Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mom's Simple Rice Pilaf

Perhaps it has something to do with this time of year; perhaps it has something to do with all of the comfort-food editions of magazines on the news stands right now; or perhaps it is a case of nostalgia. Whatever the case may be, I have been reminiscing about ALL of my mom's home cooking lately. So, I have decided to create a category/label just for her called "Mom's." Thanks Mom for the thousands of meals that you cooked from scratch for our family over the last 40 years.

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Mom's Simple Rice Pilaf
1/2 onion, diced
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Cups chicken broth (gluten-free)
1 Cup brown rice

1) Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a pot over medium-low heat and add onion. Cook until softened (about 3 minutes).

2) Add rice and stir to coat with butter, and let cook for three more minutes until bottom layer is slightly brown. (My mom doesn't necessarily do this step and her rice still turns out amazing.I feel I need this step in order to have it remotely taste good).

3) Add broth, bring to a low boil, cover and simmer for 50 minutes - or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

4) Fluff with a fork and serve (I used a half cup measure and kept the form).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pan Seared Talapia with Browned Butter Lemon Sauce

Okay, I know fish is good for you because it is full of heart healthy Omega - 3s. And, because it is so good for you I want to increase the amount of it I eat. Unfortunately, when I cook fish it is hit or miss. Truth be told, seafood is the ingredient that I am most uncomfortable with in the kitchen. I have a tendency to over cook it. I order fish at restaurants more than I cook it at home and I want that to change. I am very pleased with my first attempt at this new recipe. Even my husband liked it - which is a really big deal when it comes to fish.

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Pan Seared Talapia with Brown Butter Lemon Sauce

3 Talapia Fillets - thawed
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons of Ghee (clarified butter)
1 Cup of Chicken Broth
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of white pepper
cracked pepper to taste

1) Melt ghee in a sauce pan over medium heat. Continue to heat for three more minutes until the color turns deep gold.

2) Remove from heat and carefully (there will be spatter) add the chicken broth, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper

3) Reduce the sauce over medium heat. Let simmer over medium heat until only 1/3 cup (eyeball it) remains.

4) Rinse and pat dry talapia fillets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sear fish fillets 3 to 4 minutes each side.

5) Pour sauce over fish and serve.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Glühwein (a.k.a. Gluhwein, Gluvine or Hot Mulled Spiced Wine)

Here is one way to take away some of the winter chill. Make some Glühwein (a.k.a. Gluhwein, Gluvine or Hot Mulled Spiced Wine). The first time I tasted Glühwein was at a German Christmas market in Esslingen, Germany. Yep, I had the real deal, and wow, was it good. The Heavens opened up; I heard trumpets sounding - just kidding. But seriously, I don't understand why this is not more popular in the United States. So many people enjoy a nice cool glass of Sangria on a hot summer night, so why don't we like a nice warm mug of Hot Mulled Spiced Wine on a cold winter night? Is it possible that people just don't know about this tasty treat? Maybe, if more restaurants offered it on their menus, more people would know about it. Well, I will do my part to help "get the word out" regarding this tasty beverage with this blog post. Impressive, huh?

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2 Tablespoons of mulling spice (example MySpiceSage)
4 Cups of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Burgundy)
1/3 - 1/2 Cups of sugar - to taste

1) Place the mulling spice in a tea infuser or cheesecloth.

2) Pour wine in a pot (or crockpot) and add sugar

3) Bring to a soft boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.

4) Remove spices and serve in mugs. Goes well with Potato Pancakes (also served at the German Christmas market)

So, what does a German Christmas market look like?
Here is a view from the top of the steps looking down into a sea of people and booths/stalls.

Check out the displays of chocolate and candy as I have never seen before.

Foodie friends look closely at the halved pears dipped in chocolate and decorated - too cute!

And, what German Christmas market would be complete without ginger bread?


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