Food Hero

Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes by Rachelle
August 18, 2009, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Main Dish, Medium Fix, Salads, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,


This recipe for Red-Leaf Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes is from my favorite cooking magazine, Everyday Foodwith Martha Stewart. My mom saved all my copies over the past year, and I had a blast tearing out the new dishes to try out. I made this one while at Pura Vida and it was a big hit. I’m allergic to walnuts, so I substituted pine nuts. And couldn’t get red leaf so I had to use Romaine as you’ll see in the photos.

Red-Leaf Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in chunks
1 med red onon, quartered
2 T olive oil
coarse salt and ground black pepper
1 package (10 oz) frozen cut green beans, thawed
1/3 c walnuts
1 c plain low-fat yogurt
2 T white-wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 head red-leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

misenplacesweetpotatosaladPreheat oven to 450. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes, onions, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until sweet potatoes are tender, about 20min.

Add green beans and walnuts to sheet, toss. Roast until green beans are tender, about 5 min.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, vinegar, and garlic. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Top lettuce with roasted veggies, drizzle with dressing.


Chicken Mole with Rice by Rachelle
August 18, 2009, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Main Dish, Medium Fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , ,


For almost ten years we hosted one kind of group or another that met in our home for dinner on a regular basis. This recipe for a chicken mole comes from a cook book one of those communities, The Well, produced together. Lisa Hashbarger contributed this particularly yummy dish, and while we’ve lost touch long ago, we still think of her fondly whenever this is on the table.

It’s very simple and you need only one special ingredient, Ibarra Mexican chocolate. This is a hard chocolate with a grainy, sugary texture and a cinnamon flavor. You can find it at most well-stocked grocery stores in the U.S. — tho’ I have to bring it back in my suitcase to Denmark. (Ibarra also makes fabulous hot chocolate when grated and melted into warm milk!)

Chicken Mole

4 chicken breasts
1 large onion, chopped
1 c broth
3-6 cloves
1 – 28oz can peeled and diced tomatoes
1/2 c raisins
1/4c cilantro, chopped
3 T chili powder
one round Ibarra chocolate
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t cumin
2 T peanut butter
2 T lime juice

2 c cooked rice

Place the chicken in a pan and cover with water. Bring just to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from water and cool slightly. Then shred into strips. Saute onion in 2T  of broth, covered until softened. (4-5 min) Uncover and add garlic, tomatoes, raisins, cilantro, chili powder, chocolate, salt, cinnamon, cumin and peanut butter. Simmer 5 minutes. Add remaining broth and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken and lime juice. Heath through on low until hot. Spoon over rice and serve with lime wedges

Red and White Chili with Pineapple Salsa by Rachelle
October 15, 2008, 1:59 pm
Filed under: Main Dish, Medium Fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , , , ,

On Autum Equinox we had our our annual Fall Chili Party. This was our first traditional family celebration in our new Danish home. We had a few new friends over. Each person brought something to put in our family room shrine — a Fallish thing like an apple or a string of Autumn leaves. Then we all grabbed a microbrew or ginger beer and made toasts to the things we love about fall.

As usual we had yummy seasonal foods, although a lack of black beans at the grocers made our traditional three bean chili collapse down to two. Sure was good though! This is always a fun thing to make because of the toppings bar that allows people to stylize their dish. Try it with this Buttery Cornbread from Epicurious which is fantastic and easy to make. Have Yum!

Red and White Chili with Pineapple Salsa
serves 6-8

Chili Ingredients
2-14oz cans canellini beans (white beans) rinsed and drained
2-14oz cans red kidney beans rinsed and drained
1/2 c crushed tomatoes
1/4 c diced tomatoes
1 lb lean ground beef (optional)
1-2 onions, chopped
2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 T olive oil
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 t cumin
1 1/4 t salt
2 1/4 t black pepper
2 tsp basil
1/4 – 1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 T lime juice
2 cans chopped green chilis

Optional Toppings
sliced limes
grated cheese
sour cream
chopped cilantro
jarred jalapeno rings

Salsa Ingredients
2 c crushed pineapple
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 T fresh mint, chopped
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cumin
1/8 t cayenne

For the chili:
Add beans and tomoatoes to pot and simmer. Carrots don’t soften well with tomatoes, so parboil them in a glass bowl in the microwave and then add them to the pot. In a large skillet heat olive oil. Saute ground beef, onions, bell peppers and spices. Add the saute to the large pot and heat through. Add chilis and lime juice. Adjust seasonings.

For the pineapple salsa: just mix and chill slightly. You must use fresh mint. If you have extra mint try freezing it like this.
(Maybe Katy K can tell us how to use it in a lovely mojito!)

Mushroom and Chicken Risotto by Rachelle
August 28, 2008, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Main Dish, Medium Fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , ,

Submitted by: Rachelle

Risotto is one of my favorite comfort foods, and it’s surprisingly easy to make. The key to successful risotto is to keep the broth warm in a saucepan over low heat next to the skillet you are cooking the rice in. While making risotto you do have to stir it regularly, but you don’t have to beat it like a maniac. Just stay attentive so it doesn’t scorch. Be sure to let all the liquid absorb before pour adding more.

The first time I made this it turned out much too salty, even with unsalted butter and no-salt broth. So start with a little bit of salt and adjust towards the end, after you’ve put in the parmesan cheese (which is quite salty in itself.) This calls for lots of unsalted butter – 12 T total. Sticks of butter are a different size in DK than in the USA, so I’m not sure how many sticks this is for all you Yanks. It’s two big sticks of Dansk smør. This easily serves 6-8 as a main dish.

Shopping List
8-10 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
8 T unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, minced
coarse salt and black pepper
2 c Arborio rice (don’t use other kinds of rice!)
1 cup dry white wine (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or chablis will all work)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

4 T unsalted butter
1 lb quartered mushrooms
2 2inch sprigs of fresh rosemary, stripped off woody stems and lightly chopped
2 cooked chicken breasts, diced

In a large skilled or wide saucepan, heat 4 T of butter over medium heat. Add onion, a little salt, and a good deal of fresh ground pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and slightly translucent. Add the rice and cook stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring until absorbed.

Add two cups (about two soup ladle’s full) and continue to stir the rice so it doesn’t scorch. Keep stirring until it’s almost completely absorbed. This will take about 10 minutes of medium heat. Then keep adding the broth one cup (one ladle) at a time and repeat. Make sure you scrape around the edges of the pan so all the rice gets some attention.

This is the time to start your mushrooms. In another skillet, melt 4 T of butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes, add the diced chicken and rosemary. Stir from time to time and cook another 5 minutes or so.

Keep adding the broth one cup at a time to the rice, allowing the rice to absorb most of the liquid before adding the next batch. You may not need all the broth. If you run out and the rice still is not creamy and tender, it’s okay to add a few ladles of hot water.

When the rice is at the desired consistency, add the mushroom mixture from the other pan. Heat another 3-5 minutes to blend the flavors. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining 4 T of butter and the parmesan cheese. Adjust the salt and pepper and have yum!

NB: This was originally “Simple Risotto” from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, but I’ve changed it significantly.

Steak w/Lime Marinade & Spinach Salad by Rachelle
August 17, 2008, 7:29 am
Filed under: Main Dish, Medium Fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , , , , ,

Adapted by Rachelle from Martha’s Stewart’s Everyday Food. (A great cooking magazine.)

I adpated this recipe so you get two treats in one — great steak and a delicious salad. Using pre-washed fresh spinach and ginger from a jar will save you a little time. If you want to use fresh ginger peel it with a veg peeler and slice the entire root thinly. Chopped what you need for the recipe and put the rest in the freezer for long-term keeping. This calls for flank steak but you can use any grilling steak. For more info than you’ll ever need to know on how to pick a steak click here, and here is a handy video of How to Broil a Steak. (I only do the pan-searing step for really thick steaks.) Have Yum!

Shopping List
1/3 c lime juice (4 limes)
2T soy sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2T ginger, peeled and minced (or scooped from a jar)
1/2 t red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 lbs flank steak
coarse salt
fresh pepper
bag of fresh pre-washed spinach
red onions
mandarine oranges (tinned and drained is okay)
Sliced almonds

crusty bread (of course)

Get out a glass pan or rimmed baking sheet and a ziploc bag. Put all your marinade ingredients into the bag, seal and shake. Now open it back up and put your steak in there. Seal and turn it over a few times to coat both sides. Let marinade in the fridge for at least one hour, but preferably overnight.

When you start getting hungry, take the steak out and put it on your pan to bring it to room temprature. Turn on your broiler and put your broiling pan in the oven. Pour the marinade into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and cook, stirring regularly until the sacue thickens slightly. I usually try to get it to reduce by half. Set the pan aside.

Slice your red onions thinly. Peel your mandarin/satsuma and break it into segments. Give your spinach a little extra wash and spin in the salad spinner. Pour it in a bowl and toss it with the onions, oranges, and almonds.

Now put your steak in the broiler and keep an eye on it. It will take 5-7 minutes for a flank steak, longer for thicker steaks. You have to turn the steak over half way throuhg. Again, check out this video for tips about times for rare-vs-well done. It’s not hard, but the timing can be tricky. Err on the side of under-doneness as the steak will continue to cook slightly once you take it off the heat. You can always make a small slice in the center of the steak to check for done-ness.

When your meat is done to your preference, take out the pan and let the steak sit for a few minutes. Toss your salad with your reduced dressing. Hopefully it’s still warm, because this will wilt your spinach slightly and release all the flavors in your salad.  Slice a hunk of crusty bread, put everything on your plate and nosh away.



Pizza Night! by Rachelle
August 15, 2008, 6:00 am
Filed under: Italian, Main Dish, Medium Fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman, Tips | Tags: , ,

Posted by: Rachelle

When we moved from Seattle to Copenhagen in grey, dark February, the kids needed a little something that tasted like home. That’s when we instituted Friday as pizza night. Making yeast dough initially intimidated me. But I found it was a lot easier than I thought, and I’ve included all my tips and tricks below. Start the dough about 1 1/2 hours before you want to eat (1 hr to rise, 1/2 hour to top and cook) and you’ll be golden.

With food prices rising back in the good old US of A, maybe it’s time to change your take-out habits? Two gourmet pizzas in Seattle would set up back at least $45…now we make it at home for about $20.  have Yum!

Shopping List
4 c flour
1 1/2 t salt
1/3 c olive oil
1 1/2 c warm tap water
2t sugar
2 pkgs fast-acting yeast (in the baking aisle)
jarred organic pizza sauce
various toppings (See suggestions from our readers below)

In a small bowl mix sugar, yeast and warm tap water with a fork. to activate the yeast your water should be wrist-warm but not scalding. The sugar ‘feeds’ the yeast and gets it rising faster and with more success. Set the mixture aside for 5-10 minutes. If the yeast is alive and kickin’ you’ll see a foam building on the surface. If not, try again.

In a large bowl mix flour and salt. Make a divet in the the flour and pour in the olive oil. Add the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. The dough starts to form a smooth-ish elastic ball. (Add flour a tablespoon or so at a time if it’s too sticky. It’s better to err on the slightly sticky side than on the dry side.) Turn out onto a floured surface and with floured hands knead for about 3-5 minutes.  (How to knead pizza dough here.)

Swipe the bowl you mixed in with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel. Plop the dough ball in there, then turn it over so both sides are lightly kissed with olive oil. Soak a thin dishtowel in warm water and wring it out. Cover the bowl with the dough and put it in a warm, draft-free location for about one hour. (In our old flat we proofed dough on the radiator, but here I put on a step stool in the bathroom with the dryer running! Any warmish spot should do.)

If you are using baking stones now is the time to put them in the oven at 425.

While you are waiting for the dough to rise, slice and dice all your ingredients. If you are using fresh mozzarella, put it in a sieve or colander over a bowl (to catch the water) and sprinkle lightly with salt. This keeps fresh mozzarella from ‘sweating’ on the pizza and making the dough salty. Here are some yummy combos to try from our Food Hero readers:

Three Peper, Three Cheese by Paula Clare: red, yellow, green bell peppers w/mitizhra, mozzerella, and parmesean
Tuscan Goodnes by Elaine Eppler: artichokes hearts, pine nuts, zucchini, black olives, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, fresh basil

In 45min-1 hr your dough should be about twice it’s original size. Flour your hands and ‘punch’ it down to release the air. Turn it out on to the floured surface again and give it a little knead. Split it into three balls, set them on wax paper to keep them from sticking. Add a smallish hand full of cornmeal to the counter. put the ball of dough on the cornmeal/flour counter. Pat it down into a circle. Dust it with a little more flour. Using a rolling pen — or in a pinch, a clean empty glass jar – roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick, a little thicker on the edges if you like chewy crust. (For more how-to’s see the video link above)

If you’re not using baking stones, transfer your dough to a baking sheet. If you are using baking stones, get ’em out of the oven and put them on a trivet. Quickly slide the dough from the counter to the hot stone. This starts baking the pizza even before it’s in the oven and gives it that crisp-but-chewy texture. Add your toppings. Pop it in the oven and bake it for 20-25 minutes, keeping an eye on it and maybe moving it up if the top isn’t melting, or down if the bottom of the pizza isn’t browning. Let it set for a few minutes before slicing and your cheese won’t sliiiiiide off. Pour the kids some pop and yourself a microbrew. Have Yum!

Any tips or tricks for the perfect dough consistency? Got favorite topping combos to share? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

White Sauce with Proscuitto, Spinach and Peas over Cheese Tortellini by Rachelle
August 7, 2008, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Italian, Main Dish, Medium Fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , , , , ,

Created by: Rachelle Mee-Chapman

White sauce isn’t really that a hard. Once you learn how to make the basic sauce you can add whatever you want to it to make a bunch of quick dinners. This combo makes a pretty green-and-white dish full of pasta that has a little extra nutritional value due to the iron-rich spinach.

They key to a stress-free white sauce is to have everything chopped up before hand and to pre-heat the milk before you start. Nuke the milk in the microwave for about 1/2-2 minutes and it will hold enough heat until you are ready to add it to the sauce.

If you feel a little nervous about getting the sauce and pasta done at the same time, just cook the pasta before you start the sauce. Drain it, toss it with a little olive oil, add the spinach and put the lid on. It’ll keep.

Shopping List

2T butter
2 cloves garlic, diced
2T flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 handfuls of shredded Parmesan cheese
8 slices (1pkg) prosciutto (or other cured pork product)
1/2 c frozen peas
4 handfuls fresh spinach, shredded lightly by hand
2 pkgs fresh cheese tortellini

Dice your garlic. Wash your spinach and dry it in the salad spinner. Pour it out onto a cutting board and run your knife through it a few times until it is slightly shredded. Slice the prosciutto into thin-ish strips. Pour hot water over your peas to speed up the defrosting. Heat your milk for two minutes in the microwave. (A glass measuring cup works well for this.)

Okay, ready? Put a pot on the stove over medium heat and melt butter. Toss in the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Stir in flour. Don’t let it scorch. Using a whisk, stir in the warm milk. Stir constantly, turning up the heat slightly until it comes to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring until the sauce reaches a desired thickness. Add in a couple of handfuls of Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Add prosciutto and peas. Stir in peas and heat through. Add lots of fresh ground black pepper.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Toss in shredded spinach and stir. This will wilt it just slightly. To wilt it more, put the lid on the pot and let it sit a minute. Pour pasta into serving dish and stir in just enough sauce until the noodles are gently coated. Spoon a little more sauce on the top if desired, but don’t drown it! This goes very nicely with some white wine, don’t you think? Time for dinner! Have yum!

What did you add to your white sauce? Do tell in the comments below or link us to your recipe!