Sunday, November 24, 2019

My Top Ten Favorites of 2019!

It's been a rough week or so in The Stirring The Pot household. I came down with both a sinus and ear infection, plus bronchitis, then I wasn't quite recovered from that before I came down with the stomach bug. I was still coughing and recovering from the stomach bug when I came down with a fever. So, I've spent the weekend sleeping and resting and can now say that I finally feel as though I'm on the mend.

We're supposed to be making dishes with ingredients we're thankful for, but I didn't quite feel like getting back in the kitchen, so I'm going to be sharing My Top Ten Favorites of 2019, all of which I'm very thankful for!

(click on the recipe title to be directed to the original post with recipe)
These may very well be my favorite recipe of 2019. They are the best chicken wings I've ever had, hands down. Cooked under a broiler, they are perfectly crispy on the outside and so very tender and juicy inside. Plus, Bittman's homemade buffalo sauce is complete perfection, flavorful and garlicky.

Surely this is not the first time you're seeing this famous tart. Do yourself a favor and make it.

These should speak for themselves. I mean if Jacques Pepin and Julia Child got together and created  a mashed potato recipe, then you already know it's gonna be THE ONE. Add in some homemade garlic powder, which has been one of my favorite ingredients to cook with this year, and you have a winner.

This pizza had me dreaming I was on a cliffside surrounded by good looking Italian men somewhere on the Amalfi coast (hey, Amalfi is know for its lemons, is it not)? If you love white pizza, this pizza is for you. Cheesy, with a hint of spice, lemon, and fresh basil. It's simply light and luscious.

Ina is known for being the Queen of Chicken, but I've also crowned her the Queen of Plum Desserts. Have you ever looked at the sheer number of plum desserts she has? No, well you need to. Then you need to come around to plums and realize that they make for one of the most amazing fruity desserts around, with their ability to be both sweet and sour. This recipe is a major winner! Sweet, sour, juicy plums topped off with a hefty dose of nutty crumble. This dessert is a dream!

Homemade hummus is one of the best dishes there is, as far as I'm concerned. And, if you're going to make it, then turn to no one other than Yotam Ottolenghi. Make his Hummus Kawarma with lemon sauce and crispy bits of ground lamb, which is oh so heavenly, OR make this Hummus with Ful, which is really like having two bean dips in one. Either way, you're in for a velvety delicious dip that has the most wonderful mouth feel! One of the best things on the planet for sure!

This dish is another one that is at the very top of the list. In fact, of the two potato dishes in this roundup, this one is my favorite! First, you have a crusty baked potato skin coated in herbs and spices and then you fill it with a whipped feta topping?  It's total perfection. In fact, the potato never had it so good. This is quite easily the most flavor a potato has ever had. In fact, I'm adding the ingredients to my grocery list as we speak.

This is one of those dishes that you make and you know it's going to be good, but then you end up being absolutely blown away. This is hands down my favorite frittata dish. The reason: the sliced potatoes slide to the bottom of the pan and create a crispy potato layer on the bottom. Plus, feta cheese is my favorite. I look for any reason to eat some feta (see above). However, this dish would be easy enough to change up. Keep the potatoes and add different veggies, cheeses, and herbs. Delicious!

When I posted this recipe I said, "The bottom line is...Food Cart Curry Chicken is something I think just about anyone would love, very family-friendly, and this recipe is perfection. I highly recommend giving it a try!' I still stand by this. I think it could be part of every home cook's go-to chicken dishes!

This recipe for Baked Cheddar Olives is just special. It was my very favorite Ruth Reichl recipe and is one of my very favorite recipes of this year, if not the favorite. It's retro, it's fun, and it's so delicious! The best part is, it's cheap, easy, and made with pantry ingredients. Think of these like a cheesy cracker wrapped around a juicy little tangy olive. Absolutely perfect for the upcoming holidays! Once you pop 'em, you can't stop.

Can't wait to see what amazing dishes come out of The Stirring The Pot kitchen in 2020!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Giada's Calabrian Chile Pasta

When it comes to quick and simple weeknight meals, Pasta is King! Not only is pasta comforting and delicious, but it can be put on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Giada's Calabrian Chile Pasta is probably the easiest pasta dish around. From start to finish it can be on your table in about 20 minutes. The secret: you don't have to wait for a big pot of water to boil. For this dish, you cook the pasta in a skillet with about 1" of water, which takes only minutes to boil.

I loved this method of cooking pasta because not all of the water cooks out and the residual water, filled with the starch from the pasta, remains and helps to create a very silky smooth pasta sauce. All you have to do is add the Calabrian Chile Paste, Pecorino, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and chives. When you toss all that together in the pan you get the most luxurious pasta sauce, spicy and so silky and smooth.

I really liked this dish, and other reviewers on Food Network did as well. I enjoyed this method for cooking the pasta and will most definitely use it again. I am a little conflicted about the flavor of the dish. It was good, but I felt like something was missing. It definitely needs some garlic. I also think it needs more than a splash of lemon juice. I found I needed to add quite a bit to brighten up the dish. Overall, it was good, but it has the potential to be great. I'd like to play with the recipe a bit more, perhaps even trying different brands of Calabrian Chile Paste.

Calabrian Chile Pasta
Adapted from Food Network
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4-6

1 pound penne pasta
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup grated Pecorino
1-pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons Calabrian hot pepper paste
1/3 cup chopped chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice, from 1/2 lemon or more, depending on taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Optional: add garlic, to taste, if you wish

Note: I omitted the cherry tomatoes simply because the grocery store didn't have them.

In a 10-inch high-sided saute pan, bring 1 inch of water (about 4 cups) to a boil over high heat.  Add the penne and salt.  Cook, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente, about 9 minutes (mine was about 7 minutes); there should be a little water left in the pan.

Remove the skillet from the heat and sprinkle the pecorino over the pasta; toss to coat. Add the tomatoes, chile paste, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil, and toss.

Note: If you'd like to add garlic I think it would be best to saute a few minced cloves in the skillet before cooking the pasta.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Nigella's Clean Out The Pantry Granola Muffins (w/ Caramel Apple Granola)

We started I Heart Cooking Clubs back in the fall of 2009 with The Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson, as our very first chef. I fell in love with Nigella and the way she writes about food. I think we all did. I cooked a lot of delicious Nigella recipes, but my favorite Nigella recipe was, and continues to be, these Granola Muffins!

I made Nigella's Granola Muffins for the first time back in February of 2010. That time around I made them with a very simple oats and honey granola and I fell in love. I drizzled them with a touch of honey and gobbled them up.

Back in 2018, I made Nigella's Granola Muffins with oats and honey granola again, but changed things up by adding sliced almonds, dried cherries, and coconut chips. They were equally delicious and I loved the added texture of the added nuts and dried fruit.

Now I'm making them again using a seasonal Caramel Apple Granola from Trader Joe's. This granola has a mix of oats, sweet and tart apple slices, peanuts, and pumpkin-spiced pumpkin seeds and let me tell makes for a delicious autumn-inspired muffin!

I love these muffins for so many reasons. They're so simple, so versatile, and so delicious. They're also a great way to clean out your pantry. Have some leftover granola, dried fruit, or nuts? Go ahead and throw it in. Have fun trying different combinations! Whichever granola and add in's you chose you are sure to have a tasty treat! You really can't go wrong!

Granola Muffins
Adapted from Feast 
by Nigella Lawson
Makes 12

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granola
Optional: Any kind of dried fruit, or nut, or chocolate chip for added flavor

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper muffin cups (I never line with cups, choosing to butter and lightly flour them instead).

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a wide-necked pitcher whisk together the buttermilk, egg, sugar, and oil. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix lightly to combine. Fold in the granola and then fill the muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes (mine only needed 20 minutes), until the muffins have risen and become golden brown. 

Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!