"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Baked Chicken with Lemon Thyme Wine Sauce

4 Boneless chicken breasts
1 Cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Small onion, chopped
1 Teaspoon garlic, minced
1/8 Teaspoon white pepper
1/4 Cup cream or half & half
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon thyme, or 1 Teaspoon dried
1/2 Cup Swiss cheese, grated (optional)
8 Lemon thyme sprigs, 2-3" in length
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375F. Pierce chicken breasts with fork and arrange in a baking dish. Add wine and marinate for 10 minutes. Sauté onions and garlic in butter and olive oil until transparent. Remove the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon and set them aside, along with the seasoned oil. In a blender, thoroughly blend the wine, pepper, cream, flour, and lemon thyme, adding onions and garlic. Brown the chicken in the seasoned oil over a medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, turning once. Return chicken to baking dish and add the blended sauce. Cover and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and cook an additional 15 minutes. (Optional: add Swiss cheese during last 5 minutes of cooking.) Garnish with sprigs of lemon thyme. Serves four.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Oregano & Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup

Ounce for ounce, oregano is one of the world’s most antioxidant-dense foods, according to a 2003 report in The Journal of Nutrition. One tablespoon of the fresh herb packs the same antioxidant punch as a medium-sized apple. Its high concentration of these plant compounds may help prevent cellular damage and reduce the risk of common killers such as cancer, heart disease, and hypertension. Oregano also has antimicrobial qualities. It contains thymol and carvacrol, strong antiseptics used in mouthwashes that inhibit growth of bacteria and fungi.

This flowery hot herb is a staple in Italian, Greek, and Mexican cuisines. Greek oregano is most common. Mexican oregano is less minty and best in spicy dishes. Chop fresh oregano for salads, or steep 3 teaspoonfuls (1 to 2 teaspoons dried) 10 minutes in 1 cup boiling water and sweeten with honey to make an herbal tea. Use it to brighten soft cheeses, and egg, bean, vegetable, or grain dishes; substitute it for thyme or rosemary for variety.

Who knew that Oregano is a weed!  Just look at how it has taken over my little herb patch!

 Time to thin the growth a little.  Remember those old Ronco Dehydrators.. yup I have one!

And the old thing still works!

Removed the leaves from the stems.

A quick trip to the food processor.

Oregano anyone?  I can already smell the sauces cooking!

Serves 6
30 minutes or fewer
The distinctive flavor of this soup comes from a sofrito, a puréed mix ofonions, garlic, and bell peppers.

1 medium onion, diced (1 ½ cups)
1 small red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
1 small green bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
6 cups cooked black beans, divided
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (2 ½ cups)
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 Tbs. fresh oregano leaves
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. salt
Diced red onion and green bell pepper for garnish
1. Sauté onion, bell peppers, and garlic in saucepan with a little water or vegetable broth over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Transfer to blender, and purée until smooth. Add 3 cups beans and 6 to 7 cups water; purée until mixture is consistency of thick soup.
2. Return mixture to saucepan, and add remaining beans, potatoes, vinegar, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Remove bay leaf. Garnish each serving with diced red onion and green bell pepper.

March 2011 p.52