Posts Tagged oregano

Garden Quiche

Garden QuicheQuiche is one of the big “dinner underdogs.” People often think of making it if they’re throwing a brunch, or having people over for breakfast. Yet, quiche is one of the most versatile dishes on the planet, and it’s also fairly easy to make.

Purists will want to make their own crust. However, I am not ashamed to admit that making pastry crust is not my favorite foodie activity. I make no bones about using the frozen crust. It works just fine. As for the milk, feel free to use whole or 2%. It truly doesn’t make a difference. I keep a jar of prepared minced garlic in my fridge. That is what I use for this dish as opposed to mincing my own.

Cheese is the most important part of any quiche. I like a sharp cheese, but you should use whatever cheese works for your palate. There are no rules!

As for serving quiche, it’s a dish that goes great with a crisp green salad, regardless of what you put in it.

 

Ingredients

5 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 frozen pie crust

1 cup shredded cheese (Asiago, Cheddar, Monterey Jack; depending upon your taste buds)

1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onions

1/2 cup chopped red, yellow and orange peppers

1/2 cup chopped Baby Bella mushrooms

1.5 cups baby spinach

2 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp Kosher or sea salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet. While you’re waiting for  it to warm up, put the eggs and milk in a bowl and mix well with a whisk. Set aside.

Once your skillet is ready, add the minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the oil becomes fragrant. Then, add the onions and peppers, as well as the rest of the spices (including the salt and pepper) and cook on medium heat until the onions become translucent. This will take about 7-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes more, again stirring the mixture occasionally.

The final item you add is the spinach. Cook until wilted, stirring regularly. Be sure to taste the filling at this point and adjust spices to suit your taste. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the filling to cool a bit. While cooling, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prior to adding the filling and cheese to the egg mixture, give it several more whisks. Then, add the vegetable filling and shredded cheese.

Mix thoroughly and pour it into a frozen pie crust. Place the quiche on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a knife (or toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

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Cajun-Creole Jambalaya

jambalayaThis can loosely be called the Louisiana version of Paella. The only real difference is that I bake this in the oven to finish it off, as opposed to cooking it on top of the stove. This is a crazy good dish, a complete meal in itself.

Again, I first got turned onto Jambalaya on my travels to New Orleans in the eighties. Although the travels were for business, I never failed to tack on vacation time at the end of my business obligations to enjoy the food and culture of New Orleans. While a lot can be said about New Orleans crime and corruption, the one thing that is absolutely certain is that you will never be served substandard food and drinks in that town.

This recipe calls for Andouille sausage. I have never had a problem finding this in my local supermarket, but Tasso or some other kind of smoked ham is a great substitute here. Alternatively, buffalo chicken sausage is great also.

You will need a pretty deep baking pan for this. If your skillet is big enough and can handle oven cooking, you can simply work with that.

Ingredients

3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups)

2 cups Andouille sausage, cut in 1/4 inch pieces then quartered

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup chopped onion, divided

1 cup chopped celery, divided

1 cup chopped green bell peppers, divided

3 tbsp minced garlic

1 28-oz can Italian whole tomatoes, undrained and broken up by hand

1 tsp broken-leaf sage

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp sea salt

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 whole bay leaves

3 tbsp olive oil

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups long-grain rice (Basmati works well here)

Tabasco sauce (for the table)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat up 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and Andouille sausage, and cook until browned. (The meats do not need to be cooked through.) Remove and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of the olive oil and heat up. Add 1/2 cup each of the celery, onion and peppers, along with the cayenne pepper, sea salt, garlic, sage, basil, oregano and thyme. Cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Now, we move to the pan you’re going to bake in. Add the meats and shrimp. Then add the cooked vegetables and all of the juices that are left from that process. Add the rice, chicken stock, the remaining uncooked half cup of the celery, onions and green pepper. Add the tomatoes and the bay leaves. Stir everything together.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour on 350 degrees.

Serve with a full bottle of Tabasco sauce.

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Rub n’ Slather Ribs

BBQ RibsI’m calling these Rub n’ Slather Ribs because they are cooked in two stages. Overall, these ribs take about four hours to cook at a low temperature of 250 degrees. The first stage is to cook them for two hours after applying a rub. After the first two hours, you add barbecue sauce and cook for an additional two hours.

I really dislike store-bought barbecue sauce. It doesn’t matter what the brand is; the stuff just doesn’t taste good to me. One of the things I dislike about them is the “smoke” taste. If you, on the other hand, like that smoky flavor, you can simply add “Liquid Smoke” to the homemade barbecue sauce.

The rub calls for an ingredient called Vulcan’s Fire Salt. This indispensable little condiment can be ordered from The Spice House, and it’s one of the things I keep in my spice cabinet. If you don’t have it or don’t want to wait to try these, you can always use a Cajun spice — which can be purchased at your local supermarket. The barbecue sauce also calls for a bit of a specialty product called Slap Ya Mama. You can also replace that with a Cajun spice. However, I highly recommend that you get both of these and stock this stuff.

This recipe works with both baby back ribs and regular ribs.

Ingredients

3.5-4 lbs pork ribs (baby back or otherwise)

Ingredients for Pig Rub

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp white pepper

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tsp coriander

2 tsp Vulcan’s Fire Salt

1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Ingredients for Pork Slather Barbecue Sauce

16 oz tomato sauce

4 tbsp tomato paste

1/3 cup ketchup

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 tbsp Slap Ya Mama Cajun spice

1 tbsp dry mustard

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp onion powder

3 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp fresh-ground black pepper

1.5 tsp sea salt

Directions

Mix together all the ingredients for both the rub. Be sure to mix well.

Prepare the ribs by cutting the top flap off each rack of ribs. Keep for use in another recipe, like say, a black bean soup (which I promise to get to).

Line baking dishes with aluminum foil (depending upon how many racks of ribs you’re cooking). Apply the rub liberally to both the underside and the top of the ribs. The idea here is to have absolutely none left over.

Place in the foil-lined baking dish(es) and cook for two hours, uncovered, at 250 degrees.

While the ribs are cooking, mix all of the ingredients together for the barbecue sauce. Whisk at the end to ensure that everything is incorporated.

At the end of two hours, remove the ribs from the oven and slather the top with barbecue sauce. Be sure to cover the whole area using a brush. Cover the ribs with aluminum foil and return to the oven for another two hours. After two hours, remove the aluminum foil and switch the oven to “Broil.” Leave the ribs in for an additional 5-8 minutes. Be sure to put the oven hood on and open a window. I’ve set off many a smoke detector with this kind of behavior.

 

 

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Greek Lemon Chicken Nos. 1 and 2

Greek Lemon ChickenThis is one of my all-time favorite dishes, and there’s more than one way to make it. Therefore, I’m posting both recipes here, listed as numbers 1 and 2. The baking instructions are the same, as you will see.

Greek Lemon Chicken incorporates some of the greatest spices on the planet, like oregano, thyme and rosemary. And let’s not forget the lemon, which is amazing. I’m not going to tell you which one is my favorite because I cannot choose between the two. If I could, there would only be one recipe here. So, don’t go thinking that I like the recipe labeled no. 1 better. It just worked out that way!

For this dish, I use bone-in chicken as opposed to boneless chicken. And I use everything but chicken breast.

Ingredients for Greek Lemon Chicken No. 1

2.5-3 lbs bone-in chicken pieces (wings, thighs and drumsticks)

3/4 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsp dried thyme

2 tbsp dried rosemary

2 tbsp lemon zest

1.5 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp Kosher or sea salt

2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

1/4 cup canola oil

Directions for Greek Lemon Chicken No. 1

Here’s where that Good Seasons cruet that I always talk about comes in handy. Check out the Kitchen Accessories page on this blog. Place all the ingredients in the cruet and shake like you mean it.

Take a toothpick and poke holes in both the top and undersides of the chicken pieces. Place them in a resealable plastic bag with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight. Be sure to turn the chicken by squeezing the bag every once in a while to ensure that all the pieces spend time in the marinade.

Bake for 1 hour in a preheated 350-degree oven. After an hour, turn the heat up to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes to “crisp” the chicken.

Ingredients for Greek Lemon Chicken No. 2

For this version of Greek Lemon Chicken, you are basically making a “rub.”

2.5-3 lbs bone-in chicken (wings, thighs and drumsticks)

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp onion powder

3 tbsp dried thyme

3 tbsp dried oregano

3 tbsp dried rosemary

1 tbsp Kosher or sea salt

1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

3 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning

Zest of one lemon (reserve the lemon)

1 additional lemon, cut into thin slices

Directions for Greek Lemon Chicken No. 2

Mix the garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, oregano. salt, pepper, lemon pepper seasoning, and lemon zest together to make a rub. Rub each piece of chicken on both sides with olive oil and apply the rub. Then, wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and allow the chicken pieces to absorb the flavors for a minimum of 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.

When you are ready to bake the chicken, unwrap the pieces and place them in a baking dish. Poke holes in each piece with a toothpick, and squeeze the lemon you zested on top of the chicken. Cut the additional lemon into thin slices and place them on top of the chicken.

Bake for 1 hour in a preheated 350-degree oven. After an hour, increase the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional hour to “crisp” the chicken.

Discard the lemon slices that may have burned prior to serving. Otherwise, you can serve it with them on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baked Rigatoni with Fresh Tomatoes, Herbs, and Parmesan

RigatoniWhen I was a kid we called this “pizza macaroni.” My sisters and I still call it that. For this dish, you’ll need a lasagna pan because it’s “layered” like lasagna. This pasta dish is great as a leftover. Like most pasta dishes, it’s better the second time around!

You will note that I call for both olive oil and Parmesan in unspecified quantities. You’re going to have to “wing it” here! Don’t be nervous, you’ll see how easy this is once you get to the directions for this simple yet wonderful dish.

You can also use Ziti for this dish, but I prefer Rigatoni.

Ingredients

1.5 lbs Rigatoni

6-8 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut in thin slices

1 cup fresh basil, trimmed and cut in long strips

3/4 cup chopped fresh oregano (or spicy oregano, which is what I use)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded and grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Bring salted water to boil in a very large pan. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, throw in the rigatoni. Cook the pasta, stirring frequently, until it’s just partially cooked (that would be less than al denté). Drain the pasta and rinse in cold water.

Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the lazagna pan, and put down your first layer of rigatoni. Don’t lay it down too thick. Just make sure the surface is covered. Add a layer of tomatoes, sprinkle on basil, oregano and grated Parmesan, then drizzle again with olive oil.  Repeat this process until all the ingredients are used. This should give you about 3 layers. On the top layer, you’ll also add some shredded Parmesan.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350-degree for about an hour.

Serve with additional Parmesan as well as crushed red pepper.

 

 

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