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Spring! Spring! Spring!

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Dinner Menu: Chicken Primavera and Fruity Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake1

I love a quick and easy meal that looks and tastes like it took much longer. This menu sure qualifies. Lots of fresh vegetables and if you want to really amp up the flavor, use a flavored linguine, either from a local source (farmer’s markets usually have them) or the gourmet section of the market. A lemon pepper pasta is really good with this. For the vegetables, I’d go with whatever you favor and is fresh, think of the list below as a suggestion. Maybe add mushrooms, artichoke hearts, fresh spring peas.

The carrot cake is not what you’d expect, it is a fruity, light confection with a definite spring touch.  A favorite when I’m taking birthday cake requests.

Meanwhile, on the board tonight:

  1. Chicken Primavera
  2. Carrot Cake

Chicken Primavera

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, cubed in large pieces
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz sliced carrots
  • 8 oz broccoli crowns
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed or ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ cup chicken broth or equivalent
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 9 oz fresh linguine

skillet, large saucepan

Sprinkle salt & pepper over chicken pieces. Heat oil in skillet, add chicken and saute for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, until golden on all sides. Add carrots, broccoli and squash, and stir for 2 minutes. Add basil, garlic, tomatoes. Stir additional 2 minutes. Remove mixture to bowl. Add chicken broth and wine to skillet, deglaze drippings, bring to a boil, reduce heat, add chicken mixture, toss and cover. Reduce heat to low and let simmer while pasta cooks. Bring water to boil in saucepan and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain very well and toss with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Frosting:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar*
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 bowls, 8×8 baking dish, well greased

Preheat oven to 350°

In a large bowl, combine grated carrots, flour, white sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in egg, oil, vanilla, pineapple and pecans. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, except nuts. Beat until smooth. Spread on cooled cake and garnish with pecans.

* I use half of the sugar because I don’t like it quite that sweet.

Shopping List:

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz sliced carrots
  • 8 oz broccoli crowns
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ cup chicken broth or equivalent
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 9 oz fresh linguine
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Also: salt, pepper, olive oil, vanilla, butter, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, garlic, basil,

A Little Irish

Since I’m all happy that spring looks like it’s going to make an appearance (high 60’s today) I feel like celebrating. So I thought an Irish theme would be fun for Friday.

I was doing some research on Irish Soda Bread, thinking that should be part of an Irish theme. Never made or had this bread, because, well, it looks dry and has raisins. But what I found out, that raisin stuff is not real Irish bread. So I’ve found a somewhat authentic recipe…sounds much better. Stay tuned….

Farmer’s Market

P1000213 [1600x1200] P1000215 [1600x1200] P1000219 [1600x1200] P1000220 [1600x1200] P1000222 [1600x1200] P1000226 [1600x1200] P1000227 [1600x1200] P1000229 [1600x1200] P1000232 [1600x1200]It’s the time of the year for flowers and asparagus.  There are the usual booths with craft trinkets and odds ‘n ends of processed fare like honey and jams and breads and pies.  Plenty of veggie and herb sets but too early for local veggies other than lettuce and green onions.  I can’t wait for the sweet corn!  All in all it was nice day for mingling and pet watching.  Gorgeous bouquets of flowers were a bonus.

Bad Kitty!

Ok, but she’s so cute while she tries to eat my gerbera daisies.

2013-04-05 15.52.11

Playing with Photos…again. UPDATED: Lemon Nut Pork Chop Recipe

Another tease.

Lemon nut pork copyrighted

This is Lemon-Nut pork chops. I haven’t made them in ages and had forgotten how good they were. I’m still up to my eyeballs in cooking and pictures, but I’ll try to post recipes to go along with these photos eventually. Otherwise they’ll be in the Spring cookbook.

I thought I had posted the recipe before and I did. You’ll find the Lemon-Nut Pork Chop recipe here.

Crab Apple in Full Bloom

The crab apple tree that gave us our main ingredient for last year’s Apple Butter is in full bloom. I thought it looked so pretty when the sun came out,  I took a few shots.

Feels Like Spring

Today felt a lot like spring in Colorado.  Faced down 15 mile + head winds, moved a couple of snakes off the bike path who were sunning themselves – cleverly disguised as sticks – great for avoiding prey, not so great for avoiding bike tires.

The geese and ducks are pairing up, and the former are getting much more aggressive toward cyclists.  I had to dodge more than one male who tried to attack my leg as I rode by.  All in all a great ride today with another scheduled for tomorrow.

If you haven’t stepped outside to see the full moon, take a moment, moon-rise was stunning.

I’m pretty sure the photo above is one of the osprey returning to nest.  Blurry closeup below.  He was a big guy with a white fluffy chest.  A bit far away for me to clearly identify.

Puttering about in the yard

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Signs of Spring