Unlikely Combination: Olives and Raisins…

It has been a LONG while since I posted about my cooking adventures, but I’m back and ready to share. I have had numerous delicious meals during my hiatus, and have learned a few new things, too!

So, I found a recipe for a chicken paillard with an olive-raisin sauce. I’m not going to lie, I like olives and raisins, separately, but I never thought to put them together.

First, let me back up, some of you may be wondering what in the world a paillard is…well, let me tell you. It is a French technique in which the protein, chicken, in this case, is pounded for quick, even cooking.

The olives I used were Castelvetrano olives and I used golden raisins. This recipe also called for the chicken to top roasted potatoes and fennel.

I roasted the root vegetables in the oven with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then, I pan seared the chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper, of course (in a hot pan to sear the outside) and turned the heat down to make sure the chicken was cooked thoroughly. I removed the chicken from the pan to let it rest and used the same pan to make my sauce.

Into my pan, I added the roughly chopped olives (which had to be pitted first) and 2 cloves of garlic. I added the white bottoms of some chopped scallions and some crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of spice. Once the garlic and onions became fragrant, I added the raisins some verjus blanc (which is a tart juice made from unripened grapes, you could substitute white wine vinegar) and some water to deglaze the pan. I then served the sauce over the chicken and root vegetables.

It was delicious!

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#singlegirlsupper #delicious #newtechniques #newcombinations

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The Unsung Heroes of Dinner…Fresh Herbs…

Okay, so until recently I hadn’t realized how much I like to use fresh herbs in cooking. The star of the show in this particular dish was fresh dill (which I think is under-utilized, but I digress). The dish I cooked was a simple sauteed chicken breast with roasted potatoes and steamed green beans. I, however, to “spice” up a rather mundane dish used fresh dill in a cream sauce.

The sauce consists of fresh dill (finely chopped), sour cream, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. I combine all the ingredients in a pan and, true to form with no particular measurements and tasting all the way, I make the sauce.

It really awakens the taste buds! The dill was definitely the star! I can’t wait to use this sauce again, perhaps over salmon or…really anything else…it was delicious!!

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Spice it up…

As I have mentioned, I have discovered that I like exotic flavors. I don’t know about you, but the “same old, same old” gets REALLY boring REALLY quickly. So, for this #singlegirlsupper, I decided to try and spice up a mundane dish: spaghetti and meatballs.

Everyone knows spaghetti and meatballs is traditionally Italian, but I decided to put an Asain twist on it. I had Thai spiced meatballs with broccoli over soba noodles.

So, I made my meatballs with ground pork (instead of beef because I like the lightness of the pork) and incorporated Thai seasoning, garlic, scallions, and, of course, salt and pepper. I cooked the meatballs in a pan until they were browned all over and then added some water to the hot pan and covered it to steam them the rest of the way.

Then, I removed the meatballs and cooked the broccoli in the same pan. I made a sauce of sesame oil, soy sauce, and a tad bit of honey. After the noodles had cooked in water, I added them to the pan with the broccoli and sauce along with some more garlic and some chili pepper (to taste). I let the flavors combine for a couple minutes and served it.

 

In a Pickle…

So, I don’t know how many of you like pickles, but I LOVE them! I used to only eat dill pickles, but as I got older, I started to branch out and now…well, let’s just say I like pickles…a lot.

I remember when I was young that my great-grandmother would pickle things and her house would smell AWFUL for days and that it took forever… I had kind of written off making my own pickles because of that vivid sensory memory.

Watching various cooking shows (like Iron Chef (theĀ original Japanese version), Iron Chef America, and Chopped) I would notice that the chefs would pickle vegetables. I thought, “how are they doing that in such a short time period?” That’s when I started to think about a “quick” pickle.

All you need is vinegar (I usually use white wine vinegar) and sugar. For the purposes I use my pickles, I don’t usually add anything else to my pickle brine because I’m using the pickles for a textural contrast on a dish, but the sky is the limit if you decide you want to add something else. I have made the quick pickles a couple times, but my most favorite dish was an Asian-inspired beef taco and quick pickled radishes and cucumbers. I thinly sliced the cucumbers and radishes. I mixed 2 tablespoons of vinegar with 1 tablespoon of sugar and then tossed the cucumbers and radishes. I set it aside to marinate until the rest of the meal was ready. I then assembled the tacos and they were DELICIOUS!

Argentinian Chimichurri…

This is a recent culinary adventure, so I thought I’d start with this one. I really like exotic flavors and am not afraid to try new things. Imagine my delight when I discovered how easy a chimichurri sauce is to make. Here is what you need: cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, lime juice, cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Mince your jalapeno and garlic. Finely chop the cilantro. Halve the lime. Combine the cilantro, jalapenos, oil and lime juice. Then add your cumin, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. I usually don’t cook with a recipe, so tasting is a must. But a chimichurri sauce is that simple.

I put the sauce over a medium rare steak that I had cooked with just salt and pepper. I served it with roasted sweet potatoes, poblano pepper, shallot, and tomatoes. It was easy and VERY tasty. Click here to see the photo.

#singlegirlsupper #flavorFULL #yum

A Tribute…

Growing up in a very small town in East Central Georgia, everyone knows everyone. I want this whole blog to be a tribute to a special lady I had the pleasure of knowing.

Tinye Jo Harding was one of the best women I ever knew. She was a beautiful, godly woman whose strength was immeasurable. She first made an impact on my life when I joined the local Baptist church. She was very active in that church and I began to get to know her.

Mama Tinye began to post pictures of her meals using #singlegirlsupper a few years ago. I remember thinking how cute the hashtag was so I began to use it, too. Very shortly thereafter, I remember hearing that Mama Tinye had been diagnosed with cancer and her prognosis wasn’t good. She never let it get her down. Every picture she ever posted was positive and hopeful.

I remember sitting in my office when I got a text that I hoped to never receive. Mama Tinye had lost her battle. I had just bought her a card to encourage her and let her know that, even though I wasn’t physically close, she was never far from my thoughts. I lost it. I just couldn’t believe it. She was such a bright light.

When I went home for the funeral, the entire town showed up. She touched so many lives. That’s when I began using the hashtag even more. I think of her every time I type those three words.

I was recently told that she was planning on starting a blog using #singlegirlsupper as her platform. Since she never got the opportunity I would like to give it a shot.

Mama Tinye, this is for you. Know that your light lives on. Love you!

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