Moroccan Food

My daughter has 20 days left at home before she heads to college. Our son has been in New York City for most of the summer doing an internship and joins us in 9 days for one week before he resumes college. Since food is so important to our family we have laid out a plan for the next 21 meals at home with our children. Tonight on the menu is a Moroccan specialty, Chicken Basteeya, one of our daughter’s favorites. It is a phyllo (filo) multilayered pastry pie filled with a delicious chicken made with shredded chicken thigh meat seasoned with Turmeric, garlic, ginger, ground almond, cinnamon, orange blossom water, lemon, cilantro and parsley.

Where has this summer gone. Before long we will be helping both our children move into college and my husband and I will back to being “empty nesters”. For now, I remain mindful of today, of our time together enjoying yet another delicious meal.

Today I share a quote by Nelson Mandela.

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Summer Basil

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Every summer I grow fresh herbs in pots that sit on the deck right outside of my kitchen. I love being able to step outside and cut fresh herbs for our cooking. This year I grew three kinds of basil: Siam Queen (Thai Basil), Nufar Basil, and Genovese Compact Basil. The Thai Basil is great for salads and Thai cooking. The Nufar and Genovese are great for making Italian Pesto sauce. Pesto sauce is made with basil, garlic, nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Today I made two kinds of Pesto, one with Pistachio nuts and the other with Pine nuts. Tonight we are enjoying  Paccheri Rigati, a wide large noodle resembling a rigatoni, with the Pistachio nut Pesto. The other Pesto I am bringing to my son who is spending the summer in New York City and he loves home-made pesto. We will our accompany the meal with a nice salad and delicious Focaccia bread.

Today I share a great quote from Albert Einstein.

To Jump In The Mouth

To Jump in the mouth is the literal translation from the Italian word “Saltimbocca”. Today we are enjoying a delicious Chicken Saltimbocca, which is a chicken cutlet with leaves of fresh sage pressed on the raw cutlet followed by a slice of prosciutto, floured lightly, and then sautéed in a pan. After the cutlets are cooked they are removed to a plate and tented. The drippings of the pan are used to make a light wine and chicken broth sauce. The chicken is returned to the sauce and then served, chicken that will jump right into the mouth. We will accompany this chicken dish with Potatoes Anna, which are thinly sliced potatoes stacked in a 9-inch skillet and baked in butter. Mmmm. Our veggie today is zucchini slices that are lighted encrusted in a parmesan cheese bread crumb mix. All these mouth-watering foods will be quickly jumping in my mouth for sure.

Today I share a quote by Winston Churchill. It’s a quote the reminds us that as great as our imagination can be, there are times that our imagination can betray us.

 

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Happy Independence Day

Today, The United States of America celebrates the 4th of July, the day that thirteen American colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776. On July 4th 1776, the American colonies decided they would become their own nation and no longer be ruled by the British Empire.  What these American colonies proposed at the time seemed like pure insanity, how could these small colonies gain their independence from a powerful empire. We know how the story ends and that through determination and courage the thirteen colonies achieved their freedom.

And who were the people of the thirteen colonies, well there were the native Americans, African descendants, and European descendants. In other words, aside from the native Americans, the rest of the people were immigrants to the colonies. We can conclude that every citizen in the United States, with the exception of native Americans, is either an immigrant or a descendant of a family of immigrants. I too am a proud immigrant to this country. This is a country that has thrived because of immigrants. Today I share a wonderful quote by Nelson Mandela, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.

What better way to celebrate the 4th than with all-American hamburgers prepared sous-vide method followed by a light grilling. And to honor the French Marquis de Lafayette who fought alongside George Washington we prepared a French Potato Salad. Peaches are in season so I have been using them in different recipes. Today I prepared a delicious salad with cherry tomatoes, peaches, avocado, and a balsamic vinaigrette.

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The Unofficial Start of the Summer

It has been a while since I last posted on The Kitchen Blackboard. It has been a busy Spring filled with traveling and plenty of delicious cooking. And although the official summer solstice is not until June, Memorial Day Weekend starts the summer for Americans. We also honor our veterans on this day. I feel a sense of gratitude for their service and sacrifice which has allowed us our freedom. During the spring I watched Ken Burn’s excellent documentary on Netflix about The Roosevelt’s: An Intimate History based on the lives of Teddy, FDR, and Eleanor.  Eleanor Roosevelt was an amazing woman, way ahead of her time, who made many contributions during her time as first lady and afterwards. I agree with US historian Jon Meachum’s observation of Eleanor Roosevelt. She is one of the most underrated people in our history. Today I share a quote by her that reminds us that with freedom also comes responsibility.

I have drawn two flags on the board: the Greek flag and the American flag. I have drawn the Greek flag because our family just returned from an amazing trip to Greece. Greece holds a special spot in may heart because I am a Colombian born person with a Greek name, Ariadne. It was during this trip to Greece that I finally had the opportunity to visit the island of Crete, where my name originates from. In many ways, it was like a home-coming. This summer I look forward to cooking Greek food to celebrate my roots.

Today we are enjoying soft tacos filled with a  delicious sous-vide flank steak with peppers and onions. My husband will be making the taco shells from scratch using masa flour. I will make my signature guacamole to accompany the meal. I share my link for my guacamole recipe: https://thelabyrinthguide.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/guacamole-a-family-affair/

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Happy March!

It has been quite a while since I last posted on The Kitchen Blackboard. January and February were spent skiing, visiting friends, traveling, and enjoying delicious food. I don’t really like cold weather but I try to make the most of it. It’s also great having two dogs who inspire me to go on walks even on the coldest days. Although I do have my limits, NO WALKS under 22 degrees Fahrenheit. I  have a 90+-year-old neighbor lady that walks her dog everyday regardless of weather. She puts me to shame some times.  I now find myself 14 days 20 hours and 35 minutes from the March Equinox and only 7 days from Daylight Savings. I feel reinvigorated with the promise of Spring.

Today is my husband’s birthday. However, we started celebrating over the weekend. On Saturday I had great success with a new recipe that I tried from Epicurious: Strozzapreti with Oxtail Ragu and Horseradish crumbs. A mouth-watering pasta dish perfect for the winter. I made the birthday cake on Saturday as well. Since neither of our children were home for this birthday I was able to make something other than a “chocolate” cake. So this year I made a yummy triple-layer coconut cake with a cream cheese frosting. Today we are enjoying Asian inspired Chicken Sates that will be served with a spicy peanut sauce. The chicken has been marinating in a mix of coconut milk, broth, ginger, garlic, shallot, soy sauce, lime zest, fish sauce, and brown sugar. The peanut sauce was made with peanut butter, broth, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, red curry paste, shallot, brown sugar, and lime juice. I plan to make a dish of spinach with chick peas that will be seasoned with cumin, sweet paprika, onion, garlic, and red wine vinegar. We will accompany the meal with coconut rice. And since coconut appears to be a recurring theme for this birthday I plan to whip up some Coconut Martinis!

Today I share a Japanese saying, Ichigo Ichie, “One Opportunity, One Encounter”. Its better translation may be “Treasure every encounter, for it will never recur.” It is a reminder to me to be mindful of the present and to appreciate this given moment because this moment will not happen again. I beg my Japanese friends to forgive my rudimentary attempt to write Japanese characters.

 

 

Pizza Night

My husband and I started making pizzas in business school (1000 years ago). Over time, my husband has taken over the pizza making in our family. He has experimented with many dough recipes. He has perfected the cooking process by using a 1/2 inch thick slab of steel in a 550 Fahrenheit degree  oven. He switches oven setting continually between broiling and baking.  I help buy the ingredients and sometimes help with the preparation but today I was busy fighting with bad Christmas light extensions. Not my favorite part of the process.

  • pepperoni
  • red pepper, black olive & bacon
  • shiitake mushroom, bechamel sauce, caramelized onion, & bacon
  • flank steak, bechamel, & bacon
  • Italian sausage & caramelized onion
  • prosciutto, fig jam, & arugula