Category Archives: Summer

Stove-Top Island Spice Popcorn with Coconut Oil and Turmeric

Pook's Pantry - Island Spice Popcorn

Popcorn.  It’s a movie theater staple and it is practically mandatory snacking for movie nights at home.  Heck, it’s even dinner sometimes.  While I’m not knocking butter and salt, I like to dress mine up a bit more.  I open the spice cabinet and put together concoctions that would make Harry Potter’s head spin. Popcorn doesn’t have to be Plain Jane,  it can be “Revved Up Rita” and this popcorn definitely turns it up a notch. 

We are old school in this house.  Popcorn is made on the stove.  We get out the big pot, pour the kernels in with a little oil and “shake, shake, shake” while we peer through the glass lid waiting for the magic to happen.  Freshly popped corn tastes so much better than the microwave kind.  It’s really not a hassle and it takes about 5 minutes longer than the bag.  You can use this seasoning on any popcorn, whatever your preferred popping method.  

Continue reading

Loquat Cardamom Jam

Loquat Cardamom Jam | Pook's Pantry
Loquat jam is sweet and tart, slightly floral and absolutely delicious.   Loquats are more commonly referred to as “Japanese plum” and they are high in pectin, which makes them ideal for jams.   

Three months after I moved to Florida, I went to visit my aunt and uncle who live here part of the year.  My Aunt Ramona made loquat jam and asked if I would like to try it.  Of course I replied with a resounding “YES”, as I am never one to refuse food.

Continue reading

Instant Pot Shiner Bohemian Black Lager Beer Beef Chili

beef & beer chili

Chili.  It’s a crowd pleaser for a reason and it just got even better.  With the addition of dark beer and an Instant Pot,  it’s magical.  Chili that tastes like it lazily simmered away half of the afternoon in 30 minutes.

My original intention with this chili was bison instead of ground beef, however I didn’t embrace the idea of a $12 serving of chili.  When did that happen?  I’m used to paying a little more for food, but the price of bison has gone up quite a bit since the last time I purchased it. Once I regained my composure and the mothers of young children took their hands away from the delicate little ears, I set off toward the ground beef.   

Continue reading

Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Sheet Pan Supper

Sheet Pan Supper – Chicken and vegetables roasted all together on one pan for a super easy dinner with minimal cleanup.  Meals like this are a lifesaver during hectic evenings when you need to get dinner on the table without a lot of effort. 

Also known as “clean out the fridge dinners” around here.  You know how it goes, you’re running around trying to get everything done, making sure you have clean clothes, the dog is staring at you like “Um, hello… Could I get some food down here too?”.  You open the fridge to find some carrots, peppers and maybe a few other veggies.  Onions, potatoes and tomatoes are always on hand, so you are halfway home.  If you don’t eat meat, or if it’s a “meatless Monday”, you’re done.  Otherwise, a couple of chicken breasts thrown on with the veggies and some seasoning makes this a slam dunk in record time. The most time consuming part of this is chopping the vegetables.  If I know that I’m facing a busy week, I chop veggies ahead of time and store them in the fridge.  

I really love meals like this because I always have bits of veggies in the fridge.  Not enough to actually serve as a side by themselves, but if I put them all together- I’m in business.  This is also the perfect way to use up those vegetables that are on the verge of being tossed out.  No one wants to waste food, so a sheet pan supper is the way to salvage what you’ve already bought!

The best part of a sheet pan supper- only 1 pan to wash and if you line it with parchment paper, it’s a snap.  Use this as a basic jumping off point.  If your family doesn’t like certain veggies, change them out.  This is a suggestion and it’s what I had in my fridge.  It changes quite literally every time I make this.  One week, it could be broccoli and Brussels sprouts and the next I might only have a few root vegetables.   The proteins change as well – try shrimp or a beautiful piece of salmon or cod in place of chicken, just remember to adjust cooking times.  

A word about the Sheet Pan 

If you have a jelly roll pan or a flat cookie sheet (no sides), those aren’t sheet pans and they may warp.   A heavy-duty commercial grade sheet pan is best.  If you don’t own one, you need to buy one (or 3) immediately.  For less than $15, this workhorse of the kitchen will be a lifesaver.  In restaurant kitchens, a sheet pan is probably the most used item.  It will last you forever if you take care of it. 

Used in this Recipe:
Sheet Pan
Parchment Paper

Sheet Pan Supper
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 2 bell peppers, chopped
  3. 4 carrots, peeled, sliced in half and chopped into 2" pieces (I used rainbow carrots)
  4. 1 large sweet onion or 5 shallots, peeled and chopped
  5. 2 russet potatoes, washed and diced into 1" pieces
  6. 1 large sweet potato, washed and diced into 1" pieces
  7. 1 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
  8. a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
  9. kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  10. 2 tbsp. canola oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Toss carrots, sweet potatoes and russet potatoes with half of the oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  3. Place on sheet pan and put in the oven. Roast until about halfway done, roughly 20 minutes. Toss remaining veggies with 1 tsp. oil, salt & pepper. Drizzle remaining oil over chicken breasts and season with salt & pepper.
  4. Remove tray from oven and add chicken and the rest of your veggies. Tuck sprigs of thyme or rosemary between vegetables and lay on top of chicken.
  5. Return tray to oven for 25 - 28 minutes, or until chicken is done. If your chicken breasts are on the smaller side, start checking them at 24-25 minutes. If they are large, you may need the full 28 minutes.
Notes
  1. We add ingredients to the sheet pan in stages because it doesn't all cook at the same time. Potatoes & carrots take a bit longer, so they need a head start.
  2. If you use seafood instead of chicken, remember to cut baking time by roughly half. Shrimp will cook in about 10-12 minutes (medium size) in a hot oven with convection. Portions of fish will need a few minutes longer.
  3. *All ovens are different! You may have to adjust a few minutes on either side of cooking times if your oven runs cool or hot.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
PIN IT:

 

Instant Pot Tomatillo-Poblano White Beans

Tomatillo Poblano White Beans

Beans are the perfect introduction to the Instant Pot.  If you are new to the Instant Pot craze, or even if you’ve had yours for a while now, these beans will make their way into your regular rotation.  Tomatillo Poblano White Beans are my new favorite thing.  I made them a few weeks ago when there was some football game.  Everyone was making *quite* the fuss over it. Well, I had promised nachos for this sporting event and I delivered BIG thanks to these beans.  I warmed some tortilla chips in the oven, sprinkled a few things on them and then heaped these beans on top.  It was so dang good!!!

Continue reading

One Pot Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

One Pot Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato SauceOne pot meals are a lifesaver.  Whether it is a special occasion or a busy weeknight, getting dinner on the table quickly, with a minimum of dirty dishes is always a win in my book.  This one pot chicken and spinach pasta with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce is a crowd pleaser every single time.  

I’m going to come right out and say it:  I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person.  There.  Judge me if you must.  I do however, enjoy making a nice meal for the one I love.  We always stay in for Valentine’s Day and I’ve done the big, fancy dinners that take hours to prepare and minutes to devour.  While that’s lovely and all,  I spend half the night in the kitchen.  This one pot meal is super delicious and did I mention… ONE PAN to wash?  Furthermore, I have better things to do on Valentine’s Day, like eat the entire box of candy.

Continue reading

Crash & Burn Potatoes

Crash & Burn Potatoes l Pook's Pantry
This post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes. All opinions are my own.

If you are looking for a new way to serve potatoes, this is it!  I made these a few days ago with the intention of saving them for dinner that night.  I have news for you, they didn’t survive the afternoon.  We ate a few and then we ate more.   We even ate them cold because they were delicious.  Normally, the phrase “crash & burn” has a negative connotation to it, but not in this case. These little spuds are smashed (flattened) and roasted until super crispy then bathed in a spicy cinnamon malt vinegar sauce.  Hence, the name Crash & Burn Potatoes.

Continue reading

Restaurant-Style Bloody Mary

How to make a Restaurant Style Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary.  It is THE quintessential brunch beverage, yet I only have them at a restaurant.  Brunch and Bloody Mary’s go hand in hand.  We are going to make a restaurant-style bloody mary at home.  I made a killer batch of bloody mary’s last weekend and they were hands-down one of the best I’ve ever had.

First things first, we are making it from scratch.  The difference is remarkable when you don’t use a store-bought mix.  The drink tastes MUCH fresher and brighter, which if I’m being perfectly honest, can be dangerous.  I’m usually a two drink max kind of girl and I had two drinks in no time flat.  Consider yourself warned, because they go down Very Easily.

Continue reading

Lobster on Thick Cut Idaho®Potato Chips with Spicy Saffron Aioli

17-lobsterDress up your favorite Idaho® Potatoes with lobster and saffron aioli for a special holiday appetizer! Salty, crunchy thick-cut chips are a sturdy base for buttery lobster tail.  Topped with a spicy saffron aioli and chives, it makes an elegant nibble for any party.  This post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes. All opinions are my own.

The holiday season is upon us, which means HOLIDAY PARTIES!  It’s a special time of year, so I don’t feel guilty about a little splurge.  The end of one year, the beginning of a new one…  It’s a time to celebrate with friends and family and it’s a time to pull out all the tricks and SHINE!  I make one or two special appetizers for parties and lobster on thick-cut potato chips is no slouch.  The saffron aioli elevates it to “high falootin’ status” and this appetizer is always the first to disappear.  It looks much fussier than it actually is, everything except the chips can be made in the morning and set aside in the refrigerator for later.  This is key when you have lots to do before guests arrive.

Continue reading

Picadillo (Cuban-Style Hash)

PicadilloPicadillo is Spanish for “hash” (or “mince”).  Essentially, this is a Cuban version of the good old American mélange, eaten on its own or used as a filling for empanadas. Spanish influences, specifically Andalusian, are obvious due to the addition of olives and raisins. Picadillo is often served topped with hard-cooked or fried eggs and is usually accompanied by fried plantains.

small affiliate

Where are my fellow chile heads?!  
Although I love peppers, I’m not one of those crazy people that shoves whole habaneros in her mouth… funny story about that, actually.  
The year was 1993 and I was living in Guadalajara, México.  I was a student at the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara and a group of us were out strolling the Mercado Libertad, which is a huge multi-level market.  It houses everything from food to shoes to flowers.  Here we are, a bunch of 20 year old kids walking around with eyes popping out of our heads.  This was the first time most of us had been on our own in a foreign country.  We happened upon this vendor of chiles.  You know where this is going, don’t you?!  A girl in our group stated that she could handle really spicy food and was going to buy a few peppers.   We tried (in vain) to warn her that these were seriously hot and she shouldn’t pop the entire thing into her mouth.  Let’s just that the afternoon took a turn… to the Emergency Room!   I guess I shouldn’t have said a “funny” story,  just “a story”.

I’m not one to eat a whole habanero, but I do enjoy a little heat.  The kind that makes your lips and tongue tingle, not the kind that feels like someone lit a match on them.   I seem to have a higher tolerance for heat than some, which means that I may not be the best person to ask if something is spicy. We burn through jars and jars of chile paste like it’s going out of style (I assure you, it is NOT). Most of the spicy food we eat happens to be Asian.  Bowls of noodles in fiery broth are my happy place.  Food from Latin America is a close second and for good reason: I’m married to a Texan, I used to live in Mexico and we currently live in Florida.  I chose this particular recipe to share because I love picadillo.  I know, I’m totally selfish.  I make big batches of this delicious filling to make empanadas.  The saltiness of the olives with the sweetness of the raisins is really good.

My very favorite thing about this book is its inclusion of food from around the globe.  I love exploring cultures through food and this book is a peek into how chile peppers really are a global ingredient.  It’s fun to try new recipes and flavors, especially when the recipes are so varied and enticing!  

Below is a short list of some of the 250 recipes you’ll find in this book.  I have my eye on the Spinach and Tomato Dal next…  What would be your first choice?
– Middle Eastern Walnut Dip (Middle East)
– Castilian Garlic Soup (Spain)
– Chinese Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup  (China)
– Paella (Spain)- Tagine of Chicken with Apricots (N. Africa)
– Cuban style hash (Cuba)
– Original San Antonio Chili (US)
– Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (SE Asia)
– Cape Verde Sausage Stew (Africa)
– Spinach and Tomato Dal (Indian)
– Calabrese-Style Fried Potatoes with Peppers (Italian)
– Thai-Style Grilled Chile Salsa (Thai/SE Asia)
– Kimchi (Korea)
– Mexican-Style Tomato Juice – (Mexico)
– Chile-Spiked Chocolate Pots – (French)

Picadillo (Cuban-Style Hash)
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, chopped
  2. 1 each - red and green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  3. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1⁄2 habanero pepper, minced
  5. 4  cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 1⁄4 lbs lean ground beef
  7. 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  8. 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
  9. 1 piece (2 inches/5 cm long) cinnamon stick
  10. 1⁄4 cup  dry sherry
  11. 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes, with juice
  12. 1⁄2 cup dark raisins
  13. 12 large pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
  14. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For Garnish
  1. 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  2. Finely chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. In skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, red and green bell peppers, habanero pepper and garlic and stir well. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add oregano, cumin and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add sherry and cook, stirring, until almost all of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and juice, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in raisins, olives, and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook until olives are heated through, about 1 minute.
  5. Transfer to a large deep serving platter. Sprinkle chopped eggs over top. Garnish with parsley. Serve hot.
Notes
  1. Gluten-Free Friendly!
Tips
  1. You can substitute Cubanelle peppers for the red and green bell peppers if you like.
  2. I have used a habanero here because these peppers are common throughout the Caribbean, and I like the slightly fruity flavor they impart to this dish. However, it may be more common to find picadillo made with jalapeño peppers, even though purists suggest that jalapeños are not used in Cuban cooking. Both chiles do a fine job of bringing heat to this dish, so use whatever is easiest or suits your taste. If you’re using jalapeños, you’ll need 1 to 2.
  3. Instead of garnishing the entire dish with chopped eggs, transfer individual servings to warm soup plates or deep bowls and top each with a fried egg. Garnish liberally with parsley.
Adapted from The Chile Pepper Bible
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
 Get The Book

Chile Pepper Bible

You can find Judith on Pinterest, Facebook & Instagram!

This recipe has been reprinted courtesy of The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet & Mild to Fiery & Everything in Between by Judith Finlayson © 2016 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. I received one copy compliments of the publisher. No other compensation was received. Links to the book are affiliate links. 

If you’d like a chance to win a copy The Chile Pepper Bible of your own, make sure to enter the giveaway below!  Thanks to the publishers Robert Rose for providing a copy for the giveaway. It is open to US and Canadian residents!

a Rafflecopter giveaway