Confinement Cooking – Make the weekend special!

confinement news

Hello out there!

Start of week 3 for me! How are you guys hanging in there? For the most part, I’m doing pretty well and staying positive but I’ll admit, I had a day or 2 where I felt a little anxious about this confinement thing.  So I regrouped and decided to make the best of the weekend.  I cooked and baked, ate and drank, took a walk to clear my head, listened to lots of records and I even learned how to hem my own pants!

I try to eat pretty clean during the week so that on the weekend I can make it feel a little more special.

Saturday’s menu

Steamed Artichoke with Garlic Aioli

Cote de Boeuf with a simple green salad 

Sunday’s menu

Chicken Marbella with creamy polenta and green salad.  It’s so easy and delicious.

Hot Chocolate Cakes

I love dessert but try to watch my sugar intake, and I’m probably maxing that out already with all the wine) but weekends need to feel different.  We need something to look forward to. 🙂

For an extra special treat, I made individual Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes.  (Mi-Cuit au Chocolate)

I use a recipe from Cooking Light I found years ago.  They are so decadent and you can make individual portions that you can freeze for later too! (Great make-ahead dessert) It’s easy to make, a little time consuming, but considering that I have nowhere to go… it’s perfect for this moment!

Here we go :

Steamed Artichokes with Aioli

  • Cut the stem from artichokes and discard, making sure the bottom of each artichoke is flat. Cut top 1 inch (or so) of the artichoke and discard. Snip the thorny ends from each artichoke leaf with a pair of kitchen scissors.
  • Fill the bottom of a pot with a couple of inches of water, adding garlic, lemon juice, and bay leaf to the water. Place a steamer basket in the pot, making sure that the water does not flow over the bottom of the steamer basket.
  • Place the artichokes in the basket, resting on the flattened bottoms.
  • Bring water to a boil, cover the pot, and cook until the leaves can be easily pulled from the artichoke, 20 to 30 minutes.

I used store-bought Aioli but you can easily make it yourself :

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon or more if desired
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper taste]
  • Whisk until well combined then place into the refrigerator to allow flavors to come together

Cote de Boeuf (Bone-in Rib Eye)

Treat yourself to a good quality aged steak if can afford it.  The flavor is amazing!

Let meat rest at room temp about 2 hours before cooking

Brush with olive oil and liberally salt and pepper

Heat a grill pan on stovetop to high heat.

It’s gonna be messy – but worth it! And we’ve got the time for clean up these days

Sear each side and don’t be afraid to get a nice brown crust.

I like my beef on the rare side so I just kept it on the grill until the desired level of doneness.

I kind of know at this point when to remove from the grill but here is a guide.  Use a meat thermometer!

It’s worth it and especially if you splurge on a great piece of meat!  You don’t want to risk overcooking it!

Remove from grill and let rest a few minutes!  Slice it up and enjoy with some good red wine!  I had a

Haut Medoc with this.  One of my favorites!

Grill Times & Temperatures for Steak

 

Steak Doneness Remove from Grill at this Temperature Final Cooked Temperature
Rare 130 to 135°F 130 to 140°F
Medium Rare 140°F 145°F
Medium 155°F 160°F

 

 

Chicken Marbella

I love this recipe and I make it a few times a year. Originally, I got the recipe from a friend years ago and

it’s been one of my go-to chicken dishes ever since! The flavors are so delicious and make a delicious sauce you can mop up with bread or serve over polenta or mashed potatoes!

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Marinating time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 5-8

Although the original recipe calls for 2 small chickens to be quartered, you could easily do this recipe with 5 pounds of chicken pieces, thighs, and breasts.

 INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs each, quartered, bone-in, skin-on (I used 1 whole chicken cut into 8ths)
  • Cloves from 1/2 head of garlic, peeled and finely puréed
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 8 large pitted Spanish green olives, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight.

2 Place chicken in a baking pan, top with marinade, brown sugar, wine: Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle brown sugar over the chicken pieces and pour white wine around them.

3 Bake until done: Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with the pan juices. Chicken is done when a sharp knife inserted into the thigh pieces, at their thickest point, run with clear yellow juices (not pink).

4 Serve with pan juices: With a slotted spoon, move the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Pour some of the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle generously with parsley. Serve remaining juices in a gravy boat.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes

Ingredients

3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup) 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup egg substitute  (I used 4 eggs)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (2.6-ounce) bar dark (71% cocoa) chocolate (such as Valrhona Le Noir Amer), finely chopped

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preparation

  1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt.
2. Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars, beating until well blended (about 5 minutes and be patient, it will come together) Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating until well blended. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture; fold in chocolate.

Divide batter evenly among 4-6 ramekins; arrange ramekins on a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.

3. Preheat oven to 350°.

4. Let ramekins stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until cakes are puffy and slightly crusty on top. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar; serve immediately.

I have frozen these to use at a later date!  Just remove from the freezer and thaw before baking!

*also, if you wanna get crazy, serve with some vanilla ice cream… but you didn’t hear that from me 😉 lol

FEED THE SOUL

The stage and the kitchen are my happy place.  I have always loved to feed people with food and music!   I am so thankful to have a passion for cooking especially in these difficult times.  I hope that some of these recipes inspire you to get into the kitchen and get cooking and help to heal your hearts and feed your souls!

Wishing you a bon appetit!

Stay Home, Stay healthy!

Love,

Robin

 

Who’s hungry? Easy recipes for difficult times :)

Um… me! I have spent the last week going between cooking, making music, crafting, cleaning, doing laundry and topped it all off with a little pacing back and forth. I went for a jog on the beautiful sunny days and did a live exercise class with about 35 other people too. I was surprised that this was something that actually lifted my spirits! There are several online classes and options available so think about trying it!

This week I’m gonna try a yoga class that one of my favorite studios is starting to do. I’m not gonna lie, there are ups and downs but overall I really am trying to stay positive. I have had to turn off the news and just tune in once or twice to see the daily news. But considering that the news now is a little bleak, I think it’s better to watch less. When I did this, I felt better overall. Try it!

Also trying to stay on track with my health and fitness during this period. Here are a few yummy things I’ve cooked and maybe can give you some idea for this week!
I’m gonna start with the fun stuff! I know this is not super low in fat but it is lower in fat and sodium that eating processed foods that are loaded with salt, sugar, and fat.
I am more into eating whole foods and in addition, give you something to do.

Weekend APÉRO! (Appetizer)

For the weekend I tried to do something a little more festive. So I made a little “apero” before dinner.
I used things from my pantry. I had roasted peppers and artichokes so I came up with this.

Warm Artichoke, Red Pepper and Feta dip.

In a baking dish, add drained quartered artichokes, roasted red peppers, sprinkle with feta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. A little fresh thyme (or dried oregano) place in the oven at 400 degrees F (205C)for about 15/20 minutes. You can squeeze a little lemon on it if you like. Be creative! Use what you may have in your pantry!

Serve with crostini or crackers. We enjoyed it with a little white wine.

Sunday Brunch!

Zucchini, Tomato and Potato Frittata

I had a dozen eggs that were almost past the expiration date so… I decided to make a frittata.
I had a few roasted potatoes leftover from dinner the night before so I added them in but you could easily make this without!

PREHEAT oven to 350F (180C)

Sauté in oven proof pan
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 chopped onion
Then add:
Thinly sliced 2 zucchini
Sauté about 5 minutes then set aside

Crack 12 eggs in a bowl
Add 3/4 cup milk
Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup or more if you like)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk together.

ON low heat, Heat a little butter in the pan and add cooked potato to reheat. Then add egg mixture.
Scrape bottom and sides while eggs cook very slowly… after about 3 minutes add the zucchini and top with chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle with more parmesan and if you like, top with ricotta cheese OR cream cheese. You can skip this too. It just adds a little creaminess.

Finish cooking in the oven for about 15 minutes. It will be nice and fluffy when you remove.
Let cool and serve with a green salad.

Brunch Cocktails

We had a brunch cocktail I like to call The Aperol Special! Here’s the recipe for that!
2 parts Aperol
1 Part Grapefruit juice
1/2 Part Vodka
Top with Prosecco

Weeknight Ideas

I make this with spaghetti squash to lighten it up a bit but of course, would be delicious over linguine or penne and then some yummy crusty bread to get all the sauce left in the bottom of your dish! Up to you! 🙂

Spaghetti Squash with Puttanesca Sauce (Rachael Ray’s recipe)

• 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 tin flat anchovy fillets, drained
• 1 /2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 20 oil-cured black olives, cracked away from the pit and coarsely chopped
• 3 tablespoons capers
• 1 (32-ounce) can chunky style crushed tomatoes
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
• A few grinds black pepper
• 1/4 cup (a couple of handfuls) flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano, for passing, optional

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205C)
Cut squash in half (longways) remove seeds and then Brush with olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and gently scrape inside to shred the squash. I added the sauce to the top then topped with parmesan and put back in the oven for about 10 minutes to brown the cheese a bit.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, garlic, anchovies, and crushed pepper. Sauté mixture until anchovies melt into oil and completely dissolve and garlic is tender about 3 minutes: your kitchen never smelled so good! Add olives, capers, tomatoes, black pepper, and parsley. Bring sauce to a bubble, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes.

Don’t be scared of the anchovies! They add so much flavor! And they disappear so you will never know they are there!

BUDDA BOWLS and SALADS

I roasted up lots of veggies like Red Peppers, fennel, onion, carrot, and zucchini then served over quinoa with some fresh mozzarella.
It was seriously flavorful! Try it!

Quinoa, Avocado, fresh fennel, roasted peppers is what I had in my fridge 🙂 I drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice.

Mexican flavor ideas
Quinoa, corn, black beans, avocado, salsa, lettuce, plain yogurt or sprinkle with cheese

What are you guys cooking, eating and drinking? And what are you doing to pass the time at home? Send me your ideas!
I’d love to hear from you! Wishing you a healthy week! Remember nothing is permanent. We are all in this together.

Sending loads of virtual hugs to you all!
xoxo,
Robin

Chicken Grease !

Hi friends!

I hope you all are staying healthy and finding ways to get through these uncertain times. If you don’t know already, I love to cook somewhat healthy at home so I thought it was a great time to share some of the meals I prepare. Usually, I create a lot of my own recipes using what I have in my fridge and pantry but I also have a few go to’s by cooks and chefs that I follow.
This is what I made on Sunday. After all the restaurants and bars closed here in France, it seemed like a comforting meal to help us get ready to hunker down and wrap our brains around the situation.
As of today we are in a total confinement and only able to leave the house for essential trips (grocery, pharmacy and doctors). OH, and it is acceptable to excessive outside too. 🙂 I guess there is no excuse for skipping my weekly run in the woods. Maybe it’s the time to train for a 10K?

Spotify Playlist to get you in the mood for some CHICKEN GREASE! :
Listen Here !

We enjoyed this meal with a beautiful bottle of red wine from the south west of France. Beret Noir (Saint Mont) As you can see from the empty bottle we quite enjoyed it 🙂

Ina Garten’s Roast Chicken
I use this recipe (that’s so easy and delicious)
(If you don’t like fennel you can add potatoes, carrots or any root veggie) But seriously, give it a try… the fennel is so yummy along with the chicken and carrots and the juice that is created while roasting!

• INGREDIENTS
• 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
• 1 lemon, halved
• 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
• 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
• 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
• 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
• 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
• Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. (220 degrees C)

1. 2 Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

1. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

This is an easy delicious meal you can prepare with little preparation!
I used all the bones from the carcass to then make chicken stock.
Just throw the carcass in a stock pot along with 2 carrots, one onion, 2 stalks of celery and a little salt. I usually add salt at the end because I had already salted the chicken when I roasted it and there is alway a little skin left that has been salted.

Fill pot with water and bring to boil then reduce and simmer covered for about 2 hours and then remove lid and cook down a little more to reduce and bring out more flavor.

I fill ziplock bags and freeze for later.

It’s so worth have home made chicken stock in your freezer in case you do get sick it’s so comforting!

A few ideas of what to make wth the stock:

Classic chicken Noodle soup (add carrots, celery and some small pasta or rice)
Lemon chicken soup with rice and coconut milk
Thai curry veggies or noodles (add some curry paste and cook down a bit) Add noodles and /or veggies
Make risotto with chicken stock! SO much flavor
Cook rice or polenta with stock too
Escarole and white bean soup
Butternut squash soup
Healthy Alfredo Sauce (from Spark Recipes)
• 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 cups skim milk
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. black pepper
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Toss with fettuccine and peas! Comfort and kind to you waistline 🙂

Bon appetit!

  1. No Ordinary Love Robin McKelle 1:49