Monday, September 27, 2010

Chicken & Dumplings

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Another comfort food favorite of mine – chicken & dumpling soup.  If you have your own chicken stock, all the better!  Use that instead of the water & bouillon  If not, the bouillon or store bought chicken broth will surely do.

This is a lighter calorie recipe version than I’ve seen in the past, and it was still really good.  I would absolutely recommend it, and I also think this is a fun down-home recipe to use for entertaining.  Add a side salad, some garlic bread, and you’re good to go!

Soup Ingredients:

  • 4 thin sliced skinless chicken breasts
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 medium bulb fennel or 2-3 celery ribs
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • fresh parsley

 Soup Instructions:

Combine chicken, water, onion , bouillon, thyme, and pepper in large saucepan.

Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer for 25 mins.

Add carrots, fennel and/or celery. Return to boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 mins.  Add peas.

In small bowl, wisk cold water and cornstarch (or flour) and stir into saucepan.  Cook and stir until thickened.

Spoon dumplings into 7-8 mounds onto soup mixture.  Cover and simmer 10 mins or until dumplings are cooked.  Sprinkle w/ parsley and serve.

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Dumplings Recipe:

Mix 1 cup flour, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon coarse black pepper in bowl.

In separate bowl mix 1 beaten egg, 1/4 cup milk, and 1 tablespoon cooking oil.  Pour into flour mixture and stir with fork until combined.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Food in Hilton Head, SC (& Savannah, GA)

This past week I’ve been on vacation with my mom in Hilton Head (spent 1 day in Savannah as well).  We had a wonderful time, and one of the most enjoyable things (of course) was all the food we ate!  We tried quite a few fun and interesting places, so I wanted to share them with y’all.  If you ever take a visit to these areas make sure you try out a few of these fabulous food places!

The Salty Dog Cafe, Hilton Head

We only had drinks & an appetizer here, but the atmosphere was what was most impressive.  This cafe sits on the waterfront and consists of indoor / outdoor seating as well as an outdoor bar.  Perfect for a laid back afternoon or evening and a great place to relax, have a few drinks, and enjoy the water.

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Sweet Carolina Cupcakes, Hilton Head

I’m a total dessert junky, and this place knocked my socks off!  Sweet Carolina Cupcakes is an adorable little corner cafe located in Coligny Plaza next to Piggly Wiggly and is the best kept secret on Hilton Head Island.  They had everything from Elvis inspired cupcakes (banana cake, cream cheese frosting w/ crumbled bacon) to red velvet or a chocolate lovers cupcake dream - the Chocoholic cupcake.  The cupcake I fell in love with was their Coconut Snowball – the coconut cake was light and delicate, the frosting out of this world creamy and sweet, and the coconut topping made this cupcake perfectly unique.  You’ve got to try them!

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Roastfish & Cornbread, Hilton Head

Roastfish & Cornbread is a true local favorite.  This place is a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the search.  While I wasn’t actually that impressed with their known for sweet potato cornbread, they were bustling with crowds raving over the fish and sides.  I had the lentil salad and fried okra which was divine! 

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The Lady & Sons, Savannah

Being a big fan of FoodNetwork, I had to try out Paula Dean’s restaurant, Lady & Son’s.  It was very good and as we went a little later in the season, we didn’t have to wait at all to get in.  We had their buffet and my favorites were the sweet potatoes and the fried chicken.  Also – you MUST try the gooey butter cake.  Sooo good with a steaming cup of coffee.

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The Sea Shack, Hilton Head

The Sea Shack is another local favorite.  They don’t advertise and they don’t have a website.  It’s all word of mouth.  It doesn’t look like much – actually we initially saw the place and drove away, but after enough recommendations, we figured we had to try it out.  It really does look like a sea shack, so don’t dress nicely – but you’ll be glad you went.  Really simply prepared good sea food, and dynamite hush puppies.

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The Crazy Crab, Hilton Head  

This place had a great shrimp salad and a fun setting.  They also had the pots of crab legs, shrimp, and oysters that are a very popular choice around the island.

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La Hacienda, Hilton Head

La Hacienda is located on Palmetto Bay Road (I believe in the Park Plaza) and as funny as it sounds – this was my favorite overall meal during my whole vacation time.  They start you out with a rich and spicy salsa w/ chips – then comes drinks and dinner.  I got a lime margarita (which they did not skimp on!) and then I had what I think was call chilaqueles.  It was chicken, corn tortillas, creamy cheese sauce…… oh so much goodness it’s had to describe!  Great prices too!

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Flamingo’s Doughnut Cafe, Hilton Head

Last, but not even close to least is Flamingo’s.  The place is out of this world!  They make your doughnuts anyway you want them (they have a million choices), and they make them fresh while you wait.  It was so much fun!  We were addicted after trying one and had to go back every day afterward.  There are so many fun options, you’ll never get bored, but honestly you could get a plain doughnut and it is so delicious all by itself that it’s hard to get better. Crispy on the outside, light on the inside – I think that’s what I call heaven!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not Your Mama’s Potato Salad

This recipe is from FoodNetwork’s “Alex’s Day Off”.  I adore her.  She’s all about unique fabulous food that is relatable and not too daunting to make.  This recipe in particular is a change from the norm and is just so refreshing and flavorful that it would be a crowd pleaser anywhere.  Heck, I made it for just myself, and boy was I glad that I did!!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, washed and dried
  • 1 large bunch parsley, about 1-inch of stems still attached, thoroughly washed and roughly chopped with scissors
  • 1 bunch basil, about 1-inch of stems still attached, thoroughly washed and dried, roughly chopped with scissors
  • Salt and freshly ground white (or black) pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch sugar
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon capers and 1 teaspoon caper liquid
  • Optional - 4 to 6 gherkins, depending on size, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces, plus 1 tablespoon gherkin liquid

    DIRECTIONS:

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange to potatoes in a single layer in a baking dish and put it in the center of the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes.

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    Meanwhile, in a food processor (or blender), combine the parsley and basil leaves. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Add the water and blend. With the motor running, pour 1/2 cup of the olive oil through the top in a slow, steady stream. This doesn't need to be a smooth puree. It should be a little rustic and chunky. Taste for seasoning and add pinch of sugar. Pulse to combine and set aside.

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    In a serving bowl large enough to hold the potatoes, stir together the red wine vinegar, shallots, mustard, capers and liquid, and gherkins and liquid. Add 1/4 cup of the herb oil and toss. Taste for seasoning. Stir in half of the parsley/basil puree. When the potatoes are tender and yielding when pierced with the tip of a knife, after about 50 minutes, remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool for a few minutes. Peel half of them. Some potato skin is a nice flavor in the salad. Cut any big potatoes in quarters, the rest in half.

    Put the potatoes in the bowl with the dressing. Season lightly with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss them in the dressing.

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  • Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Homemade All American BBQ Sauce

    Labor Day weekend always reminds me of time with family and friends - BBQ’s and grill outs.  In honor of the holiday, I decided to make a homemade BBQ sauce for my BBQ chicken.  It turned out so creamy, rich, and had a fabulous ZIP! to it.  Trust me, after trying homemade BBQ sauce – you’ll never go back to the jar!  The way it makes your kitchen smell alone is worth the effort.

    My BBQ Sauce Recipe:

    1. 1 cup ketchup
    2. 6 oz tomato paste
    3. 1 cup tomato sauce
    4. 2 cup apple cider vinegar
    5. 1/4 cup Worcestershire
    6. 1/4 cup light soy sauce
    7. 1/2 brown sugar
    8. 1 tablespoon Dijon 
    9. 1.5 teaspoon ground ginger
    10. 3 garlic cloves – roughly chopped
    11. 1/2 lemon – sliced in rounds

    Combine ingredients 1-7 in stove pot, mix with whisk and bring to simmer.  Mix in ingredients 8-11 and simmer for 20 minutes.

    Pour over chicken pieces or ribs (marinate if desired).  For chicken – cook @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes, baste with sauce again and finish cooking another 15-20 minutes until chicken is done.

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