Best Skillet Ever

When I took a class at SOHO in Winston Salem (Southern Home and Kitchen), the instructor used a Black Cube skillet. She was not trying to sell the skillet as she was focused on teaching us some delicious foods, but it was clear she liked this pan. So, afterwards, I decided to splurge and buy one.

This is what it looks like:

img_1414I am somewhat frying and sauteing  challenged. I get distracted and the in the coursee of a few seconds, my food is very charred and I am airing out the house so that the smoke alarm does not start shrieking. However, this pan is rather more forgiving. It is described as non-stick but to be safe the times I have used it, i used maybe 2 teaspoons of oil. Truthfully, it was unnecessary. Of course a small amount of oil does add flavor.

What do I like about this pan: you can use metal utensils, it seems truly non-stick, heats up very nicely and quickly but I haven’t torched anything yet ūüėĄ, the weight is good, handle is comfortable, and it cleans very easily.

I really like this skillet. There is some kind of promotion on Saturday morning at SOHO in Winston Salem on 10/29, so check it out if you have a chance.


Amanda Hesser’s Peach Tart … made with Apples


If you are not familiar with, I encourage you to check it out. The site has many ideas and some terrific recipes, including Amanda Hesser’s Peach Tart. She is one of the founders of the site. Here is a link to the recipe:¬†

Given that peach season is over and apple season is upon us, I used 7-8 small apples, peeled, cored and sliced in pl.ace of the peaches. Using one of those awesome apple peeler gadgets takes less than five minutes to prepare all of the apples. That particular gadget will be the focus of another post.

After arranging the apples over the crust, I squeezed the juice of one lemon over the sliced apples. Top it with the sugar, flour, and butter mixture to which you have added 1 tsp cinnamon. Pop into the oven and bake about 35-40 min at 425. Enjoy!

Italian style Haddock on Meatless Monday

I usually try to go completely vegetarian on Meatless Monday but since some friends were coming over and celebrating a birthday,  I decided that fish was a reasonable compromise since it is not really meat. A strict vegetarian might disagree.

Our friends had recently returned¬†from a trip to Italy so I decided to incorporate some Italian flavors to our meal. I looked at a number of recipes, and am borrowing ideas from some, adding some of my own, and incorporating shortcuts. ¬†Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 haddock fillets ( one could use any firm, white-fleshed fish)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • seasoned salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

For the sauce:

  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, pressed
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. dry white white
  • 1/2 c. minced parsley

Start the sauce first by putting all ingredients except the parsley into a small saucepan. Using a hand blender, kind of half puree the mixture. You should have some pieces of tomato. It should not be completely smooth but with a bit of texture. Simmer on low heat for at least an hour. Stir in the parsley at the end. Set aside.

To prepare the fish, melt the stick of butter and dump it on the baking sheet you will use for cooking the fish. On a sheet of waxed paper, mix the bread crumbs, the parmesan, the salt and pepper.

Dip each piece of fish in melted butter (which is on the baking sheet) and then into the seasoned bread crumbs. Place on the baking sheet. If there are any crumbs left after all the pieces have been coated, sprinkle on top of the fish.

At this point, you can refrigerate the fish on the baking pan. About 25-30 minutes before you plan to serve the fish, take it out of the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 450 F. When the oven is up to temperature and everything else is ready, bake the fish in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Use a timer and remove immediately. To serve, take a generous ladleful of the tomato sauce and spread over a plate. Place one cooked fillet on top of the sauce. Repeat for the remaining servings. Enjoy!

This is delicious!!!



Silly Simple Chicken Prep

I feel silly even posting this, but given that it took me this many years to figure it out, maybe others will find it helpful. Some friends of ours had to move back home overseas unexpectedly and quickly (in less than a week) and so we were the lucky inheritors of much of the contents of their freezer and refrigerator. I have to admit that I am rather lazy when it comes to meat with bones. I really do not like to mess with meat that has bones at the table. I know that the bones add flavor, etc., but sorry, it just takes away my appetite. And yes, at times I think I might become vegetarian.  Sometimes I say absolutely yes. And then I feel like my body is craving meat. So there you have it.

Anyway, I had 4-5 lbs of chicken pieces, breasts and thighs, all of which needed to be used. One day I put them into the crockpot, with a tiny bit of water (less than 1 cup and about 1/2 cup white wine) along with some poultry seasoning, and garlic powder. I covered the crockpot and it cooked on low for about ten hours. The liquid was strained into a quart jar and put into the fridge overnight to allow the fat to congeal at the top. I let the meat cool maybe thirty minutes and then cut half of it into small cubes (think chicken pot pie, chicken salad) and half was shredded (tacos, enchiladas). So so easy. I used some of it the next day and froze the rest. After removing the fat from the broth, use the cooking liquid for soup, the chicken broth for the chicken pot pie, etc. Delish.

Doing it —in bulk- seemed easier for me. I like having cooked chicken ready to plug into a recipe, and it could not have been simpler. I’ve done that before, but only enough for one recipe. This involved very little hands on time and resulted in enough cooked chicken for several recipes. I know that many people like to just buy rotisserie chicken and use that meat, but this really allows one to do quite a bit at once, and then you have it on hand. Like I said at the beginning. SIMPLE!

Autumn Salads for Lunch

It is so easy to quickly make a delicious colorful salad with fall veggies. You don’t even miss the tomatoes and cukes if the garden has given up its last. If you are fortunate enough to have a fall garden and have lettuce, spinach and kale, you are good to go. I like to use a few leaves of lettuce, a few of spinach and then whatever else I happen to have. I really like to buy mixes of salad leaves that I wouldn’t necessarily grow…like mustard and kale and mesclun, although they are pretty easy to grow. I need to force myself to go out and plant when the weather is miserably hot, in August. But that doesn’t always happen. I like to add pumpkin seeds, red peppers, beets (pickled or roasted), red or green onion, a carrot, peeled and sliced. Tossing a few nuts on top (walnuts, peanuts, or almonds are my favorites) and top it off with a good sized scoop of low fat cottage cheese and my favorite dressing of the week. I need to start growing sprouts again….those are delicious in salads like this.. Sometimes I will slice up some turkey or throw in a small can of tuna. This is a salad that “sticks to your ribs” but also does not weigh you down. Enjoy…