Saffron Chicken and Rice Bake

Saffron Chicken and Rice Bake
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My good friend, Sammia, came to visit me from Germany. She and I have been friends for a long time, but have not seen each other in years. She has two kids, one who is practicing basketball for the German Olympics. Her other son, who is also my friend, lives in Northern California. Sammia and I always have a good time together, and that was why I wanted to make something special for her.

This Saffron Chicken and Rice Bake is very simple to make, yet flavorful. Just saute the vegetables and the chicken, put it over rice and saffron and mushroom soup, then just put it in the oven to finish cooking. How simple is that? You can make it, and go enjoy yourself with your family or guests. Asparagus is a good accompaniment, with a nice white wine, perhaps Chardonnay.

Don’t be afraid of saffron. Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. You can usually buy saffron at gourmet stores, or Mediterranean stores, or Amazon has a good selection.

Saffron Chicken and Rice Bake YouTube Video


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Basil, Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce

Recipes in this PostBasil Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce

I am a semi-regular subscriber to Saveur magazine. I love the recipes and the photography is always spectacular. I am also always on the hunt for something fresh and relatively easy to make for those days I don’t really want to cook. They had a recipe that called for bacon and tomatoes and basil. My three favorite things. That is what inspired this dish.

Making this Basil, Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce was very simple. I used a can of stewed tomatoes because I really like them, but you could use regular chopped canned tomatoes, or even fresh if you wanted to take the time to peel them. I also used frozen bell pepper medley that I always have in my freezer just for days like this.
You could add a light red wine to this sauce, but it probably would not taste quite as fresh.

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Brisket of Beef in Wine Sauce

Brisket of Beef in Wine Sauce
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When I was a little girl my mother used to make a beef dish that I loved. I never knew what it was until I became an adult and learned it was called brisket of beef. I liked that the meat was tender, and full of flavor. Finding it in the market, however, was a chore. I would only see Corned Beef, which I like very much, but it’s not the same thing.

While I was thinking about that brisket I had as a little girl growing up in Germany, I realized that my mother never made it after we moved back to the United States. Maybe it wasn’t my mother’s dish after all, maybe it was our German maid, Elfrida’s brisket I remember so fondly.

Either way, when I found brisket at the local butcher shop, I knew I had to try making it. I figured I would do something similar to Oxen Shvantz Suppe – Braised Oxtails, which also takes a long time to cook. It’s hot and I didn’t want to be in a hot kitchen all day, so I used my 4 quart Nesco to slowly braise the brisket. It was delicious!

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Linguine with Kalamata Clam Sauce

Recipes in This PostLinguine with Kalamata Clam Sauce

Ah, Fridays!

It’s the last day of the work week, and the day in our house where we usually have no meat, and instead have food from the sea. We’re practicing Catholics, yes, but the reason we eat fish on Fridays is for health reasons. Eating fish and shellfish at least once a week is quite beneficial. In addition, by Friday, all the meaty left overs are gone. There are so many different kinds of sea food that we rarely have the same kind of seafood twice in one year.

I have always liked Linguine and Clam Sauce, but don’t make it very often. The last time I made Linguine and Clam Sauce was in 2010. As you can see, there is a lot of variety with pescatarian dishes. But, I wanted to do something a little different, and that jar of Kalamata olive paste cried out to me. It’s a good thing, the meal was delicious!

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Fennel Cashew Crusted Pork Loin

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Fennel Cashew Crusted Pork Loin

We really like pork loin in our house. It’s small, and cooked correctly, tender and moist. The problem with pork is that it can dry out easily, so it is important to keep it moist, or cook it so that it retains its moisture.

I make Pork Chops with Fennel, and I wanted to do something similar with my pork loin, but still keep it moist since I was going to roast the meat.

I put all the ingredients for my crust in a small food processor, then mixed that with Panko bread crumbs. I washed my pork loin under cold running water, patted it thoroughly dry, then coated it liberally with olive oil. Coating it with the olive oil did two things:

  1. It allowed the crust to stick to the meat.
  2. It added a moisture that patting the meat had removed

I let the crusted roast rest in the refrigerator for a half an hour to let the crust harden and make a better moisture barrier. Knowing that it wasn’t going to be producing a lot of liquid, I put it on a rimmed baking sheet covered with foil, and cooked it in a medium oven while my Blue Cheese Risotto with Merlot was cooking. Then I let it rest for three minutes while a microwaved broccoli for our Oscar Party dinner. It was a show stopper!

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Yoghurt Lentil Soup

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Yoghurt Lentil Soup

I love living in Southern California. It’s not too cold, and it’s not too hot. It’s like somewhere that Goldilocks would like to live. We had a little bit of rain last night, and that gives me and excuse to make soup!

I wanted to make a healthy and hardy soup. It’s Friday, and in our house, we don’t eat meat on Fridays. We eat vegetarian or fish. Tonight, we’re going to have our Yoghurt Lentil Soup with Fish and Chips, so we’ll be a little British and a little Armenian. Why not? It’s good for you!

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