Yum Peaceful Cooking: October 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brujas and Peotches Halloween Cocktail

Happy Halloween

Have you ever played with candied vodka? To be honest with you, until this past weekend I had never even heard of it.

Until I watched Nadia G. on Bitchen Kitchen's Halloween Special play with some. 

What fun! The candy flavor really comes through. 

Pick a candy (gummy works great...and so does hard candies). Toss a good handful into a sealable glass jar along with about a cup or so of vodka. Let the candy get sauced for about 2 days, shaking the jar 3 times a day. Strain the vodka and get ready to play.

One jar contained lemon drops, another had gummy peach rings and the third was red vines.

When I strained my vodka, I placed cheese cloth over a mason jar and screwed on a band to hold the cloth in place. Worked beautifully.

And how could I pass up this wicked find? 

Brujas and Peotches Halloween Cocktail

2 shots peach (aka peotch) candy vodka

2 shots orange juice
topped with lemon lime soda

Its tangy and sweet...with a hidden bite.

I haven't decided what to do with the other two flavors but I'm sure it won't take me long.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chicken Francese

One of my favorite dishes is Chicken Picatta. This dish is almost identical. It has a little more lemon flavor. Wine is included and capers have been excluded. Bottom line? It's delish!

The other day I asked my friends on Facebook who their favorite celebrity chef is. The goal was to cook a recipe from the chef that was mentioned the most. The snafu? No one mentioned the same chef. Now I have to cook something from each of them. Tyler Florence was mentioned first...so here is Tyler Florence's Chicken Francese

Chicken Francese
Printable Version

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded thin, to about the size of your hand
1 cup of all purpose flour
Salt and pepper
4 eggs
3 TB water
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 TB butter
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

In 2 wide shallow bowls (I often use pie tins) combine the flour and a good amount of salt in pepper in one, and the eggs and water in another. (save the flour)

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

Dredge the chicken in the flour and dip into the egg. Fry the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Put the lemon slices into the skillet and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant. Add the wine, chicken broth and lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit. Take the butter and roll it in the reserved flour. Break it into pieces and add it to the sauce. Stir until the butter is incorporated and the flour has dissolved. 

Reduce the heat to medium low and put the chicken back into the pan. Arrange the lemon slices on top of the chicken and simmer gently for about 2 minutes to reheat the chicken.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with parsley when serving.

Add in a few steamed red potatoes and broccoli and you have yourself a simple, quick and easy meal for hectic weekdays, yet its good enough for dinner guests.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Apple Pecan Mini Pies with Brie Cheese

I'm not big on pies. Although I love pecan pie.

I'm not a fan of pie crust. But some aren't all bad.

Cooked apple isn't my thing. But I love a good Apple Betty.

So why did I make these Apple Pecan Mini Pies with Brie Cheese, you ask? Haven't you ever craved something that's not your favorite thing? Just to see if you can make it in a way that suits you? Well, that's kinda what I did. I saw the Honey Crisp apples (my favorite apples) at the store and had a weird craving to bake something with them.

I've had some filo dough in my freezer that I've been dying to use. When I bought it, I thought I had bought the filo cups. HA! Well...that's not the case. I had the sheets.

Let me tell you a little something about the sheets. Frozen sheets to be specific. IF you are able to find fresh filo dough....do yourself a favor and use it. If you can make your own filo dough...I'm totally envious. The frozen ones have a tendency to rip, tear, fall apart. And basically make things a little more.....challenging. I did survive...but next time, I'm going to the local Armenian market where I've been told has fabulous fresh filo dough.

So...bottom line? I replaced pie crust with filo dough. I made mini apple pies with brie cheese and pecans.

I loved it!

These little mini pies are perfect. They aren't too sweet. They aren't messy. The pecans were roasted prior to baking and add a great smokey flavor along with the nuttiness. The apple texture, with it's sweet tartness is the perfect offset to the brie cheese. And the filo crust? FABULOUS!!

Apple Pecan Mini Pies with Brie Cheese
Printable Version

4 apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used Honey Crisp apples) - about 3 cups
1 TB butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TB cornstarch
2 TB fruit preserves (I used my Vanilla Fig and Pear Jam)
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
16 toasted pecan halves to garnish
8 oz brie cheese, cut into 16 - 1/2 oz chunks.
Filo Dough (the amount of sheets will depend on the size of your sheets. You will need enough sheets to make 16 sets of 4 - 4x4 sheets)
melted butter for filo sheets

Preheat oven to 325' F

In a medium sauce pan, combine diced apple, 1 TB butter, sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and preserves. Simmer over low heat for 5 mins.

Add the chopped pecans to the apple mixture and continue simmering for another 5 minutes. Not too long. You want the apples to still be crisp. Set aside

Prepare your filo dough as follows:

Take one sheet and brush the edges with melted butter (this keeps it in place), then continue to brush the whole sheet with butter. Place another sheet on top and brush it in the same manner.
Cut the two prepared sheets into 4x4" squares. Take two square sets and lay them on top of each other at an angel to form a star.

The sheets that are set aside, waiting for their turn to be used in greatness need to be covered with a damp towel. They dry out really fast.

Also....if you end up with a really rebellious sheet....

Don't stress too much. Forgive the little pita (sailor talk for "pain in the a$$"), it is frozen dough after all...and work with it. Gently. Sometimes rustic is beautiful. Be patient. Keep the goal in focus. The greatness is in the end result, made sweeter by the struggles.

Now, take your filo star and place it over a muffin tin. Gently press down on the center to form a cup. Repeat

You should now have 16 prepared muffin tins. Place a chunk of brie cheese inside each muffin tin.

Divide the apple mixture evenly between each cup (this should measure out to about 1/3 cup each, depending on the size of your apples)

Top each cup with a pecan half

Oooooh....can you almost taste it? You might notice that your filo edges are starting to dry up. Brush them again with melted butter or spray them with butter cooking spray.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges of your filo are golden brown. Let sit in the pan for a couple of minutes then gently remove with a butter knife and place on a cooling wrack.

Enjoy as soon as they're cool enough to eat or place in the fridge overnight and enjoy them even more the next day. These little condensed apple pies are just as good, if not better served cold as they are hot out of the oven.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tandori-Spiced Chicken

Before I get carried away with tonight's dinner, I just realized that I never told you all who won the Muy Bueno Cookbook from my contest. I have no real good excuse as to why it's taken me so long. But I did inform the person who one...and she did receive it.

Let's give a nice big round of applause to Tango from Tangos Treasures

WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!
I hope you enjoy the cookbook as much as I am :)

A while back (a long while back) I use to post Salubrious Sunday recipes. They were basically health conscious recipes that I posted on Sundays. Not sure why I stopped but according to my Facebook followers, there's quite a desire for healthy recipes.

Which really isn't my forte.

I am a lover of carbs, sugars, dairy (cheese, creams and eggs) and...alcohol. As you can imagine, healthy recipes can be quite challenging for me. Not that I don't have a lot of recipes to choose from. I just have a hard time finding one that satisfies me. I need recipes that don't leave me craving for fat and carbs.

Are there any of you out there who would like to assist me in finding recipes that qualify for Salubrious Sunday dishes? If so, shoot me an email: peacefulcooking @ gmail dot com 

I think it would be rather fun to see what healthy recipes you all are cooking and do a 
weekly roundup of healthy dishes on Sundays. 

Well, here I am with a very delicious and satisfying Weight Watchers recipe that I'd like to share with you. It's very easy....and absolutely wonderful. (it doesn't take much to amaze me haha).

Tandori-Spiced Chicken
Serves 4
Printable Version

1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt (I used plain, fat-free Greek yogurt)
1 TB minced ginger, fresh
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB paprika
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 - 6 skinless boneless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 - 3 cups hot, cooked basmati rice

Here's a little tip for you. Store your fresh ginger in the freezer. When you're ready to use it, not only does it defrost quickly if needed, but a micro-plainer is perfect for "mincing" ginger. The skin is easily removed with a knife and poof....within seconds you have a mound of snowflake soft ginger

(pssst.....it also works great with garlic cloves!)

In a zip-lock bag, combine the yogurt, ginger, garlic, paprika, turmeric, curry and cinnamon. Squish it around to mix. Add the chicken. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours...or overnight.

When you're ready to cook dinner:

Preheat the oven to 450' F. Line a baking dish with foil. Place a rack on the foil. Spray the rack with canola cooking spray.

Remove the chicken for the yogurt marinade (toss the marinade in the trash). Place chicken on the prepared rack and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with 1/2 cup of rice. I also roasted some green beans that had been tossed in a little olive oil, garlic powder and paprika. The green beans went in the oven with the chicken on a separate tray.

Tonight's Salubrious Sunday was wonderful. The chicken was tender and juicy and bursting with flavor. I just love basmati rice. If you're not a curry fan, maybe try substituting Garam Masala.  I don't have the nutritional breakdown for the green beans but here it is for the Tandori-Spiced Chicken and Rice....

Each serving consists of 1 chicken thigh and 1/2 cup of rice (green bean nutritional value not included):

298 Cal
9 g total fat (2 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat)
75 mg chol
269 mg sod
33 g total carb
1 g total sugar
1 g fig
23 g prot
35 g calc
Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 8

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lengua Entomatada (Beef Tongue with Tomato) and Giveaway!

Yes, you heard right. Beef Tongue. It's in there. It's good. I swear.

And you're talking to someone who went waaaaaaaaaay beyond hercomfort zone on this one.

Before we go there, let me say a few things here. And I think you'll wanna hear them.

First off, for the past 3 weeks, I've been participating in the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef  

This cookbook is truly Muy Bueno. Here's a list of the recipes I've cooked during these wonderful three weeks:

You can go to girlichef's site and see what everyone else made. After all, I'm not the only one reviewing it.

When the Muy Bueno Cookbook arrived, of course I instantly started browsing through the recipes. The first thing I thought was....wow, I've either made or eaten a lot of these recipes! Do you know why that is? No, not because I have a lot of Mexican friends. No, not because I live in Southern California where every other corner has a little Mexican joint or restaurant. (although those reasons do have a lot to do with it) but....the recipes in Muy Bueno are for authentic, Mexican home cooked meals.Ones we all know and love and wish we could make. They have been passed down from generation to generation to generation. The 3 women that make up Muy Bueno the cookbook and blog are a family team...a mother (Vangie) and her 2 daughters (Veronica and Yvette). All of whom have been greatly inspired by the grandmother, Jesusita. When you open this cookbook, you feel a sort of reverence. You can sense how important heritage is and how food really brings this family together.

Muy Bueno Cookbook has just about every Mexican dish you can think of (and more) and provides easy to follow directions, beautiful photographs and a touching story or memory that makes it all the more special. With all the cooking I do, and a lot of it is Mexican (because this white girl and her family loves Mexican food), this is the first true Mexican cookbook I've owned. And I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with it.

You have a chance to be thrilled to own your own copy of Muy Bueno Cookbook as well.

I'm giving a copy of Muy Bueno Cookbook away! 

I'll give you the details after we talk about beef tongue.

Beef tongue. I've seen it. I've ignored it with a shiver.
I never ever thought that my kitchen would see one of these on its counter.

Silly me asked one of my daughters to pick out a recipe from Muy Bueno for me to cook. A special recipe  just for this giveway.

Jacquie decides on beef tongue. "Mom, [with a grin on her face] this is really out of your comfort zone, isn't it?!"

"Um, ya. really?"

Jacquie: "Beef tongue is really good! I swear! I've had it before. You'll like it".

"Ya? [long pause] Ok. I guess."

So...I took the challenge. Off to the market I go. The butcher offered a 3 plus lb tongue. I opted for the much smaller 2.5 lb thing. And started my adventure the following morning. Way before anyone else in the house was awake.
I knew this baby needed to be in the crockpot before it was seen by the local population (ie: family, especially Sir Sportsalot).

Funny thing. I posted the above photo on Facebook and you should read the reactions! "WTH?!"
"OMG!! No Way!!!", "Gross that looks like a large finger", "I hope it looks better cooked", "I'll be there for dinner. So good!"

When I asked if anyone had eaten cow tongue, I received extreme responses from both ends of the spectrum: "Yes, very good sliced very thin...", "Makes yummy tacos!", "....it was like it was tasting me - while I was tasting it. ::shudder::", "Eating that will be like French kissing a cow! No thanks!!"

Well....I guess I had to just find out for myself.

Lengua Entomatada (Beef Tongue with Tomato)
Printable Version

2.5 - 3 lbs of beef tongue
3 cups water
1 small onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic
2 tsp sea salt
1 - 14.5 can peeled or diced tomatoes
1 TB olive oil
1/3 cup chopped white onion
1 TB all purpose flour
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Place the beef tongue, water, small quartered onion, and sea salt in a crock pot. Cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours, until tender.

Once it's done, remove the tongue from the crockpot. Strain the stock and set it aside or refrigerate it if you have time so you can easily skim the fat.

While the tongue is still warm but not too hot to touch, peel off the outer layer of skin.

Under that skin, there was another layer....that was......nubbly. It kinda bugged me in a way that food shouldn't bug you....so I trimmed that off too.

Dice the tongue into 1/2" cubes and set aside.

In a food processor or blender, puree the tomatoes. Set aside

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat up the oil. Add the diced onion and saute until translucent (about 2 minutes). Add the flour and stir for another 2 minutes. Add in the pureed tomatoes and let come to a boil.

Add the cubed tongue, 1/2 cup of the beef tongue stock, black pepper and garlic powder. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes or so. You want the sauce to be thick, not runny.

Especially if you're going to do something fun with it....like....fill gorditas.

Well, let me tell you something.

YUM! Really. Honestly....beef tongue is good. As I diced it up, I picked up a cube and slowly brought it to my mouth. Paused....contemplated my action....nostrils were flared in anticipation of...I dunno...thinking it would taste like liver? (I'm not a liver fan). I then popped the cube into my mouth...tentatively chewed in slow motion...stopped. Waited for the negative, involuntary reflex. Nothing. Thought about it. Realized that it is indeed, very tasty. Tender. Not liver or organ like at all. Good beef flavor. Not stringy like roasts. Not fatty like ground beef. And best of all...it no longer resembled a tongue!!

I did it! I made it! I ate it! I loved it!

Now, if you want the recipe for the gorditas that I spooned the lenqua into, you'll either have to wait until I post it, search the various websites....


Win yourself a copy of Muy Bueno Cookbook.  


  • Entries must be made by Monday October 8th (Happy Columbus Day) 12:00 PM, pacific standard time.
  • Must be 18 or older to win
  • Must reside in the continental U.S. to win 
  • Must post comment on this blog (no facebook, twitter or email entries will be accepted)

Lots of ways to enter:

  • Post a comment. (If you are posting anonymously, please include your email address.) If you do not wish to enter the contest, but would like to post a comment, just say you're opting out. 
  • Follow me on Twitter (post a comment saying you are)
  • Tweet about the giveaway (post a comment saying you did)
  • Follow me on Facebook (post a comment saying you are)
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That's 8 ways to enter. Good luck!!