and cut into thin strips
1⁄4 cup Chopped Cilantro
1 medium Red Bell Pepper, seeded and cut strips
Salt And Coarsely Ground Black Pepper

In a small saucepan, bring the pineapple juice to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil until juice is reduced to a thick syrup. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Combine pineapple syrup with remaining dressing ingredients and mix well.

In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients. Give the dressing another stir and add to salad. Toss to dress. Season generously with salt and black pepper.

Link to PDF of Yucatan Cabbage-Pineapple Salad

Friday, December 9, 2011

Buttermilk Rolls

A sure-fire way to impress your guests is to bake fresh rolls. When friends walk in the house, they smell this yeasty deliciousness and they just can't wait to tear into those soft little pillows of dough.

Yeast doughs are intimidating to many home bakers. But, they need not be. Yeast isn't as temperamental as people believe. Maybe the mystery is that yeast works on its own schedule and is sensitive to temperature, so your dough may rise faster or slower depending on the temperature in your kitchen. The great thing is, it doesn't actually matter that much. Your dough will rise eventually, given the temperature in your average kitchen. If it's warm today, it will rise a bit faster. If it's chilly, like it is in my house all winter, it will rise more slowly. Sometimes you need a little more patience, but ultimately, your patience will be rewarded.

I made these rolls for my Thanksgiving dinner. They are very cute and quite tasty. They get great flavor from buttermilk and a bit of whole wheat. They are soft and fluffy because they are largely white flour. And, they are just so cute!

The recipe is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. The original has instructions for making them by hand, but I'm all for letting my KitchenAid mixer handle the heavy work of kneading.

Besides the heavy-duty mixer, a scale is useful for getting rolls that are all the same size, but you can eyeball the size and they will turn out fine.

Buttermilk Dinner Rolls
(makes about 21)