Thursday, May 29, 2008

Italian Sub

When warm weather hits, we eat a lot of sandwiches that require little or no cooking. This is a favorite that my sister-in-law shared with us many years ago. (I've gotten a LOT of great recipes from her!)

1 loaf French or Italian bread (depending on whether you want a long/skinny or short/fat sandwich)
1/4 to 1/2 lb. deli ham (we like honey maple ham but use what YOUR family likes)
1/4 to 1/2 lb. deli salami
1/4 to 1/2 lb. deli cheese (we like provolone but, again, use what your family likes)
2 tomatoes, sliced
several lettuce leaves
balsamic or red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: sliced onion, pepperoncini, olives, etc.

Split loaf of bread down center, length wise, place face up on pan and stick in oven at 450 degrees for about 5-10 minutes until lightly browned (ovens vary).
While bread is browning, mix oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in pie tin (or similarly large, low pan). You're going to need enough in which to dredge all the tomato slices and lettuce leaves so it could be anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Sorry to be so imprecise but it's really a preference thing.
Remove lightly browned bread from oven, leaving on pan while you "build" the sandwich. Layer dredged tomato slices and lettuce all along one length of bread, then layer the deli ham, salami and cheese and any optional ingredients you want to add. Drizzle any remaining oil and vinegar on other half of bread and place on top the loaded half. Ends up looking a LOT like the one Hugh is holding. :-)
Mmmmm, good!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chocolate Scones as a base for Strawberry Shortcake

I had a hankering for scones on Tuesday. Also had the need for some chocolate. Initially I was going to make my old standby: chocolate chip scones. BUT (and thank goodness there is a BUT to this story) I decided to check online for some other options. And found this recipe. Which is amazing. Which also makes a GREAT base for strawberry shortcake. But can be eaten alone and savored for each bit of chocolatey goodness. Or with a little strawberry or raspberry jam for a little extra kick. These were so good I'm making another batch today. And sharing it with you. 'Cause that's the kind of friend I am.

2/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa (I prefer the Dutch processed cocoa)
1/2 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup chunked chocolate (your favorite candy bars) OR chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together cream, egg and vanilla in small bowl, set aside. Mix dry ingredients (flour through salt). Cut butter into dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in chocolate chunks (or chips). Add cream mixture to flour mixture until dough comes together. (I had to add a couple more tablespoons of cream in order for it to hold together.) Transfer to floured surface and form 8" circle. Brush top with a little cream and sprinkle on couple spoons of sugar. Cut into 8 pie shaped slices and transfer to greased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Allow to cool and ENJOY.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chicken Feta Burgers with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce

1 slice bread
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 lb. ground chicken
salt and pepper to taste
Tear bread into pieces and soak in milk for 5 minutes. Add egg, onion, feta and ground chicken. Mix well and form into patties. Salt and pepper to taste and grill for 5 minutes or so on each side until done but not dry. Serve how your family likes them (on buns, alone, in pita shells...) with lettuce, tomato, and so on.
NOTE: If you serve in pita shells, a little yogurt/cucumber sauce is a great alternative to mayo. So here's the recipe for that, too:


1 to 1-1/2 cups plain yogurt (less for thicker sauce)
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons
salt and white pepper, to taste
Grate cucumber and squeeze out excess liquid (I use a fine mesh strainer for this). Mix all ingredients and refridgerate until ready to use.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Stupendously Delicious Chicken Salad!

I can't just call this plain old chicken salad -- this is the best stuff I've ever had ANYWHERE! Every time I serve it I get requests for the recipe, including the bridal shower Daughter and I hosted a couple weeks ago.

2 1/2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 c. finely chopped celery
1 c. sm. seedless green grapes
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 tsp. minced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 c. mayonnaise
In a bowl, combine chicken, celery, grapes, walnuts, onion and salt. Whip cream and mix it with the mayonnaise. Fold this dressing into the chicken salad mixture. Cover bowl and refrigerate for several hours. At serving time, serve salad on greens with garnishes (which I leave to your discretion since you know what your family/guests will eat and I don't).

We typically serve it on croissants for special occasions like bridal showers and such, but for regular we eat it on bread, crackers or, as they suggest, just piled up on a big ol' lettuce leaf with tomato wedges on the side.

And while I usually cook up a whole chicken and de-bone it for this recipe, I've also been known to use rotisserie chicken from the deli department. We especially liked it the time I used the lemon pepper rotisserie. Clearly a recipe you can adapt as you see fit. But DON'T mess with the dressing of heavy whipped cream and mayonnaise. That's what makes it so yummy!