Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chicken and Caper Pasta

Chicken and Caper Pasta

Another Donna Hay?  I know.  What can I say?  As soon as starts to turn warm, I turn to Donna Hay, because nobody does simple, light foods like her.

Now, this pasta was actually supposed to use her:  Lemon, Thyme and White Wine Chicken – that you were supposed to make and freeze some of it and then she gave you 3 quick recipes to use it with.  The Lemon, Thyme and White Wine Chicken sounded amazing, but I have some leftover rotisserie chicken and used that instead.  Don’t worry, I will be making the chicken too, someday.

So, anyway.  This was a really quick and easy pasta dish.  It wasn’t outstanding or drop-down-dead fantastic, but it was very good, and very simple, and quite pretty to look at, which all add up to a keeper in my book.

Chicken and Caper Pasta

  • 2 cups leftover cooked chicken
  • 1/2 pound cooked pasta
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • parmesan cheese for serving
  • olive oil

Add a little olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Add the capers and cook until golden, a minute or two.  Add the chicken to warm it up a bit.  Toss the chicken caper mix with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve topped with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 2


This will be my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at May 12, 2009.

Wow.  No clue.  Some sort of green casserole, probably Mexican since it is served with beans and rice.  Not a very attractive plate!

***What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking pics!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Garden Tuesday–Bringing the Joy Inside

My Dining Room

I know what you’re thinking.  What does my dining room have to do with gardening? 

It’s that vase sitting on my table, filled with flowers from the Korean Spice Bush.  Yes, I know it is a very simple arrangement, and wouldn’t win any beauty prizes, especially with that wayward bunch sticking out on the left. 

But it’s mine, it came from my garden, and it brings me joy to snip them and bring them in.  I imagine myself in some long flowing dress, with white gloves on, and a big wicker basket, that I oh-so-carefully set my cuttings in.  In reality, I am in jeans, with some old green pruners, and a ball jar filled with some water that I stuff the stems in.  Whatever.

Please join me for Garden Tuesday and link up below.  I’ve been told that it works better if you use a picture from your web post. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Warm Mushroom and Haloumi Salad

Warm Mushroom and Haloumi Salad

I don’t get manicures or pedicures.  Nope.  What I do for myself is a Donna Hay Magazine subscription.  I know.  You’re probably saying, “Jeez Louise” if you were the type of person to say, “Jeez Louise” that is.  But you know what?  It’s soooo worth it to me.  To be able to sit in a comfy chair, with a cup of tea, a glass of wine, or a gin and tonic, and browse through her gorgeous magazine, looking for inspiration and recipes is a joy to me.  Because every single recipe has an awe-inspiring photo, and I love a good food photo!  It helps me to see how a chef visualizes the dish and gives me a standard to shoot for.

Warm Mushroom and Haloumi Salad

So, anyway, while browsing through issue #14, I found Warm Mushroom and Haloumi Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette.  This was everything I dreamed it would be and more.  And let me just say, that the warm vinaigrette may become my signature vinaigrette – it is that good! 

Warm Mushroom and Haloumi Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 oz haloumi cheese, sliced
  • 20 oz large swiss brown mushrooms, I used cremini
  • 2 1/2 oz baby arugula
  • wedges of lemon to serve

red wine vinaigrette

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

Place the vinaigrette ingredients in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat for 4 minutes.

Heat a frying pan over high heat.  Add oil and cook the haloumi in batches until each side is golden, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove to a paper towel and keep warm.  Add the mushrooms and cook until golden, about 4 minutes.  Place the mushrooms and haloumi on a plate, top with the arugula and spoon the warm vinaigrette over the top, and serve with lemon wedges.  (I placed my mushrooms and cheese on top of the arugula).

Serves 4.

This will be my entry for My Meatless Mondays at My Sweet and Savory.

AND for Heart ‘n Soul Blog Hop


AND for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.



It's a Keeper.

and for It’s a Keeper Thursdays.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #54

Fess Parker Chardonnay

Fess Parker Chardonnay, 2009, California.  $9.99.  They say:  flavors of ripe apple, butter, lemon and melon.  Perfectly balanced with toasty oak on the palate.  We say:  we agree with everything they say!  Buy again:  YES!

***And I would like to give a huge heart-felt thank you to all of you for all of your wonderful comments yesterday about Scrappycat. I cried everytime I read them. They meant so much to me, as do all of you. I am truly blessed to call all of you my friends.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Sad Weekend Cat Blogging. Scrappycat. We Will Miss You.


When you have a 20 year old cat, you know that you are going to have to write the “goodbye” post.

What can I say about her.  She was my cat.  Oh she tolerated the other members of the family, but she was mine.  She was usually the first thing I saw in the morning when I opened my eyes, and the last thing before I closed them to sleep at night.

She supervised my sewing, my blogging, my cooking, my gardening, my reading.  There is not a moment of my daily life that Scrappycat did not take part in.

I can’t even begin to tell you what a special cat she was.  We’ve had lots of cats, and will probably have many more, but there will never be another like Scraps.  She ruled our entire house with a firm, but gentle paw.  If another cat was hurt, she rushed to be next to them, meowing in empathy.  If the humans in the house were fighting or yelling, she was right between them, slapping at their legs to get them to stop. 

I am a better person for having loved and been loved by Scrappycat.

Scraps (aka Scrappycat) 1991 – 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken Teriayaki

Raise your hand if you’ve ever vowed to cook your way through a cookbook.  Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever actually cooked your way through a cookbook.  Big difference. 

Practically every time, I sit down and pull a cookbook off my shelf to leisurely browse through, I declare that I will cook my way through it.  Every time, I fail.  To be fair, I have over a hundred cookbooks, and using just one seems kind of silly.  But as usual, when I pulled Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Homeideas of cooking through it in it’s entirety crossed briefly through my mind.  Then common sense and an understanding of the craziness of my mind prevailed and I chose a quick and easy recipe for dinner.  Chicken Teriyaki.  Simple.  Quick.  Delightful.

Chicken Teriyaki

  • 2 tablespoons sake (Japanese Rice Wine)
  • 1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot
  • Splash sesame oil
  • 1 3/4 pounds chicken thigh fillets (no skin or bones), preferably organic, cut or scissored into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil
  • 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 cups sushi rice, cooked according to packet instructions


Combine the sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, ginger  and sesame oil in a dish that you can marinate the chicken in.

Add the  chicken pieces and leave for 15 minutes.

Heat the peanut oil in a large shallow skillet or casserole (that has a lid) over medium heat. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the chicken pieces from the marinade to the pan. Saute them until they look cooked on the outside.

Add the marinade to the chicken pieces and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (mine took a few minutes longer).

Remove the cooked pieces with a slotted spoon to a bowl and keep warm.  Turn the heat up under the pan to let the liquid boil down to a thick dark syrup.

Return the chicken pieces back to the pan, stir well so that all the chicken pieces are coated in the syrup. Serve with rice and possible some steam bok choy!



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vintage Custard Cups

Vintage custard cups

Wow, Pam, cute picture of your vintage custard cups.  What purpose does this post serve? 


I am dazzling you with my cute vintage cups, so that you will not notice that I have nothing worthwhile to post today.  It’s spring break, and I am off doing fun things, like attempting to clean out my closets, and the garage, and my kitchen pantry, and the basement..and, and, and.

On a more positive note.  I do love my vintage kitchen things.  There is something so fun about using vintage stuff, even if it did belong to my hubby’s ex-wife.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at May 10, 2009.  Some sort of chicken.  It looks like maybe it was a whole roasted chicken with something rubbed under the skin.

***What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Garden Tuesday–Mr. Spider (or Mrs.)


Like my cooking photos, I have a backlog of garden photos that I haven’t posted.  This one is  from 2008.  Why am I posting a 3 year old photo, when it is spring and my yard is filled with gorgeous garden shots?  Because I haven’t unloaded them from my camera yet!

But it’s spring break!!!  And I will unload them soon, and I will be making my Garden Tuesday button this week, so it will be available for my small, but ever so charming, group of participants!

By the way, the spider and water droplets are clinging to his web, you just can’t really see it. 

LINK UP!  For Garden Tuesday!  Any garden shot and post will do, even from 2008 Smile

Monday, March 21, 2011

Watercress Salad with Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi Salad

Just when you think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, something like this recipe arrives.  See…I love beef salads.  Give me a salad, add a perfectly cooked piece of beef, sliced enticingly on the top, and I am in heaven.  So, it stands to reason, why have I never thought to do this with fish?  Why, indeed. 

This is genius.   A fish salad.  Who knew?   I found it in Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009: Every Recipe...A Year's Worth of Cooking Light Magazineand you can also find it online – Watercress Salad with Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi.  

Since it’s so easy for you to just hop over to Cooking Light and check it out, I’m not going to repost it here.  My only concern was that the dressing seemed too sweet, but then I remembered that I couldn’t find watercress, so I used all lettuce.  The spicy watercress would have definitely balanced the sweetness of the dressing better. 

What about you?  Did you already know about the genius of fish salads?  What’s your favorite?

This will be my entry for My Meatless Mondays at My Sweet and Savory.



This will be my entry for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #53

Blue Flame

Blue Flame, Pinot Noir, 2008, $8.99.  They say:  soft red wine bursting with flavors of black cherry.  We say:  very light, lots of cherries.  Buy again:  probably not, nothing special.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #302 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop


I thought that for today’s Weekend Cat Blogging, that we would have a blast from the past.  This was Patchouli on Sept 29, 2008.  She was in her wild kitten phase, and spent most of her time dashing up and down trees as fast as she could!


Some of you may remember this post, where we looked out from our second floor porch and saw her head pop out through the leaves of this dogwood tree!



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by not sure – no one schedule. EDITED - I DID ADD A LINK BELOW IF ANYONE WANTS TO LINK UP.

AND for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Grilled Asian Pork Chops and Baby Bok Choy

Grilled Asian Pork Chops

The first grilling of the season!  Is there anything more filled with promises of warm days to come?  If you too, are slowly venturing out of hibernation, I can think of no finer way to do it then with this quick and easy dish from The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh.  You can also find it online, here.

I had to do some searching for the black bean garlic sauce.  I know that they used to carry it in my grocery stores, but I couldn’t find it, so I had to make the slightly longer trip to the Asian market, well worth it though!  Also, this was my first time grilling baby bok choy, and I can tell you that it definitely will not be my last.

Grilled Asian Pork Chops and Baby Bok Choy

  • 1/3 cup black bean garlic sauce
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 boneless center-cut pork chops (about 8 ounces each)
  • 4 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 lime wedges

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk together black bean sauce, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, and ginger in shallow dish. Set 2 tablespoons marinade aside. Add pork to remaining marinade; let stand 20 minutes.

Remove pork from marinade; brush cut side of bok choy with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade. Grill pork until just cooked through and thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 145°F, about 5 minutes per side. Grill bok choy until softened and lightly charred, about 5 minutes total.

Divide pork and bok choy among 4 plates. Sprinkle with cilantro, garnish with lime wedges, and serve.



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

St. Patrick's Day!

May your beer be green, your leprechauns be cute, and day be grand! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Was it Wednesday

You’re looking at May 3, 2009. 

Chicken.  Obviously. 

**What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Garden Tuesday–Spring! Link Up!!




Not yet!

And again, all of you with some garden pics, link up below.  Next week is spring break (can I get a big who hoo!)  and I’ll be making a Garden Tuesday button, making it all official like.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Balsamic Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad

Mushroom and goat cheese salad

I have decided that there is a “Murphy’s Law” of food blogging.  You make a dish and it is awful, yet you take the most fabulous photo of it ever!  A photo destined to not be published, since your failures are quietly swept under a rug.   Then you make a wonderful dish, a dish that you swear you hear angels singing as you are eating it, and you can’t take an attractive picture of it even though you try 392 times.

Mushroom and goat cheese salad

Evidence?  This Balsamic Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad from Donna Hay Magazine #50.  This was amazing.  Beyond amazing.  One of those dishes where the output is exponentially greater than the work put into it.  Make this.  You will not be disappointed.  Note:  she calls for goat’s curd, which I have no idea what that is, so I just used goat cheese also she called for an assortment of mushrooms, I just used 4 portabellos that I had handy.  Also, she tells you to toss the goat cheese, I didn’t, I scattered it on as I served it because cheese must be equally distributed in our house – it’s a rule.

Balsamic Mushroom and Goat’s Curd (or goat cheese) Salad

  • 6 field mushrooms, sliced
  • 14oz Swiss brown mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 sprigs oregano
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 8 thin slices sourdough baguette
  • olive oil for brushing
  • 6 ounces baby beetroot leaves (I just used a salad mix)

Preheat the oven to 400.  Place the mushrooms, garlic, oregano, oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet and toss to combine.  Roast for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with the vinegar and sugar and cook for an addition 5 minutes or until caramelized.  Brush the bread with the extra oil and grill or broil until golden.  Scrape the mushroom mixture into a bowl, add the goat cheese and salad leaves.  Serve with bread.  Serves 4. (or 2 if you love it as much as I did)

This will be my entry for Heart ‘n Soul Blog Hop


AND for My Meatless Mondays at My Sweet and Savory.


AND  for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.