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STEWED TOMATOES

Thought I would post this early as beautiful fresh tomatoes in our neck of the woods are not too far away. With an abundance of heirloom tomatoes making stewed tomatoes is a great way to use them up.  Although for weeks on end we just eat them fresh off the vine.

We do not do much in the way of canning in this household, but we do like to freeze as much fresh produce as we can.  This will be lovely in the dead of winter for soups, stews, and pasta dishes. (I made these last year too – so yummy!)

6 cups chopped tomatoes – slice in half, then quarters, then in half (I used a mix of yellow, red, green heirloom tomatoes)

1 large onion chopped

1 celery stalk with leaves, diced

3 minced garlic cloves

1/2 cup diced green pepper

a good handful of minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

pinch of sugar

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Wash the tomatoes and remove the outer core.  Peel the tomatoes with a soft peeler or blanch the tomatoes to remove the skin (here is a method to blanch tomatoes). Chop all of the ingredients and add to a big pot, then add seasonings.

Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Keep on a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Taste for seasonings.  Remove from the heat, and after 30 minutes transfer to 2 cup sized jars and fill to 3/4 full.  This recipe made 3 jars…so double or triple up the recipe if you have tons of tomatoes.  Refrigerate until cold, then freeze until ready to use. This was so tasty, I could eat it right out of the jar!

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JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN A RECIPE REVIEW

I have never had Jamaican Jerk Chicken before.   My daughter recently returned from a vacation to Jamaica and she raved about the BBQ Jerk Chicken she had there.  She also went crazy over their curries.  So another recipe is in the works for down the road….I just need to find Tamarind paste….so far no luck but will keep looking.

Mercy….was this ever good.  I found this recipe from Philly Boy Jay and mostly followed it.  If you read my blog you know I am a serious wimp when it comes to heat.  So, the only change I made was to use 2 Tblsp. chopped Anaheim Pepper (remember my other post where I did not know what to do with the rest of the Anaheim Pepper ?….well, in it went) and I also included the zest of 1 lime as well as the juice of 2 limes.  Other than that the recipe was the same.  The original recipe uses scotch bonnet peppers and no lime zest.

What we did in terms of our BBQ was:  Heat on full heat, once at temperature, oil the grills and lay the chicken down, skin side down, lid off, and sear the meat for about 8-10 minutes.  Turn over, and cook another 5 minutes.  Keep the chicken on one side of the BBQ, skin side down, and turn off the other side, then lid down keeping at a temperature of 325 degrees for 1 hour or until the chicken has reached 165 degrees, turning over 1/2 way through cooking time.

There was so much flavor to this BBQ  Jerk Chicken.  Marinating it for 24 hours (actually mine marinated for 27 hours) really infused the flavors of the marinade into the chicken. So so good!

If you have never tried Jamaican Jerk Chicken this recipe is well worth a try….trust me you will love it!  Thanks Jay your recipe is a keeper! :)

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WILD RICE PILAF

Although I do have a number of rice dishes on this blog….rice is not my favorite side dish.  Never has been. (unless it is Risotto or a lovely dessert rice pudding) However, if you make it into a pilaf, adding numerous flavorings and other ingredients, it creates a flavorful side dish indeed.

We recently discovered this wild rice blend by Lundberg.  It is a blend of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, whole grain wehani rice, and whole grain black japonica rice.  Wehani and black Japonica rice? We have never heard of these types of rice before but I must say there was great flavor and texture in this rice blend.  No paid advertisement here…just wanting to share something new we all enjoyed.

I have found with these rice blends there is always the need to add more liquid and a longer cooking time than what the directions recommend…personally I do not care for crunchy rice! With the added cooking time and extra ingredients this created a lovely side dish to any main meal.

1 cup of wild rice blend

2 1/4 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf

3 crimini mushrooms, diced

1 large shallot, diced

3 minced garlic cloves

2 big Tblsp. finely diced celery with leaves

2 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 – 2 Tblsp. butter

1 Tblsp. tomato paste and 1/4 cup water, mixed well

a few splashes balsamic vinegar

season blend:  1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1/2 tsp. dried fennel, 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, 2 tsp. dried ground garlic, 1 Tblsp. dried parsley, salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, and rice to a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Stir with a fork, cover with a lid, and turn down to a low simmer.  Cook for about 1 hour.

Remove from heat, toss with a fork, then lid back on and let sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up a large saute pan on low medium heat with the EVOO and butter.  Add the mushrooms, shallot, garlic, and finely diced celery.  Saute about 10 minutes.  Then add in the seasoning blend, tomato paste with water, and the balsamic vinegar stirring well to combine.  Continue to saute for another 5 minutes.  Add the rice, mixing well.  Keep on a low heat, stirring until heated through well.  Serve alongside any main dish.

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COOK BOOK REVIEW & A GIVEAWAY! WINNER ANNOUNCED

UPDATE:  ANNOUNCING THE WINNER FOR THE ITALIAN DIABETES COOK BOOK GIVE AWAY CHOSEN AT RANDOM IS:  LINDA.

Please contact me through my email with your mailing address to receive your free copy of the cook book….congratulations Linda!

I recently received The Italian Diabetes Cook Book Delicious And Healthful Dishes From Venice To Sicily and Beyond written by [...]

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QUINOA TOASTED YAM BOWL

Wow, did this dish ever exceed my expectations.  It was YUMMY.  With the Quinoa and Yams I also used cooked Mung Beans – a powerhouse of nutrition in a small bean.  This is a dish that would be great for lunch or dinner – served at room temperature.  It will get even better the next [...]

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RHUBARB GINGER STRAWBERRY FOOL

Nothing says spring like fresh, beautiful rhubarb.  (well that and fresh asparagus)  I love the gorgeous pink color….in fact when chopping the rhubarb it turned my cutting board pink!

While strawberries are not in season until June, I did use organic halved frozen strawberries in this dish.

There could also not be an easier dessert to make.  [...]

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LASAGNA: A NEW TAKE ON AN OLD TIME FAVORITE

We have had endless days of rain in our neck of the woods which always leads me to comfort food.  Lasagna being a family favorite.  There are a number of different lasagna recipes on my blog and while this is somewhat of a traditional lasagna there are a few new ingredients as well as a [...]

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CROCK POT VEGETARIAN CHILI

This was a recipe that was recently printed in our local newspaper.  I made some changes to the original – and we were delighted with the results.  Slow cooking with a crock pot has always been a little bit of a hit and miss result with me in terms of flavor.  Usually I have found [...]

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VEGETARIAN PAELLA

As mentioned in previous posts, I have been cooking Vegetarian meals about twice sometimes three times a week.  Recently, we found this at our local grocery store:

No paid advertisement here….just wanting to share something yummy – a lovely basmati rice/quiona blend vegetarian meal. Next to dried pasta, this is the only thing in my pantry [...]

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VACATION AND COOKING WITH KITCHEN BASICS AND MUST HAVES

We recently had a week vacation – a lovely cabin on the lake at one of our Gulf Islands.  We love the cabin with its rustic charm, a cozy big fireplace, a kitchen (most important!) and beautiful lake views.

Over the years, I have learned what to bring as usually the kitchens are quite small, and [...]