Chicken with Saffron and Olives

Chicken thighs with saffron and olivesLast weekend Cheryl requested I make a chicken dish she likes I hadn’t made in a while, chicken thighs with olives. I have two chicken with olives dishes so after asking further questions to narrow down which one, I figured chicken thighs with saffron and green olives was what she wanted. Of course, it was the other one. Nevertheless it’s a flavorful dish and makes for a very good Sunday or weeknight dinner, especially in the fall. (more…)

Ribollita – A Soup for When You’re Sick (or Not)

Ribollita Tuscan Bean SoupThis week has been a struggle. I don’t know if I caught a cold or the flu or what but I’ve been on NyQuil and DayQuil since Saturday. To make matters worse I infected Cheryl and we were away from home, so traveling back to Chicago bright and early Monday morning was not the most fun thing to do. What does everyone want when they’re sick? Soup. And since we had some leftover ciabatta from last week I felt a big pot of ribollita would fit the bill nicely while we convalesced during the week. (more…)

Ciabatta and an Airplane Book

Ciabatta BreadLast weekend we took a trip back to our old stomping grounds in Washington DC in order to see some friends and for my brother’s birthday. I had a brand new book for the plane which looked good, In Search of the Perfect Loaf by Samuel Fromartz, a book about a home baker’s obsession with bread. While reading on the flights I found myself wanting to bake some bread, and since the author talked mentioned ciabatta I decided that would be a good one for this week. (more…)

Braised Red Cabbage, A Perfect Autumn Side Dish

Braised Red Cabbage

Braised red cabbage with last week’s onion brat and homemade mustard.

Red cabbage. Much sweeter than sauerkraut, braised red cabbage is the German restaurant equivalent of beans at a Mexican restaurant, always on the side of whatever dish you order. However, because of its sweet and acidy nature I think red cabbage is much more versatile than refried beans and it pairs well with many fall foods. Red cabbage is also a good alternative to potatoes because it can augment certain types of meat much better than potatoes. (more…)

Oktoberfest Sausage – Onion Brat!

Oktoberfest Onion BratsLooking back I’ve noticed it’s been over a year since I’ve posted a new sausage recipe. Since it’s Oktoberfest time I thought this would be a good week to unveil my latest creation: homemade Onion Brats. I’m not breaking any new ground with this onion brat, as I’m sure it’s been done, but I’m impressed with the extreme flavor derived from just a couple of ingredients; pork, salt, shallots and parsley. (more…)

Braised Pork Belly with Apple and Fennel

Braised pork belly with apple and fennelOne thing I really like about cooking pork dishes is that pork does fantastically well absorbing the flavors you surround it with. Yet another reason why the pig is such a magical animal. Think about it, from sausages to bacon to tenderloin and chops, a lot of the flavor comes from the herbs and spices used in the preparation and cooking. Pork is a wonderful blank canvas for any cook and pork belly is very good choice because it has layers of delicious fat to keep it moist. Reasons enough for me to make braising a perfect technique for preparing pork belly. Especially as we head into cooler Fall weather. (more…)

Pane al’Formaggio – A Great Bread for Autumn

Pane al formaggioHard to believe we’re a third of the way through September already. I know I’ve said this before but I get excited when September hits because it means I can start weaning myself off of the grill and getting back into cooking and baking in the kitchen, especially fresh bread. As usual, when it comes to bread I pick Carol Field’s The Italian Baker off of the shelf to find a good loaf I haven’t tried. This week I found her recipe for the bread equivalent of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, two great tastes which taste great together. Pane al’formaggio, cheese bread! (more…)