picture by the Serving Wench
WARNING: This recipe is not healthy. There is no way around it. I could have tried healthier alternatives but in all my research for vintage 60′s dishes, it seems that butter and heavy cream was big. Go big, or go home, right? Well, in my continued excitement of the pending premiere of Mad Men, I had to be true what they served (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). Casseroles seemed to have been big in the sixties for entertaining and taking over to friend’s homes. I’m not big on casseroles and neither was my mom, so this was definitely an experience for me.
This dish was fairly easy to make, but took many steps. I poured through several recipes and finally decided on one. I modified it quite a bit. I love garlic, so I definitely increased the amount used, I wanted to add rice to this dish, but ate it all. So plan B was to add pasta. I love to use fresh herbs when I can, but you can substitute dried basil and thyme as the original recipe requested. It was definitely delicious and look to learning other casserole dishes.
- 2 pkgs. frozen spinach (thawed & drained)
- ½ stick butter (unsalted)
- 2 TBS minced garlic
- 1 TBS fresh thyme
- 4 fresh basil leaves (chopped)
- ¼ C (plus 1 TBS) flour
- 1 C heavy whipping cream
- 1 lb. chicken tenders
- 1 (14.5 oz) can of chicken broth*
- 2 C penne pasta
- 1 pkg of prosciutto (8 slices)
- shaved parmesan
- Salt & pepper
*chicken broth can be substituted for white wine.
- Season and brown chicken. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray non-stick spray on a casserole pan. Pour pasta in the dish, covering the bottom.
- In a large sauté pan, over medium to medium low heat, add in 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of garlic, basil and thyme. Stir constantly.
- Add a tablespoon of flour and stir well. Add in spinach and ¼ cup of heavy cream. Stir well and cook until spinach becomes bright green (about six minutes).
- Top the cooked spinach on top of the pasta, covering the whole pan. Top the spinach with the chicken pieces.
- In the same sauté pan, add the rest of the garlic, the rest of the butter and the ¼ cup of flour. Blend until smooth.
- Slowly add in the chicken broth and the rest of the heavy cream. Stir constantly until sauce thickens (about 15 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- As the sauce is simmering, thin slice the prosciutto. Add these pieces to the sauce. Mix well and pour the sauce over the whole dish. Be sure to cover the pasta as well. Sprinkle the parmesan on top.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Recipe was adapted and modified from southernfood.about.com.
Photo by The Serving Wench
Full of drama, Mad Men on the AMC network, has become a world-wide phenomenon. A period drama set in 1960′s Manhattan, NY, specifically on Madison Ave.
With the show’s impending premiere, there will be many watch parties across the globe. This is a staple drink that should be served if you want a true Mad Men or 60′s themed party. To anyone who are cocktail connoisseurs or know the history of this particular cocktail, knows that the original Old Fashioned did not incorporate fruit. Somewhere down the road, fruit was introduced (rumor is fruit was added to sweeten or add flavor during the Depression). Below I have included the traditional recipe and the one you’ll find Don Draper drinking.
Classic Old Fashioned
- Angostura bitters
- American Rye Whiskey
- lemon or orange peel (as garnish)
- In a small rocks glass, add ½-1 tsp of sugar, add three dashes of bitters and then add a splash of water.
- Muddle until it becomes a syrup.
- Add 2 oz. of rye whiskey
- Add ice and stir.
- Garnish and enjoy.
Don Draper’s Old Fashioned (Modern recipe, most likely served at bars)
- Angostura Bitters
- orange wedges
- Maraschino cherries
- In a small rocks glass, add an orange wedge, a cherry, a dash of bitters, splash of water and a tsp of sugar.
- Muddle until it becomes a thick syrup.
- Add 2 oz. of Bourbon, ice and stir.
- Garnish as desired and enjoy (with a cigar, if you want to get fancy and all *tailored suit required for full effect*)
Picture by the Serving Wench
In anticipation of the third season of Game of Thrones release on March 31st, this week we will feature recipes that could or would have been served up to the many wearied characters. Game of Thrones is based on George R.R. Martin’s, “A Song of Fire and Ice” series. Full of political intrigue, complex characters and dragons. Yep, you had me at dragons. There is a food blog dedicated to recreating recipes that are mentioned in the series. The author painstakingly researched old medieval recipes and did their best to recreate them.
I decided to try the Brown Oatbread recipe. This bread is light and moist in the center with a perfect crusty top. This would do well with a chicken dish or served with cheese and wine. I made a whipped cinnamon honey butter for my loaf and it was amazing. This is wonderful with jam or plain butter as the original author suggests. It is quite easy to make, however be forewarned that it is time consuming as you have to wait for the dough to rise. Cheers and enjoy!
|1 ½ hour
- 2 C boiling water
- ½ C molasses
- 2 TBS. Butter
- 1 C rolled oats (not the instant kind)
- 1 TBS yeast
- ½ tsp coarse salt (I used regular and it was fine)
- 2-2 ½ C flour
- 1 TBS melted butter
- Combine the boiling water with the molasses and butter. Stir until it is well incorporated. Pour the mixture over the rolled oats and let it sit for 30 min.
- When the mixture is warm to the touch, but not hot, stir in the yeast. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- The mixture should be light and slightly bubbly. Add salt, and gradually and gently mix in the flour.
- Grease a small mixing bowl and transfer the dough. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- The dough should double in size. Grease a large loaf pan. Transfer the dough to the bread pan. Brush with melted butter and cover. Let it sit for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F. The dough should have doubled in size again. Place into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the loaf is a golden brown.
- Let the loaf to cool down for 30 minutes and then transfer to a plate. Slice and serve.
This recipe was adapted from the Inn at the Crossroads blog.
Picture by the Serving Wench
I will never be an artist. Ever. My paintings or drawings are just glorified stick figures. I get lucky with that one perfect photo, but that is after a million takes. However, cooking is where I can just be me. I zone out in the kitchen. I love to entertain and feed others because there is that small part of me that I’m sharing with you. There is a certain intimacy that comes from food. There are times where an artist loses inspiration and for writer’s it’s called “writer’s block”. What do they call it when a cook has lost his/hers touch? I don’t have a name for it but it pretty much means get your butt back in the kitchen. I’ve poured over many other food blogs, magazines, Pinterest boards, tweets and I envied the time and dedication they had. Finally, it was like a light switched hit me (yes hit me, okay maybe I ran into it). In a single moment I had remembered why I loved cooking so much and why baking is therapeutic to me. Amongst the daily grind and the focusing so much on school and work that I forgot (essentially) about me.
Do what you love and never lose sight of who you are. For when you do, everything you do thereafter, has no meaning or purpose. Yes, it was a pretty gnarly run in with the light switch, to lead to an existential moment. Inspiration and ideas starting flowing and so my kitchen is constantly a mess, my phone notepad app is filled with random ideas. I’m sure some of the things I’ve thought are not original and that somewhere in this blogosphere there are replications of my ideas but hey, food is art. The only thing that matters is how it makes you feel in the end.
Today’s post consists of a pork tenderloin seasoned with a cracked peppercorn blend. You can find several different cracked peppercorn blends at your local grocery store. For this recipe, I chose a blend that contained onions, garlic, salt and peppercorn. I’m fascinated by the fusion of sweet and spicy. I thought a pineapple-chipotle glaze would be a good complement to pork.
- 1 1 lb. pork tenderloin
- 2 TBS cracked peppercorn seasoning
- 1 can (8 oz.) diced pineapples
- 1 C packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ½-1 tsp ground chipotle peppers
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray. Season the pork tenderloin well and generously. Cook the tenderloin between 35-50 minutes. *Depending on the directions of the package for the tenderloin, cooking times and temperature will vary.
- To make glaze, combine all ingredients into a blender and liquefy.
- In a medium saucepan, bring mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes (or until it thickens.)
- Turn off the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.
- When pork is done, slice it up and serve on a plate and drizzle glaze on top.
Have you ever looked in your fridge and then looked at your cupboard? Nothing. Looked back in your fridge and then back at your cupboard?Nothing. As I sit there fighting with myself, because I know very well there is plenty of food there, but lack the motivation, inspiration or creativity to make things work. Also, I’m fighting with my laziness to go to the store. Sometimes, you just want things there, already made. Like a magic icebox that can read your mind and creates what you crave as you open it, and viola! Or that magic cupboard from the “Indian and the Cupboard” except for bringing little toys to life, it brings your dry goods together into a delicious, magnificent dish.
Okay, yes this is all wishful thinking and definitely takes the fun out of cooking. However, sometimes, just sometimes…
There are many wonderful websites out there can produce recipes for based on what you already have on hand in the kitchen. Again, I was fighting laziness and time was ticking. Okay, okay it was more like my tummy was grumbling. This recipe is simple and surprisingly flavorful all on its own. I needed a side dish and saw a leftover box of orzo pasta. I also had left over chopped sweet onions from breakfast and half a bottle of roasted red peppers. This came together well and can be eaten as a side or by itself! Happy Spring everyone!
- 1 small sweet onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 TBS olive oil
- Garlic salt
- half a bottle of roasted red peppers (16 oz. jar)
- Heat olive oil in small pan on medium heat. Chop onions and mince garlic, then add them to the pan.
- Sautee until onion is translucent.
- In a medium sauce pan, cook pasta according to directions on box. Approximately 9 minutes for an al dente texture.
- Drain the roasted red pepper and chop into pieces.
- Drain pasta when it is done cooking; add in roasted red peppers, onions and garlic. Sprinkle in garlic salt and parsley to season and toss until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Serve as desired.
Originally I found a version of this recipe in a magazine, and what really drew my interest was how easy it looked. For years I had been under the impression that cooking game hens was a lengthy process. I was delighted to discover that game hens can be found frozen in most grocery stores, usually for a cheap price. These glazed hens are delicious and can be easily made on a weeknight. I do recommend having butchers twine on hand in the kitchen, as well as purchasing your hens the day before so that they can defrost in the fridge overnight. Please enjoy these spicy, tangy, sweet and delicious hens!
||40 min-60 min
- 2 Cornish game hens, roughly 1 ½ lbs each, thawed
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons Asian chili sauce (Sambal Oelek brand can be found in most grocery stores)
- ½ small cantaloupe
- 1 shallot
- 1 cucumber
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 500°. Thoroughly rinse off hens in cold water then pat dry. Season the hens all over with salt and pepper then truss with butchers twine. (If you need help trussing there are some great videos available on YouTube)
- Place hens in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
- While the hens are roasting, whisk the chili sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt together. Set half on this chili mixture aside in a bowl to use on the salad.
- Baste hens with the remaining chili mixture, and then continue to cook until the hens register at 160° on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, which should take 20-30 more minutes.
- While hens cook, peel and thinly slice shallot and the cantaloupe. Peel, seed and thinly slice the cucumber. Combine the cucumber, cantaloupe, shallot and toss with the remaining half of the chili mixture dressing.
- Once the hens are done, use kitchen shears to cut the twine and serve the hens with the salad, drizzle any juices from the roasting pan over the hens and salad as a finishing touch.
Nothing cures a bad mood or the case of nerves like chocolate. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate but this cupcake recipe had me coming back for more. This recipe was created using the cake base from a German Chocolate Cake recipe. I’m allergic to coconut, but I had to try the recipe that uses coffee in its recipe!! One of my weaknesses is coffee.
When I do enjoy chocolate, it is usually chocolate covered oranges. There is something sweet and refreshing about oranges dipped in chocolate. A friend of mine and I had a bake date (with wine of course!) and decided to make these devilish cupcakes!
These bad boys did not last long!
- 4 oz. Semi sweet chocolate chips
- 2 ¼ C Cake flour
- ¾ C unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 C lukewarm coffee
- 1 C buttermilk
- 1 ¼ C unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 ¼ C sugar
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 8 oz. dark chocolate (chips or chopped)
- ¾ C heavy whipping cream
- 2 TBS unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 TBS Grand Marnier or any orange liquor
Orange Dream Frosting
- 2 TBS butter, at room temperature
- 4-5 C confectioner’s sugar
- 3 TBS orange juice
- 2 TBS Grand Mariner or other orange liqueur
- pinch of salt
- 1 TBS grated orange zest or a drop of orange oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Melt chocolate in a double-boiler (*or you can use a metal mixing bowl over boiling water in a pot). Set melted chocolate aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a measuring cup, mix buttermilk and coffee together.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar, until it is fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time and be sure to mix them well before adding the next egg.
- Add melted chocolate and vanilla extract until mixture is well incorporated.
- Alternate mixing the flour mixture and coffee/buttermilk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
- Fill cupcake liners until 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Place chocolate in a medium (heat-proof) bowl.
- On stove heat butter and heavy cream, until it comes to a boil.
- Immediately pour the boiling mix over chocolate and whisk gently until completely incorporated.
- Stir in liquor and let it cool and set.
- Pour ganache into a condiment bottle and squeeze contents into the cupcakes (once the cupcakes have cooled.)
- In a small bowl, cream butter, orange juice and Grand Marnier together
- Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar until the frosting peaks to a consistency to your liking. (I’ve found that four cups usually does it.)
- Add in the pinch of salt and orange zest until well blended.
- Add to a piping bag with your desired decorating tip.
Caramel Apple Ciders are synonymous with fall and winter days. Apple ciders have been warmed up with spices such cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and vanilla. One of our favorite things next to food is books. It is a perfect evening, if either of us can curl up with an amazing new book and some Caramel Apple Cider. The Sonoran desert hardly gets snow, but on a really chilly day, this drink can truly warm you up. So these muffins are inspired by this wonderful drink. We added a crumble topping and a salted caramel drizzle for extra yumminess!
Leave us a comment and tell us your favorite winter memory or your favorite thing to do to unwind!
- 4 eggs
- 3 1/3 C all purpose flour
- 2 C apple cider
- 1 1/3 C sugar
- 1 C butter, softened
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 C brown sugar
- ½ C sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
- ½ C butter (cold)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
Salted Caramel Drizzle
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut up butter into small cubes. In a small bowl, combine all crumble topping ingredients together and blend until it is crumbly.
- In another small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set it aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, blending well and then add the vanilla.
- Alternately, starting with the flour mixture, mix in the flour mixture and apple cider on low speed.
- Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way and bake for 10 minutes. Add crumble topping on top and bake for another 5-7 minutes.
- Mix the salt and caramel together.
- After baking let them cool for about 5 minutes and then drizzle salted caramel on top.
Gift of Giving (Home/Family Series Part 3)
Gift of Parenting
It is said that the love of a child is the greatest gift of all. For new parents, you can help make things that will enhance a child’s growth or stimulate their environment. You can help build a new art center in the playroom. Make a wooden monogram letter decorated pertaining to the child’s interests. Frame a book cover of the child’s or one of the parent’s favorite childhood books. There are many great ideas on the web and some that are handmade and ready to sell to those of you who aren’t crafty (like us!) and those of you that time just isn’t on their side.
You can make magnets out of scrabble letter and a customized magnetic board!
Do you have any great or fun gift ideas for new parents? Please share them below in the comments section.
Sangria has some deep roots in Europe. Wine was known to be spiced with cinnamon and ginger. Wines would often be made from many different berries and fruits. Water was not safe to drink until modern times, so naturally the only safe thing to drink was wine and beer. Sangria as we know it has roots from Spain and was first introduced to America at the 1964 World’s Trades Fair. These sangrias usually used a “claret” or “bordeaux” wine, some fruit and brandy for flavor.
Sangria has become such a big hit and a staple to serve at parties. There are many blush, white and red sangria varieties with numerous flavor combinations. This recipe is a red wine type. To get the best possible flavor, make sangrias the night before as they are at its best when marinated.
1 btl (750 ml) red wine
1 C peach puree
½ C brandy
½ C Blackberry syrup
1 C fresh blackberries
fresh peaches for garnish (optional)
- Combine all ingredients and stir.
- Marinate over night or minimum of four hours.
- Shake before serving and serve over ice.
Gift of Giving (Home/Family Series Part 2)
New Homeowners or The Newlyweds
There is nothing like owning a home or being married for the first time. For these couples, try etching your own wine glasses with a custom made stencils. They are super easy do. Finding or making your own stencil will be the hardest part. You can always do a monogram for these couples.
You can make scented candles, all items can be easily found at Michaels. You can even add scented oils for bigger touch.
If you’re not feeling crafty, you can find custom made wine glasses online from several different stores.