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Chicken Scarpariello

March 25, 2017

My son came home from work and told me that one of the guys brought in this chicken dish with peppers for lunch.  It smelled delicious so he inquired what it was and was told Chicken Scarpariello.  I had never heard of it before but told him I would look it up and try to make it for dinner.

The first one I made was not that great so I ditched that recipe and continued to look.  The second recipe was definitely better but it took a few times making it, to develop it into the recipe it is now.

I am not crazy about rosemary in cooking and prefer the subtle flavor of thyme. The oil amount was perfect for cooking but not draining it produced a really greasy dish, so that had to go.  I thought cooking the thyme and garlic separately would be a good idea but it produced so much   splatter that I thought I would never make it again.  Doing what the recipe said was much better.  Still some splatter but not excessive.  Make sure to reduce the chicken broth.  Not reducing enough makes it saucier but the flavor is just not there.  The Peppadew pepper ( is an essential ingredient.  I am able to find them at ShopRite near the deli section, on top of the specialty cheeses.  They come in mild and hot.  I use the mild version.

It has now become one of our regulars on the dinner menu rotation.  It is also a great lunch item, warmed up and placed on a crusty/soft Kaiser roll.

Chicken Scarpariello (Food and Wine October 2010)

8 small skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

flour for dusting

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

8 garlic cloves, peeled, halved lengthwise and lightly smashed

4 fresh large thyme sprigs, broken into 2 inch pieces (you should have about 14, 2 inch pieces)

2 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup Peppadew peppers, sliced in thirds

Place a large piece of waxed paper on the counter.  Take each piece of chicken and unfold it from it’s chicken thigh shape.  Place it on the waxed paper.  Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper then sprinkle the chicken with flour, covering lightly but thoroughly.  Turn chicken over and repeat.  Take each piece of chicken and dredge it the flour/salt/pepper that is on the waxed paper.  Then lightly pat it so that the flour mixture adheres,  turn it over and do the same.  You might have to repeat this until the chicken is nicely covered with the flour mixture.  Continue with each piece of chicken until most of the flour/pepper/salt is gone.

Heat oil in a large heavy non stick saucepan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken.  It may seem that there is not enough room in the pan but there is.  The chicken shrinks a bit.  Just put the chicken in, it will be tight but you will be fine.  Cook for 15 minutes, turning half way through.  The chicken will develop a nice brown crust.  Add the garlic and thyme (wedging it between the chicken pieces) and cook for 3 minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned.   Transfer the chicken to a platter, leaving the thyme and garlic in the saucepan.  Take the saucepan off the heat and using the lid (see  picture below), pour off all the oil into a bowl that has been placed in the sink, keeping the garlic and thyme in the pan.  Discard the oil later when it has cooled.

Return the sauce pan to the stove/burner and add the chicken stock to the skillet.  Cook over high heat, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by about half,  4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the lemon juice and butter and stir until combined.  Return the chicken and any juice to the skillet.  Add the peppers and cook, turning the chicken until nicely coated in the sauce, about 3 minutes.

Serve immediately over rice, potatoes, noodles or with a nice crusty bread.

mise en place:

unfold chicken:

flour, salt and pepper:

oil (it’s a lot):

add chicken and cook:

add garlic and thyme and cook:

set chicken aside:

drain oil using the lid as shown, hold lid tightly and tilt to drain:

leaving garlic and thyme:

add chicken broth and reduce:

while waiting cut up peppers:

add butter and lemon juice:


add peppers and chicken, cook:

all done:




Sarah’s Roasted Potatoes

March 17, 2017


This is my daughter, Sarah’s recipe.  Simple, delicious and super easy.

We went to California to visit Sarah and her husband last September  and Sarah served these yummy little potatoes with her chicken kebobs.  Needless to say, her mother oohed and aahed and all the little potatoes were consumed.

Yukon Gold potatoes are a must.  They do not get overly soft inside when roasted.  Try to get ones that are about 1-1/2 to 2 inches.  If they are not exactly the same size that is ok, some will just be more crispier than the others.

Oh, and we both love parchment paper.  Very easy clean up and non stick.  Try some.

Sarah’s Roasted Potatoes

1-2 pounds of baby Yukon Gold potatoes

olive oil

kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet.

Clean potatoes with water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.

Cut potatoes in half and place cut side down on prepared cookie sheet.

Pour olive oil on top.  Use a restrained pour.  You do not want to get too much on, just enough to coat the parchment paper lightly.

Tilt the cookie  sheet back and forth to distribute the olive oil evenly on the pan.  You may have to re-position the potatoes a bit so they are evenly spaced on the parchment.

Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place in oven for about 30 minutes until bottom of potatoes are nicely brown and crispy.

Serve immediately.

weighing out the potatoes.  I had to use a few reds because that was all I could get.  That’s why I know they were too soft :

mise en place:

place potatoes on parchment:

pour olive oil:

re-distribute olive oil:

sprinkle with salt and pepper:

out of the oven crispy and delicious:

Yum!  thank you Sarah 🙂




Zucchini with Anchovies and Capers

March 14, 2017

I nearly jumped into the television when Lidia Bastianich was making this on PBS!  I could almost taste how delicious it was, it looked fantastic!

And it was.

The capers are optional.  I have made them with and without, both very, very good.

As Lidia states, serve hot or at room temperature which translates to me, a great dinner party food.

Zucchini with Anchovies and Capers by Lidia Bastianich

2-1/2 pounds small zucchini

6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped (or you can use anchovy paste: 3 teaspoons)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup small capers, drained (optional)

Trim the ends of the zucchini, and slice them into 1/4 inch thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long (see pictures below).

Set a large skillet over medium heat and pour in the olive oil.  Let it heat up and then add the garlic cloves, cooking for a minute until sizzling.

Put the anchovies into the pan next and cook for another minute, stirring until the anchovies melt into the oil.

Add the zucchini and toss with the olive oil mixture until coated.  Add the salt, toss again and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the zucchini are cooked through and limp and lightly caramelized or browned.

Finally, put in the capers if using and cook for another minute to blend all the flavors.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

slightly less than 2-1/2 pounds but that’s ok:

cut off ends, slice in half lengthwise:

cut each half in half again (which equals a quarter 🙂  ) :

then cut each quarter into thirds:

then cut each third into 3 even pieces ~2 inches:

mise en place:

saute garlic then add anchovies:

add zucchini, toss and cook:

optional capers:






Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie Bars

February 19, 2017


Another brownie recipe,  Yes, yes, I have a couple.  But these are brownies elevated to the next level.  Worthy of a dinner party dessert.

I love King Arthur:  their products, their baking classes, their recipes.  And when ever I get a catalog in the mail (yes I still do!) they always have a few really yummy recipes (that I cut out) that are just slightly different from their website recipe.  And this is one of them.

So you DO have to send away for one of their products (*Raspberry Jammy Bits) to make this perfect, and I know that is not one of my preferences.  But it is so worth it.  And while you are shopping there on King Arthur Flour, pick up one of their cinnamon’s, some cinnamon chips, any one of their excellent cocoa powders, to make your order worthwhile. 🙂

Cocoa powder quality is really important.  I highly recommend  Valrhona Cocoa Powder.  You can buy it on Amazon, directly from Valrhona or Whole Foods.

I used to be a die-hard Gold Medal All Purpose Flour girl but since that scare with E. coli they had over the summer, I switched and now will only use King Arthur Flour.

Chambord Liqueur:  somewhat expensive BUT you can buy a fairly small bottle, it lasts virtually forever and there are many recipes that ask for it, so it will not go to waste.

If you want to serve the brownies the same day, make very early in the morning so that the ganache has enough time to set.  Otherwise make the day before.

Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie Bars (from King Arthur Flour)


4 large eggs

1 cup (8 ounces) butter, melted

2-1/4 cups (15-3/4 ounces) sugar

2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1-1/4 cups (3-3/4 ounces) good quality unsweetened cocoa Powder

1 tablespoon Espresso Powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1-1/2 cups (6-1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour

1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet Ghiradelli Mini Chips

1 cup (6 ounces) *Raspberry Jammy Bits

3 tablespoons (2-1/4 ounces) raspberry jam, with seeds or without

1 tablespoon Chambord Liqueur

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1-1/3 cups (8 ounces) Ghiradelli 60% or 70% Bittersweet Chocolate Premium Baking Bar

1-1/3 cups (8 ounces) Ghiradelli Semi-sweet Chocolate Premium Baking Bar

1 tablespoon Espresso powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray with canola oil spray a 9 inch x 13 inch baking pan.  Line the pan with aluminum foil (see pictures below), leaving foil sticking up above the edges of the pan, by about 2 inches.  This way when the brownie is ready to come out, you will have these lovely aluminum handles to lift the brownie out of the pan.

Place eggs in medium bowl, add vanilla and set aside.

Combine cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, baking powder, flour in medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine mini chips and raspberry jammy bits in another medium bowl.

Place the raspberry jam and the chambord in a small microwavable bowl.

Place melted butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat on low to combine.  Add eggs/vanilla and beat until combined. Increase speed to medium high and beat for about 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients and when almost combined, add chips and bits and beat until just combined.

Put batter into the prepared pan and while holding the aluminum foil, spread the batter evenly into the pan.  The batter will be quite thick.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Remove brownies from oven.   Heat the chambord and jam for about 10-15 seconds in the microwave and stir together to combine.  Brush the still warm brownie with the chambord and jam mixture.  Cool completely, for an hour or longer.

When the brownie is almost completely cool, make the chocolate ganache.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces (see pictures below) and place in a medium/large microwaveable bowl.  Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a microwaveable glass measuring cup for about 1-3 minute in the microwave, until steaming but NOT boiling or simmering, be careful.  Pour cream mixture over the chocolate and wait 5 minutes.  Stir the chocolate with a whisk until smooth.  If for some reason you are still seeing chunks of chocolate, place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir again.  When nice and smooth, add espresso powder and stir again until completely combined.

Pour the still warm chocolate ganache over the brownies and spread evenly.  Cover brownies with aluminum foil (don’t let it touch the ganache) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until the ganache is completely set.

Take a dinner knife or a cake spatula and slide along the pan and brownie on the side that does not have aluminum foil.  Then remove the brownies from the pan using the aluminum handles and place on a cutting board.  Remove the foil.

Cut the brownie in half, crosswise, and set the second piece aside.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the brownies into serving pieces.  Do the same to the other half.

Serve and watch as your guests swoon 🙂

mise en place:

mis en place

prepping pan:


butter, sugar, egg/vanilla light and fluffy:


spread batter into pan:



chambord/raspberry jam mixture:


spread onto warmed brownie:

039 040

chopping chocolate for ganache and placing in microwaveable bowl:




pouring cream over chopped chocolate:


stir until smooth and then add espresso:


pour over thoroughly cooled brownie and spread:



the ganache should look like this when taken out of the refrigerator:


remove from pan, take off aluminum foil and cut brownie in half:


and cut into serving pieces:




Roasted Carrots

February 12, 2017


I have roasted many a carrots over the years and really have never been happy with them.  Burnt, charred, not done, half done, 450, 400, 350 degrees, cut big, cut small, added spices, no spices, oil only, oil and butter….all meh.

These on the other hand are perfect in my eyes.  Cooks Illustrated  hit the nail on the head with this recipe:  steam the carrots first then roast, all in one pan, all at one temperature.  And very little clean up because of the genius use of parchment paper.

I like to use fresh carrots that still have their tops on, so if you can,  seek those out.  But if not possible, poke around the bagged carrots and look for ones that are fairly straight and similar in size.  Not absolutely necessary but it makes cutting up the carrots easier.

Unfortunately I cannot link you to the original recipe.  Cooks Illustrated requires a subscription to get all their recipes.

Roasted Carrots (Cooks Illustrated November 1, 2000)

1-1/2 pounds carrots

2 tablespoons butter melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare rimmed baking sheet by covering the bottom with parchment paper (see picture below).

Peel carrots, cut in half lengthwise, cut in half again lengthwise to get four even strips.  Cut crosswise.  Sometimes the bottom pieces are a bit too thick, so cut them in half (see pictures below).  The purpose for this is to make all the pieces similar in size.  But don’t sweat it, all will be good if some pieces are a bit smaller or bigger.

Place carrots, melted butter, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Toss together to thoroughly combine.  Spread on prepared baking sheet into a single layer.

Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil (I used heavy duty because it’s bigger and I only need one sheet.  But if all you have is regular aluminum foil, use that, but you may need two sheets to cover pan completely).  Seal edges.

Cook in oven for 15 minutes (the steaming part).

After 15 minutes, remove aluminum foil and continue to cook for 30 to 35 minutes until carrots are cooked through and slightly browned.

Serve immediately.

fresh carrots with their tops on:


cut off a bit of the bottom and the top and weigh:


peeled and cut in half lengthwise:


cut again in half lengthwise:


cut in half crosswise:


may need to cut some of the bottom halves again:


place in large bowl:



mis en place:


add melted butter, salt and pepper:


toss together:


prepared baking sheet:


single layer of carrots:


cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven:


after 15 minutes, remove foil:


put back in oven and cook for another 30-35 minutes:








Roasted Garlic Beef Stew

February 5, 2017


I have made this stew about 5 or 6 times since 1997 (whoa that’s a long time ago :/).   A whole beef tenderloin can be pretty big and usually I cut off a portion to use for another time.  This piece was cut from our Christmas beef tenderloin roast, so I froze it with this recipe in mind.

I love the combination of vegetables in this recipe and I even add mushrooms!  But you can use any of the vegetables you like.  A lot of the reviewer only use carrots.  You could also use fresh beans or frozen peas.  Just add them to the vegetable mixture at the appropriate time so they are not overcooked.

Roasted Garlic Beef Stew (from Bon Appeit, Too Busy to Cook? November 1997)

12  large garlic clovers, peeled

1/2 T butter melted

1/2 T olive oil

3 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoon flour

2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks to measure 2 cups

5 (or more) carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks to measure 2 cups

1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks to measure 2 cups (keep covered in water so they don’t brown)

1 rutabaga (may only need 1/2 depending on size), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks to measure 2 cups

8 mushrooms, cleaned and dried and cut into quarters, to measure 2 cups

1-1/2 cups boiling water

4 teaspoons of Better than Bouillon Roast Beef Base

1 cup dry red wine

2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place garlic in glass pie dish, and pour 1/2 T melted butter and 1/2 T oil over top, toss to combine.  Bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Cool slightly and then mash garlic with a fork.

While garlic is baking, make beef broth by adding Better than Bouillon to boiling water.

Make sure to cut beef into at least 1 inch pieces or larger.  Make sure they are all the same size.  This is a very tender piece of meat and doesn’t take long to cook.  The bigger and more even the pieces the better.  Place beef on a large sheet of wax paper.  Sprinkle beef with salt, pepper and 1/2 T of flour.  Turn beef pieces over and repeat procedure.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large pot over medium high heat.  Saute beef for 6 minutes, turning beef half way through.  Do not overcook.  Set aside on a plate.

Add vegetables, broth, wine, herbs and roasted mashed garlic to pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low.  Cover and simmer vegetables for 25 minutes until tender.

While vegetables are simmering, mix 1 tablespoon of softened butter with 1 tablespoon of flour in a small bowl.

Return beef to pot and add butter/flour mixture, stirring to combine.  Simmer uncovered until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper if desired and serve immediately.

mis en place:





prepping and sauteing beef:




add vegetables, broth, wine, herbs and garlic to pot:


bring to a simmer and cover:


add butter/flour mixture:


then beef:


simmer for 2 minutes and serve immediately:








Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Cream

January 29, 2017


This cake and topping is from my daughter, Sarah via Smitten Kitchen, one of our favorite blogs.  She had made this cake back in 2011 when Deb Perlman had just posted it.  Sarah shared how delicious it was.  I made it for a dinner party shortly thereafter and totally agreed with my daughter.

But it has taken me this long to make it again, for yet another dinner party.  Still yummy.

I love the fact that it is a one layer cake with no frosting, that it is not too sweet (something you look for after consuming a few glasses of vino :)) , perfect for a dinner party and the whipped mascarpone and heavy cream topping is the ultimate accompaniment.

The wine and the cocoa powder are important.  Use a wine that you like to drink (maybe drinking it with dinner that night?) and use the best cocoa powder available to you.  These are my favorites:  Valrhona (you can also buy at Whole Foods) and Bennsdorp (King Arthur Flour).  After making many, many Chocolate biscotti (see  Triple Chocolate Biscotti in Recipe Index) and Chocolate Bundt cakes (see Baby Cocoa Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cakes in Recipe Index) for Holiday gifts this year, Hershey supermarket cocoa powder just doesn’t cut it.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Cream (from Smitten Kitchen


6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup good quality red wine

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup chocolate cocoa powder (the best you can obtain)

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cut a circle of parchment or wax paper, using your 9 inch round pan as a guide.

Spray bottom of 9 in round pan with canola oil spray.  Put 9 inch round parchment or wax paper round on bottom of pan.  Spray entire pan inside, bottom and sides with Pam Baking Spray with Flour or something similar.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Set aside.  Combine egg, yolk and vanilla in a small bowl.  Set aside.

With an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat softened butter and sugars together for about 1 minute.  Add egg mixture and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

With the mixer on low, mix in 1/2 of the flour/cocoa mixture.  Beat until almost combined. Add half of the wine.  Repeat with the rest of the flour/cocoa mixture and wine, mixing until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and place into preheated oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes on a baking rack.

Then remove cake from pan, cooling completely.

Dust with sifted confectioners sugar when completely cool, if desired.

To make topping:

Place all ingredients into a medium size bowl.  With an electric mixer, beat together until soft peaks form.  Do not over beat.  This can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Serve a slice of cake with a nice generous dollop of topping.

mis en place:


prep 9 inch round pan:





fluffy butter, sugars, eggs:


batter into prepared pan:


out of the oven and cooling: