Chutney. In case you're new to the term, my very simplistic definition of chutney is a condiment that falls somewhere in between a salsa and a jam. Think fruit-based relish with a kick of spice. Chutney is chunky but spreadable. I've served it with breads, chicken and pork and my favorite way to eat chutney - is with cheese. 🧀
In preparation for this recipe, I looked for mango chutney at several of my local supermarkets. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find it which has me thinking that the people in my little part of the world aren't chutney eaters. Maybe it's more common in other parts of the country. 🤷🏻♀️
Chutney seemed like a critical ingredient in this recipe and I didn't want to scrap the whole thing even though I couldn't find it. Sooooo, I did the next best thing. I pulled out my phone while I was standing in the produce section of the grocery store and googled a mango chutney recipe. My quick internet search led me to believe that homemade chutney was super simplistic. I picked up a mango and a jalapeno and headed home to make my homemade chutney and glazed chicken.
It wasn't until I started chopping ingredients that I realized that I may have underestimated the complexity of making a homemade chutney. 😅 Needless to say, I rushed the process and it didn't quite live up to my expectations . It was a far cry from the chutney recipe that I googled. 😂 I decided to move forward with the recipe anyway and despite my inadequate chutney making skills, I think it turned out pretty darn good.
Mango Chutney Glazed Chicken
4 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 cup mango chutney
1 whole chicken
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
Remove chicken from oven and brush with chutney from second bowl.
Serve chicken with reserved chutney sauce.
Anyone know where I can find mango chutney? Trader Joes? Sprouts? Whole Foods? I would really like to try this recipe again with a store bought chutney so I can compare the two. TIA
Not everything that comes out of my kitchen is a gourmet masterpiece. I make a lot of new recipes and that means a whole lot of trial and error. (mostly error) 😅Sometimes, I end up with unexpectedly delicious mistakes and other times, I have to scrap the whole thing and start over with new ingredients. Cooking is a term that is always evolving for me. I'm not sure that I'll ever feel as if I've mastered it, but I gain more confidence every time I do it.
The funny thing is, that my cooking confidence doesn't translate to my food blogging. I've been blogging for 9 years and I still have with a mini anxiety attack every single time I have to push the publish button on a new recipe. "What will people think of this recipe?" "Will they like it?" "Will other people be able to make this recipe?" "Did I accidentally leave out an ingredient?"
When I’m talking to someone and they say “I’m making your…” or “I made your ____ for dinner last night” my instinct is to hold my breath and cross my fingers. I know that Brazilian Black Bean Burgers aren't everyone's cup of tea but I also don't want anyone to be disappointed. I can't seem to escape the feeling that I'm personally responsible for other people's food failures. 😬
My goal as a food blogger is to be as honest as possible. I'll always give you my opinions - good AND bad. And a lot of time, I'll even share the feedback from my family because we have very different food preferences.
In the case of this Eggplant Parmigiana Pizza, the flavor was outstanding even though I didn't feel like it LOOKED as good as it tasted. Despite it's pale color - this pizza was DELICIOUS! I'm normally a margherita pizza lover and the addition of roasted eggplant and fresh tomatoes just took it to a whole new level. 🍕
I blame my uncooperative Big Green Egg for the less than golden color on my Eggplant Parmigiana Pizza. (It really was my fault for trying to save time by not cleaning out the charcoal and replacing it with new.) 😬 This really was a delicious combination of toppings though. My pizza dough recipe makes 3 doughs so I made 3 different pizzas on the night that I made this. I made one Eggplant Parmigiana Pizza and the other 2 were more traditional but this was the one that disappeared FIRST.
Eggplant Parmigiana Pizza
1 pizza crust
1/4 cup good quality stewed tomatoes, pureed
1 Tsp olive oil
salt, pepper, and dried oregano
1/2 medium-sized eggplant, cut into thin slices
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 ball fresh mozzarella cut into rounds
1 Tbsp grated Parmigiana
Fresh basil leaves
1 small fresh ripe tomato cut into rounds
1 Tbsp olive oil
Cook on the grill or bake in a 500 degree oven for 15 min.
Friday night is pizza night so get your grills fired up and have a pizza party!!
Patience. What tests your patience? If you have children, I'm going to assume that they made your list of people that test your patience. 😂As remarkable as my adult children are, I'm convinced that they were created to develop my sense of patience for the first 20 years of their life. My kids were experts at testing my patience.
One of my children, who will remain nameless, got a hold of a package of zip ties one time and decided to use each and every one of them in an innovative way. This creative prankster snuck downstairs in the middle of the night and decided it would be a hilarious joke to use the zip ties to secure every single cabinet door, drawer and appliance in the kitchen. Imagine my frustration while trying to make my morning tea without being able to open a cabinet and get a mug, open the tea drawer or even be able to turn on the water. 😅 😳 Oh and the drawer with the kitchen scissors - also zip tied closed. Gotta give the kid credit for being thorough. Kids. Patience.
Yup, kids will test your patience on a daily basis. My kids have both moved out of the house but that doesn't mean that other things don't test my patience on a daily basis. I get behind the slow driver in the passing lane. I choose the slowest checkout line in the supermarket. I wait longer than I feel is a reasonable amount of time for a doctors appointment or I have to wait outside in 98 degree temperatures for 30 minutes to get into Trader Joes. 😰
Bread baking is just one of those times when I feel like I get to practice patience. I have to knead it long enough to bring out the gluten in the flour or it will turn into a brick. I can't rush the rising process or the yeast won't have enough time to do its thing. The bread has to bake slowly enough to create air bubbles inside the loaf and to create that beautiful golden crust. 🥖 It's just not something that can be rushed or hurried but if you invest the time required, the results are amazing. There's nothing quite like a slice of warm homemade bread.
This delicious bread is incredible and it takes no less than 9 hours to go from raw ingredients to baked loaf! Just think of it as an exercise in patience. It's well worth your time though. I promise.
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup room temperature water
1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon yeast
1 Tablespoon salt (or rosemary salt)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
Let loaves cool in pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to pans. Brush with any remaining oil from pans.
Let cool 30 minutes before slicing. This focaccia is the perfect compliment to so many things. Obviously, you can serve it with grilled chicken and fish but you should try it with grilled meats and fish too. If you have leftovers, slice it horizontally and fill it with your favorite sandwich ingredients for another amazing creation.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
I couldn't agree more. I have to remind myself of this every morning when I get up and put on my sneakers. 👟 I don't belong to a gym where I can go to workout and get motivation from trainers and friends. Somedays I have to dig deep (like really deep) to find my own inspiration to work myself into a puddle of sweat. 😅 You'd hardly know it from looking at me, but I push myself to work my muscles past the point of comfortable on a daily basis because I know that the pain and effort that I put into my workouts is ultimately good for my body. 💪🏻
The key for me is to figure out if the time and effort that goes into something is worth it in the end. The extra time and effort that goes into working out - worth it. The time and effort required to make homemade pasta and ragu - definitely worth it. 🍝The time and money that is required to make homemade marshmallows - definitely NOT worth it. (Some things you have to figure out the hard way.) 😂
Sometimes I feel like a significant investment of either time or money into a recipe, makes it even more appealing. I also feel like I've eaten more than my share of really bad meals just because I felt like I had too much time invested to scrap it completely and start over. 😖
There's no question that homemade ragu is an investment in time. It's head and shoulders above anything you can buy in the grocery store. The slow cooker takes all the hard work out of the process. Most of the prep time is hands off so get it started and then just sit back and wait for the amazing smells to start filling your kitchen.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
15 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Serve sauce with the pasta of your choice. I chose an egg pappardelle to go with my homemade ragu. What is your favorite pasta? I like to buy the most unusual, obscure and hard to pronounce dried pasta that I can find in the grocery store. 🤷🏻♀️ I guess we all collect different things. 🤣
We keep secrets in our house. 🤫 The biggest secret that I keep from my husband is which night I'm planning to cook fish for dinner. 🐟😂 Why, you ask? My better half is notorious for showing up late to dinner on fish nights. And fish is the one thing that I hate to eat cold. In my opinion, fish is meant to be eaten hot out of the oven, a pan or off the grill and never lukewarm or cold. (Sorry sushi lovers.) 🍣
I used to prepare a fish dinner every Monday night but I finally realized that most weeks on Monday night, my sweet spouse would come home later than usual from work. After years of getting frustrated while watching my fish cool on the dinner table while waiting on my dinner companion to get home, I got the brilliant idea to switch up our fish nights. 😠 Who knew that he had the innate ability to sense when I was cooking fish and adjust his schedule accordingly? My usually hard working and usually prompt husband is notoriously late on fish nights. It's like Murphy's Law. Without fail, the only night that he arrives home from work, is the night that I cook fish. Did I mention how much I hate cold fish?
If eating a hot fish dinner means keeping it a surprise from my groom, I'll do it. He's sabotaged my hot fish dinner so many times that it's become a running joke in our house. All he has to do is shoot me a text that says, "Is it fish night?" and I know that translates to "I have a late meeting. I'm coming home late." It's hard to describe the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I actually pull off a hot fish dinner without him knowing. 🤣 It's the little things.
Hiding the fish in the basement refrigerator is just one component to pulling off a surprise fish dinner. 😉Luckily, I bought this Branzini over the weekend so it only had to spend one night in refrigerator quarantine. I had the Whole Foods seafood counter employee scale it and cut off the fins before wrapping it in nondescript brown paper. (If cooking a fish with eyeballs freaks you out, you can have the the head cut off too.)
Herb Crusted Branzini
3 pound whole branzini
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Spread breadcrumb mixture over over fish. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes.
Clearly, my filet skills are pitiful. This fish just fell off the bones though and that made my job super easy. That made for some less than desirable pictures though. You'll have to take my word for it that this fish is BETTER than it looks.
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