March 19, 2011

Roasted Chicken with 30 Cloves of Garlic

 This week at our local Thriftway Perdue roaster chickens were on sale for $.79/lb! Great deal, should have purchased two. Anyway, I hadn't made the roaster with the 30 cloves in about 16 years and for some reason I decided it was going to be on tonight's supper menu. It was extremely moist and full of those wonderful garlic overtones.
Actually the garlic cloves really mellow with the roasting process and taste divine when plopped on top of a slice of chicken. My daughter Grace practically devoured an entire leg, bones and all!

This is a very inexpensive meal to make especially when you can get the chicken as cheaply as I did. I call this good Mediterranean cooking with lots of fresh ingredients! It was served it with a wild rice and a simple salad.


1 roasting chicken
30 cloves of garlic with skins removed
Juice of 1 lemon
3 sprigs of fresh tarragon or 1 tsp. or dried
1 tsp Savory
3 T olive oil
Seasoned salt


Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub with olive oil (I use my oil infused with garlic) and add seasonings. If using fresh tarragon, chop half of the leaves and sprinkle on the outside then stick the remaining sprigs into the cavity of the chicken along with several cloves of garlic. Wrap loosely in tin foil with remaining cloves around the out side of the chicken. Place in baking pan or on roasting rack and put in a preheated oven set at 400 degrees. Bake 20 minutes per pound of meat. During the last half hour of cooking remove foil.

To be honest I had actually made a gravy for this and no one touched it because the meat was that moist!!

Chris gave this chicken an 8.5 out of 10!

Spring Discovery

Today Chris and the kids were outside in the garden getting it ready for spring planting. As they were cleaning out all the debris and turning the soil, they found these poor lost and forgotten carrots from last season's garden. The little guys made it all the way through the winter only to be found just before Springs return. Chris put in a few carrot plants, maybe 8 or 10...and we thought they were a wash because we didn't reap very many from last year's garden...or so we thought!

The garden is almost ready for planting. This year we plan to grow cherry tomatoes along with early girls and better boys. The section on the left will be dedicated to the tomatoes. We also want to plant radishes, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, bell peppers and lots of basil, rosemary and thyme.

March 18, 2011

Springy Shrimp and Artichoke Soup

Now that spring is just about to pop I am loving all the green which is beginning to appear. This soup contains s one of my favorite combinations…artichoke and shrimp. I used fresh cilantro in the recipe and when it’s blended in the food processor or blender, it adds a light green color to the soup which contrasts beautifully with the plump pink shrimp. I also add a hint of Old Bay seasoning to give it a little kick! This is a quick recipe which is sure to please even the most hard to please palettes!

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
 8.5 oz can of artichoke hearts drained and quartered. (You can certainly use frozen too)
4 green scallions sliced
¼ c. chopped cilantro, with a little removed for garnish
1 packet of Goya’s Sazon seasoning
Pinch or more of Old Bay seasoning
12 large shrimp deveined and with tails removed and cut in half
1 ½ T. butter or equivalent
1 ½ T all purpose flour
½ cup milk or half-n-half


In a medium sized pot bring the broth, artichokes, scallions, cilantro and seasonings to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. In a larger pot melt the butter and add flour to make a roux. Then pour milk into the pot and whisk until the liquid begins to thicken and bubble.

Add the artichoke mixture to the white sauce pot and stir. In batches, pour soup mixture into food processor or blender and blend until the mixture begins to turn a brighter green. (You can always add more cilantro for deeper color and more of the cilantro flavor.)

Reserve a small amount of the un-blended artichoke mixture in the pot. This way you will still have chunks of the artichoke in each spoonful of soup. Return all liquid back to the large pot and add the shrimp. Let simmer for 5-8 minutes, garnish with reserved cilantro and serve.

Makes 4 servings!

March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Irish countryside, Donegal

When we drink, we get drunk.
When we get drunk, we fall asleep.
When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.
When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.
So, let's all get drunk, and go to heaven!

~ Irish Drinking Toast

March 16, 2011

Baby Finn's Irish Cupcakes

These mini cupcakes where made with my new nephew Finn in mind. He is celebrating his first St. Patty's day this year and I made these little baby cupcakes in his honor!

They are a true "Irish" cupcake made with both Guinness Extra Stout and Bailey's Irish Cream!


1 c. Guinness Extra Stout
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. cocoa powder
2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs

1c. butter softened
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
4 T Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Green sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin cups by either spraying with cooking spray or lining with paper cups. I used the mini muffin tins for my bite size treats.

In saucepan heat butter, Guinness, and brown sugar until all is melted and blended together. Remove from heat and let cool. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt into large mixing bowl and then add the white sugar. Once the Guinness mixture is cooled to about room temperature add it to the flour and mix for 1- 2 minutes until completely blended. Add in the beaten eggs and mix for another 2 minutes.

Spoon the mixture into the baking cups until each cup is approximately 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for 18 minutes.

While your little cupcakes are baking, beat the butter until it is smooth and a somewhat fluffy. Add the vanilla and confectioner's sugar and mix, then add a tablespoon of the Baileys and mix. Repeat alternating the sugar and the Bailey's three more times until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.

Once muffins have cooled apply the frosting and the sprinkles.

So Baby Finn...I know you are too young for these sweet little cupcakes but maybe your daddy can make them for your mommy to enjoy!

March 14, 2011

Handmade Crab Ravioli in a Pink Sauce

So I knuckled under today and made my own ravioli…and to be honest it wasn’t as hard or difficult as I thought it might be. The dough is very simple, I mixed it in my Kitchen Aide mixer but I probably could have done it by hand.The dish was a big hit with both of my kids as well as my husband.

Use all the dough ingredients and mix until the mixture forms a smooth dough. Once the dough is mixed, cover it with a dry clean towel and let stand for 40 minutes. While the dough is standing, go ahead and mix half of the scallions with the crab meat, ginger powder and the chili sauce and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

For the pink sauce, saute the garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes and then add the tomatoes and the basil and let simmer for 15 minutes, add the heavy cream and cheese, heat through. (If using whole tomatoes, break down the tomatoes during simmering)

Split the dough in half and roll out the first half on wax paper or floured surface. it should be long enough to cover your ravioli mold.

Place small mounds of the crab mixture in the center of each ravioli mold. If you do not have a mold you can roll the dough out on a flat surface and then place the mounds of crab meat approximately 1 - 2 inches apart, depending on how large you would like your ravioli to be. Then in between the crab mounds on the dough gently brush a small amount of water or milk onto the dough. Roll out the second half of dough and lay it over the crab mounds on the first half. If using a mold, with a rolling pin, roll over the top until the metal separators begin to show through.

If not using a mold, press the top layer of dough down onto the bottom dough in between the mounds. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Cut ravioli or remove from mold and drop into boiling water. Bring pot back to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove ravioli with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. Plate and pour pink sauce over the top garnish with sliced scallion and serve immediately!


16 oz cooked crab meat (either lump or claw)
5 -6 scallions sliced
1 tsp ginger powder
¼ cup chili sauce

The Pink Sauce:
1 14 ½ oz can of tomato puree or whole tomatoes if you prefer
2 T olive oil for sauteing
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
 1 T fresh basil
¼ c. heavy cream
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 scallion sliced lengthwise for garnish

Pasta Dough
1 c. sifted all-purpose flour
2 eggs

Chris's Rating...a solid 9 out of 10!!

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