Food Hero

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


Basil Peach Sangria by appetista
July 18, 2009, 4:02 am
Filed under: Appetista, cocktails, quick fix

basil peach sangria

It was Robert Frost who said that good fences make good neighbors. I always assumed that this meant you should have clearly delineated boundaries and not drag your neighbors into the family feuds, nor the other way around. But, then I read the rest of the poem, and it is the retelling of how Mr. Frost and his neighbor spend one day together each year repairing the fence between their lands. And I think perhaps the line refers to the fact that it is good to join with your neighbor, and undertake a task with mutual benefit that would be too large for either of you alone.

Last weekend I undertook such a task with my neighbor (the lovely Katy K) and we hosted a party for our coworkers. (Because Katy and I are friends, and neighbors, and coworkers all at the same time – there are precious few people in the world who can put up with that much of me, bless her soul.) Anyway, we decided to have a party in our shared backyard, and we decided to be lazy and make everyone else bring the food. All we supplied was sangria (and artichoke dip and two gallons of peach ice cream, just for kicks.) So three different sangria recipes were scouted, and three different bottles of wine were purchased, and three different sangrias were made – classic, berry, and basil peach. And by far, the best of these three was the basil peach.  And so many people liked it and asked for the recipe that I thought I would put it here, so the regular Food Hero readers could see the results and a few new people could discover Food Hero.

The sangria was so good I made it again for a boat trip when the divine Rachelle came back for a visit from Denmark. And this time I was running late and made it in 10 minutes (no kidding). So from personal experience I can swear that the whole part about cooling for an hour afterwards is purely optional – just add more ice to the glass. And without further ado, basil peach sangria.

Basil Peach Sangria

(from Gourmet July 2005)

1c loosely packed fresh basil leaves plus 8-10 sprigs.

¾ c sugar

¼ c fresh lemon juice – about one big lemon

2 cans peach nectar

1 bottle chilled dry white wine

1 large peach, peeled if desired, diced.

Put 1 cup basil leaves, sugar, and lemon juice into a small saucepan and bruise leaves by mashing with a wooden spoon. Add 1 can nectar and bring just to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, then pour through a sieve into a pitcher. Discard basil leaves. Stir in wine, peach, remaining can nectar, a basil sprigs. Chill at least 1 hour. Serve over ice.

A few notes on the recipe. I bought one of the big tubs from the store and that was enough for two pitchers. I think the little flat tubs would not quite be enough, so either buy a big tub or two little tubs and plan for a few leftovers. I find peach nectar in the fruit juice aisle of the store, although sometimes it’s in with Mexican food. I really would pick a drier white wine for this – the peach nectar and the sugar give it plenty of sweetness and a sweet wine would just send it over the top. We used chardonnay.

Happy Hour – Blood and Sand by Katy K
June 19, 2009, 5:00 am
Filed under: cocktails, happy hour, Katy K | Tags: , , , ,

photo-2I tried this tasty retro drink a few months ago when I was out and about on the town in Vancouver B.C. with an old friend.  After skimming the Georgia Straight she chose a hip new Belgian restaurant, Chambar, for us to try. This cocktail, they called “Sang et Sable”, caught my eye because of it’s name (I’m a fan of the vampire genre) and because it is a whiskey cocktail (I’m a fan of whiskey cocktails).  

photoI was quite pleased to find that Chambar’s drink menu was full of variations of vintage cocktails which are very much in vogue at the moment. This delicious trend seems to be presided over in the Pacific Northwest by Jamie Boudreau, a bartender from Vancouver who now practices his art in Seattle (and happens to have a blog on I am personally grateful for such an agreeable diversion as fashionable cocktail-making.

photo-1I really enjoyed the Sang et Sable (as well as the Hughes’s Libation, and a selection of delicious edibles from the food menu) and wanted to try to make it myself.  Upon returning to Seattle and discussing this drink with a bartender at Cantinetta, I found out that “Blood and Sand” is a classic cocktail named for an old movie (Blood and Sand, a 1922 silent movie, about a toreador, starring Rudolph Valentino, as it turns out).  I then consulted one of my most prized possessions, the Esquire Drink Book (1956).  There it was on page 275 – Equal parts of: Scotch, Cherry brandy, Orange juice, Sweet vermouth. I tried this mixture with a Rainier Cherry-flavored vodka (44oNorth) but the cherry flavour was too, perhaps, medicinal…yet interesting in a certain way… but I decided to experiment with the ingredients listed  on the Chambar menu.  I settled on the ingredients and proportions listed below.

The Blood and Sand cocktail is refreshing, with a cool round juicy note imparted by the sherry. For a whiskey cocktail the flavour is surprising – yet just right.  It’s a welcome addition to my repertoire. 

 Per Drink

1     oz  fresh-squeezed orange juice (or tangelo, or minneola…)
1     oz  whiskey (a lighter Canadian-style rye like Seagram’s 7 is good)
1     oz  sweet vermouth
1/2  oz  sherry (I’ve been using Manzanilla, La Gitana, Hidalgo) 

Pour ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake, shake.  Strain into a cocktail glass and, for dramatic effect, garnish by floating a blood orange chip on the surface. To make the chips, slice a blood orange as thinly as possible and dry on a rack in a F 150 oven for many hours (6 or more). After drying the slices I’ve stored them in the freezer until needed.

A votre sante!

Cookie Classics: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal by Rachelle
May 23, 2009, 6:10 pm
Filed under: Baked Goods/Desserts, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , , ,



Chewy, delicious oatmeal chocolate chippers on a handmade napkin.

Chewy, delicious oatmeal chocolate chippers on a handmade napkin.

Suzie the Foodie sent out a Tweet a couple weeks ago about it being time to bake cookies. Seeing as almost the only thing I contribute to this site is baking recipes, I of course immediately jumped on the bandwagon.

Foodimentary said it was National Oatmeal Cookie Day on April 30th so that’s what I cooked up. I’m just now getting the recipe up, but my, my, my it is a keepers.

This recipe came from my pal Heidi Flaming-Buschman. (I know, that’s a freaking AWESOME last name, right?!) The only changes I’ve made is to swap out the shortening for all-butter, and since I can’t get chocolate chips here in Denmark, I chop up a big bittersweet chocolate bar.

On the purple recipe card Heidi gave me as at Christmas a decade ago, under serving size it says, “Makes a large amount.” Use your biggest mixing bowl because it really does make a ton. Have yum!

Heidi and Monte Flaming-Buschman’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/3 c flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
4 c oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs and vanilla. Then add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes at 375 degree oven. Makes a large amount.

Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs by Katy K
May 15, 2009, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Breakfast/Brunch, Katy K | Tags: , ,

IMG_2642I love to cook this for brunch when I have time on a weekend morning or for a light dinner in the summer.  I think I like it so much because it combines some of my favourite vegetables – onions, sweet potatoes, and red pepper with one of my favourite ways to eat potatoes – breakfast hash. The garlic and thyme are a nice addition to the flavors of the sauteed vegetables and sausage. I found this recipe in the January 2006 issue of Shape magazine in an article about lowfat and easy breakfasts.

Serves 2

1/2 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 a medium onion, diced
1/2 a cooked sweet potato, diced 
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
1 precooked chicken sausage
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
2 poached eggs

Peel a sweet potato and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Cook a little in simmering water until they can be pierced by a fork but aren’t thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes. Cool off and dice. Heat some water and allow to simmer for poaching the eggs a little later.  Heat olive oil a frying pan over medium heat, cook diced onion, red pepper, sweet potato, and sausage over medium heat until starting to crisp and brown.  I let the veggies and sausage sit and cook for a while and then toss a bit  with a spatula instead of stirring them frequently. A lot of steam has to be released from them before they start to brown so patience is the key.  

When the veggies are close to being the way you like them slip the eggs into the simmering water and turn off the heat. Allow the eggs to poach for 5 to 10 minutes depending on how well you like them done. I put the eggs in the water directly from the eggshell but you can put the egg into a cup or a large spoon and lower into the water gently. While the eggs are cooking, add the garlic and thyme to the hash and stir to cook for a few minutes. Divide the hash between the two plates. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon, drain, and place on top of the hash. Season salt and pepper and garnish with some chopped parsley. Obviously you can double this recipe and then you won’t even have to use fractions of vegetables.  The only thing is that I’ve never done the 4 serving version and I wonder if the hash would cook better in 2 batches – I’m not sure.  Any way you slice it, this is a pretty sweet way to start your day.

Happy Hour – Mint Daiquiri by Katy K
April 7, 2009, 5:22 am
Filed under: cocktails, happy hour, Katy K | Tags: , ,

mint-daiquiri-iphotoI found this recipe in one of this year’s Christmas gifts, a cookbook called Cesar, Recipes from a Tapas Bar. It’s written by some people from the hip Tapas restaurant in Berkeley, California. I’ve been reading this cookbook from the beginning, like it’s a novel.  I’m still in the cocktail section at the moment and I’ve been lingering over this drink. It’s delightful and fun. I served a couple of these babies outside last Saturday which made the day seem summery – even though reclining on lawn furniture in my duffel coat was making it a little hard to sip from a cocktail glass. Now I see why you need highball glasses and straws, poolside.  This Mint Daiquiri is like a more expedient Mojito – there’s no club soda getting in the way. It has the essential nature of the Mojito without all that distracting ice and fizz. This recipe has some Cointreau which is not usual in either a Daiquiri or Mojito. I’ve also tweaked the recipe little to make it a smidge sweeter than my usual concoctions. Now that I’ve done the research and testing – why don’t you pick up some mint at the farmer’s market this weekend and enjoy this refreshing drink to help you usher in the summer sun!

Per drink

2     tsp   superfine sugar
1/2          a lime (cut into quarters)
3             sprigs of mint (a total of about 30 leaves of various sizes) or a handful
1/2   oz   Cointreau
2      oz    rum , 10 Cane is nice 

Put the 2 teaspoons of sugar into the bottom of a cocktail shaker glass, drop the lime pieces on top of the sugar, and crush with a muddler to release the juices and incorporate the sugar. Wash and pull the leaves off of at least 3 sprigs of mint and toss into the shaker.  Add ice and pour the Cointreau and rum over it. Close the cocktail shaker and shake until chilly. The mint gets bruised and releases its flavour during the shaking. Strain into a martini glass and serve with a mint garnish. For the picture above I strained the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. But if you strain the daiquiri through the usual larger-holed strainer that is part of the cocktail shaker, the result is a drink sprinkled with a confetti of little mint pieces, which is kind of festive and maybe even a little more delicious…

Chocolate “Thunder” Cake by Rachelle
March 3, 2009, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Baked Goods/Desserts, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: ,



I know, it looks so yummy, right? This is Thundercake, baked by myself and my darling 8 year old daughter, Cate. This recipe comes from the book Thundercake, a beautifully illustrated story by Patricia Polacco about a Russian grandmother and her grandaughter learning to stave off thunder-fears by keeping busy in the kitchen.

The cake is slightly dense and nicely moist, and keeps well for a few days. (If it lasts that long!) In the book the cake is topped with chocolate icing and strawberries. We opted for a the frosting and coconut. The frosting was just from a standard cookbook…Betty Crocker’s basic frosting I believe. Have Yum!

Chocolate Thundercake

Cream together, one at a time
1 c shortening
1  3/4 c sugar
3 egg yolks (save the whites)
1 c cold water
1/3 c pureed tomatoes

In a separate bowl:
beat 3 egg whites until stiff. Fold into creamed mixture.

Sift together:
2 1/2 cups cake flour (I used regular, it worked fine)
1/2 c dry cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix dry mixture into creamy mixture. Bake in two greased, floured 8 1/2 in round pans at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Frost and top with strawberries or coconut.