When “C” does not stand for what to “Cook”?

So I haven’t updated this blog in a long time. I love the idea of keeping in touch with anyone in the entire world and building a great place to go for easy recipes, but my life is very different from the average bloggers. I’m up a little after 5 AM, I have a 3 hour commute each weekday to Beverly Hills and I’m trying and often failing to fit time in to exercise, play music, write and also just plain have fun with my family and friends. And as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have the time to set-up, take and post the amazing photos that so many other food bloggers do although I certainly envy their talents and the time they must have available. I sound like I’m complaining , but far from it. You see, time matters to me. Now, more than ever.
 
 
Because, another reason I haven’t posted here lately, is that my husband went in for a regular eye exam, only to be told that he had eye cancer. Yes, the man who painted my toenails by candlelight, who has a large albeit sometimes hidden heart of gold and is the reason my boys open even car doors for women has something that has never affected anyone in his family. The fear was paralyzing at first – but then, we marched through it like soldiers probably have to do when they go to war  – suddenly seeing the cracks in our fragile lives – staying as strong and as hopeful as humanly possible because after all, we are just that – only human. 
 
 
Long story short, like an unwilling yet lucky Russian Roulette player, we may have dodged the bullet because after months of treatment and tests including a genetic test, the type of cancer he has in his eye has less than a 5% chance of spreading. If the genetic test had came back otherwise, that 95% chance would have meant not if, but when the cancer would have spread to his liver, brain or other organs and if that occurred, per the medical websites (that turn all of us into medical researchers who think we can self-diagnose), there (would have been) “no known treatment”. Three words I’m so relieved we most likely will never need to deal with.  
 
 
So, now, how do we feel? Picture the Russian Roulette scene in Deer Hunter – only this time Christopher Walken doesn’t take the gun up to his head one last time towards a tragic end  – but instead, he smiles, suddenly remembers how lucky he is to have Robert DeNiro’s character as a close, lifelong friend, and they both walk out from the dark dungeon into the bright, bustling streets to live life as they had planned all along – playfully, gratefully and joyfully to feel the sun’s rays on their faces, the damp cool sand between their toes, embracing the smell of cheap perfume and pine trees and the sound of their children’s laughter when they tease and joke and the funny whimpers of their furry little dog when it’s time to go for a walk, etc….etc….etc….Then, decades later, they both die a natural death together in their sleep. Yes, that is how we feel! That, and hungry at least three times a day. So, what’s for dinner? Other than the Cheese Platter Mammoth Mountainamazing array of dishes delivered from friends during the ordeal? Maybe just some good wine, cheese, God’s unprocessed fruits, olives and nuts – with good friends and family. Because right now, at least today, I am so happy we are all simply alive and don’t feel like cooking.    

Simple Authentic Mexican Chicken Taquitos

I love discovering easy , simple, family recipes.

 

Easy Chicken Taquitos

These chicken taquitos are an authentic , Mexican recipe and so amazingly easy to make I don’t think I’ll ever buy taquitos in a Mexican restaurant or take-out ever again. And this recipe makes so many – so it’s very budget friendly.  Today, I am going to make these using leftover turkey and leftover mashed potatoes now that Thanksgiving is over. A fun batch of food now that the boys are back in town! And since the corn tortillas are gluten-free, everyone can enjoy them.

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1-2 Chicken Breasts with Bone
  • 1-2 Heaping Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 1-2 Large Potatoes
  • Pepper to taste
  • Tortillas (corn but flour work as well).
  • Favorite authentic salsa , guacamole and sour cream
Chicken and potatoes after boiling and removing skin.

Chicken and potatoes after boiling and removing skin.

 

Boil chicken and potatoes in a big pot of water until done.( If using leftover chicken or turkey, boil the potatoes and drop the poultry in just a minute before potatoes are done.)

 

Let both cool enough to handle. Remove the skin from the chicken,  remove the meat and shred it with a fork. Place in bowl. Peel the skin off of the potato and add the potato without the skin to the same bowl as the chicken. Add the mayo and pepper and mix together using a fork.

 

Warm the tortillas (so they are soft enough to roll) in oven, pan or microwave.

Filling Tortillas with Chicken Mixture

 

Spoon the chicken, mayo and potato mixture into the center of a tortilla, roll up and secure with toothpicks. Stab with a fork (so they don’t explode in the oil).

 

Fry in hot oil or if you want to bake instead, place on a baking sheet and brush oil over the tortillas and then bake until golden brown and crispy.

 

Serve with cut avocado or guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

 

Maria (who I got this recipe from) also soaks sliced yellow onion in vinegar for just a few minutes and serves under the taquitos along with shredded lettuce. A really, simple nice touch!

Best Restaurant Fish Recipe

I heard this on NPR and finally made it. I apologize that I cannot remember the name of the chefs being interviewed but there were more than one – and they all shared the same best method for cooking a simple piece of fish. One added an ingredient I had never heard of before, but it was easily found and now I use it often!

 

Restaurant Halibut RecipeMake sure the grill or pan is well oiled and really hot before you put the fish on it.

 

Let the fish form a nice crust before you flip it over to cook the other side (about 3-4 minutes depending upon the thickness of the fish).

 

Then, top simply with:

 

  • a drizzle of a nice green fruity olive oil
  • a splash of some type of fresh citrus juice (like lemon, grapefruit or lime).
  • salt and pepper  
  • a sprinkling of fennel pollen (available at food specialty stores or online).

 

I purchased a tin of fennel pollen online. (I also add it to my spaghetti sauce now instead of having to grind up my fennel seeds to add a touch of licorice flavor.) I like to serve fish with the Muhammara Dip I recently discovered on the side. Enjoy!

Homemade Easy Ricotta Recipe

Ricotta and StrawberriesOne of the easiest traditional recipes around is homemade Ricotta. First, it is so soft and delicious and store-bought does not even come close to its fresh texture. Plus it can be expensive when it’s purchased at the store. Since its’ few ingredients are almost always in your kitchen it’s something you can whip up anytime. Homemade Ricotta is great just smeared on bread or crackers served with honey or fruit. It’s amazing in homemade lasagna or any ravioli.

 

  • 1/2 Gallon (2 quarts) Whole Milk (low-fat or non-fat really doesn’t work well).
  • 1/3 C Lemon Juice or White Vinegar
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

 

Heat milk in a pot until it’s foamy and almost boiling.

 

Remove from heat and immediately stir in lemon juice or vinegar.

 

Stir and then let stand for about 10 minutes.

 

Set up a colander with a cheesecloth in it (or use a coffee filter in a small colander).

 

Remove any large chunks that do not have to be drained with a slotted spoon and place in bowl.

 

Slowly pour the remaining mixture through the colander and let sit for as little as 15 minutes or as long as an hour depending upon how thick you’d like your cheese.

 

Seal and refrigerate.