Chicken Mole Poblano

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Latin food is one of my favorite genres to both cook and eat, and this dish is on the top of my list.  I originally got this chicken mole poblano recipe from Top Chef Season 5 contestant, Carla Hall, when she was featured in Health Magazine.  I made it a few years ago and loved it, so I decided it was time to break this recipe out again this past week.  I’m not going to lie though, Carla would have been disappointed with the amount of “love” I put into this dish.  In the beginning of the week, I couldn’t wait to make it, and then reality set in.  I got home from work late, I was tired due to lack of sleep the night before, and the last thing I wanted to do was try to make a recipe I hadn’t done in three years.  I had planned on creating this post, but then I was in such a funk that I scrapped taking photos and glumly resumed my wifely/motherly duties with a sour look on my face.  I had promised my husband (and he was super excited) to make this delicious meal, but I just didn’t feel like it!  However, I knew it was the right thing to do to by making it.  You know those days when you really just don’t want to go to the gym or work out?  But then you do anyway…and you feel SO much better afterward???  Well, this is how cooking this meal went.  I really was not in the mood to cook in the beginning, and was super cranky about it (sorry dear husband).  But as I got into it, I started getting excited (more than likely because I was going to get to eat it)…and then after it was done, I was extremely proud of how it turned out.  I then rushed to grab the camera and take a photo of the final product.  I got back on board with doing a blog post about it, and wished I hadn’t been such a grouch in the beginning.  It’s amazing how making a little meal can uplift your spirits and shift your mood.  I’m still blaming certain mood swings on the hormones. 😉

As for this recipe, I think you will also find it delicious.  And it’s even better when you make it with a little love.  As usual, I made a few changes to my own liking (especially with the chicken – I tend to prefer white meat over dark), but for the most part, the sauce is the same.

Hope you enjoy!

What you need:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1.5 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

.5 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles

1 teaspoon tahini (I omitted this, because I couldn’t find it at the store)

3 oz dark chocolate chopped

1 tablespoon cilantro chopped

Carla used an already cooked rotisserie chicken, divided into 6 pieces and warmed – I used uncooked chicken breasts instead covered in cumin and cinnamon to taste and white cooking wine

1/2 avocado, pitted and sliced

1 tomato, diced

How to Make it Happen:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place uncooked chicken breasts covered in cumin, cinnamon, and white wine into a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake the chicken for approximately 35 minutes (will depend on thickness of the chicken and how your oven cooks, so make sure to check it early to avoid overcooking!)

While the chicken is baking, heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until translucent.  Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in cumin, cinnamon, sale, and pepper; cook for 1 minute.

Add canned diced tomatoes and chiles to saucepan, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in tahini and chocolate until melted.  Stir in chopped cilantro.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Put sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Spoon as much sauce as you like over the chicken.  Serve with avocado and tomato.

I also decided to serve it with some black beans and rice, which really completed the meal for me.  The cheese on top of the beans is cotija.

Happy to say, we blended everything all together to serve to our little guy as well, and he happily ate it as well!

Hope you are all having a great week!

XO,

Gina

Homemade Pesto Sauce

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Our garden has been a hit this year!  Especially for fresh, homemade pasta sauces.  This was my first venture at making my own pesto sauce, and I have to say, it turned out pretty darn good!  Not to mention, it was super easy to make.  Thanks Mom!

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What you need:

2 cups fresh basil leaves

3 or 4 garlic cloves

olive oil – I don’t really measure…enough so that the mixture ends up like a sauce and not chunky

1/4 pine nuts

1/2 cup Romano cheese

blender or food processor

1/2 cup heavy cream (if you want to make pesto cream sauce)

How to make it happen:

Put about half of the basil leaves in a blender or food processor with the olive oil to grind up.  Once it’s smooth, add the other ingredients (except the cream) and remaining basil and olive oil to grind up.  Make sure it is all well blended and smooth.

You can either freeze or use fresh.

Transfer the sauce to a small pot to heat it up.  If you want to make pesto cream sauce, you can whisk in the heavy cream right before turning off the heat.

Boil up your favorite type of pasta, and top it with this delicious sauce!  Once the pasta is boiled, I drain it and then coat it with a layer of the sauce so that it doesn’t dry out and stick together.  Serve it up in bowls, and then top with as much added sauce as you like.  I also add some extra grated Romano cheese to the top, because I’m a cheese fanatic.

Delish!

Hope you enjoy, and would love to hear if any of you try this recipe out.

Happy Monday.  Have a great week everyone!

XO,

Gina

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Pizza With Pears

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Happy Friday everyone!

Sorry for my lack of posting this week.  I have been out sick most of the week, and haven’t felt much up to blogging (or anything else really.)  Been trying to work from home a bit, but mostly been watching endless episodes of Top Chef and Project Runway, and I’m finally caught up with my DVR.

I did make it into the office yesterday and for our 2nd week of our Race to the Oscars event.  I saw Zero Dark Thirty.  WOW.  Amazing.  Intense.  Well done Kathryn Bigelow.  If you haven’t seen this film already, it’s definitely a must see.

Anywho, back to pizza with pears!

While scouring through my recipe books for something new and interesting to cook, I came across a delicious looking recipe for pizza with pears.  I credit this original recipe to Maxine Clark from her book Pizza Calzone &  Focaccia.

Of course, due to time constraints and the inability to find all the ingredients in my local grocery store, I tweaked this recipe a bit–which is very typical of me anyway.

So here we have Pear, Pecorino, and Fontina Pizza with Honey and Sage

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough – original recipe has you making homemade dough, but I opted for a quicker, easier version and went with Pillsbury Pizza Crust (it’s no NY pizza, but not bad!)

2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil, plus some extra to drizzle

4 oz. Fontina cheese cubed (original recipe called for Tallegio, but could not find in my local store – this was a great substitute!)

1 very ripe pear, cored and thinly sliced

12-15 small sage leaves

1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 tbsp. of honey (or more depending on how sweet you would like)

sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Pre-heat the oven at 425 degrees F.  Open the pizza dough package and spread it thinly onto a pizza pan.  Pre-heat the dough according to directions on the Pillsbury package.

Rub the pizza crust with the olive oil and scatter over the Fontina.  Arrange the pears over this, then the sage and the pecorino.  Drizzle with honey, then season with salt and pepper.  Finally, drizzle on a little more olive oil.

Bake until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is golden.

Eat & Enjoy!

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Seven Fishes

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The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian Christmas celebration.  The dinner features seven different types of seafood and commemorates the wait, or vigil, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus.  The most famous dish that Southern Italians are known for is baccala, or codfish.  Italians today also incorporate many other different types of seafood into their meal.

My family has been celebrating this tradition since before I can even remember.  What used to be a feast at my Grandparent’s house for many years has now moved to my Aunt and Uncle’s due to spacial reasons.  The family keeps growing!  Christmas Eve is a night that my cousins and I look forward to all year long.  It’s a time where the whole family is together, we drink delicious drinks, eat the best meal of the year, share gifts, and take our annual family photos.

This year was no different.  We shared many laughs, pumpkin martinis, cherry bomb spritzers, pesto rockfish, breaded baccala, escargot, clams, mussels, shrimp (ok so we had six, not seven, but close enough!), broccoli, garlic bread, the amazing corn pudding, brie, homemade cookies, awkward family photos, presents, and silliness.

I always hate departure time, but I was able to end the night knowing that we would be seeing everyone in less than a week for a family wedding before the new year!  Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

Buon Natale!

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Your Favorite Holiday Things

Thanks to all of those who sent in your favorite holidays things!  I loved getting them!  We all have our own traditions and things that make the holidays special for us, and I appreciate the little peek into how you celebrate the season.

From Justin – @justin_goldberg

Favorite Holiday Treat:

Amazeballs – cooked by his wife, Jessica of The Quest to Be Cookie Queen

 

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From Angela – @acguaragna29

Favorite 2012 Holiday Present:

Finley

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Favorite Movie:

Love Actually

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Favorite Christmas Album:

The Carpenters

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Favorite Cooks:

Grandma & Aunt Marie for Christmas Eve Seven Fishes Italian Dinner

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From Zigi – @zigisitch of ZiGiSituations

Favorite Place to Shop:

Macy’s Windows + Bryant Park w/ the fam

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From Olivia – @PressTerp

Favorite Holiday Tradition:

Decorating my trees…big and small!

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Thanks again to all those who participated and sent in your holiday favorites!

Today I am headed to my aunt and uncle’s house to celebrate Christmas Eve Italian style – the Seven Fishes dinner.  Clams, rockfish, codfish, shrimp, escargot, and whatever else today’s dinner will bring.  It’s one of my favorite days of the year where all of my crazy family gets together to celebrate, eat good food, drink yummy cocktails, sing songs, share gifts, and eat Grandma’s delicious homemade cookies.

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!  Hope you have a fantastic day!

XO,

Gina