Within the span of one month, our neighborhood got two new residents. My family moved in just weeks before my next-door neighbor, Jeannette, did. Besides being a nice neighbor, Jeannette is a wonderful artist who shares her talents with many of us each week at art class. She’s a patient teacher and a gracious lady. I couldn’t have asked for a better neighbor, even if she were Mr. Rogers.
“I think I was born with a rolling pin in my hand,” I declared as I wielded the instrument of flat destruction across the pizza dough, flattening the lump into one, very thin cover for a Stromboli extraordinaire. We were making a Stromboli — my sister-in-law, Denise, and me. It would be our family’s last visit to Atlanta to see Nanny, my husband’s mother, who was in at-home hospice at Denise’s house. Denise wanted to learn how to make Stromboli. But who can do that without a rolling pin? A previous phone conversation had disclosed that we would be without that necessary tool, so I brought mine along on our trip from Philadelphia.
For many years, Nov. 11 was a holiday for me. It meant no reveille that morning. It meant a day without fighting my way through traffic formations. It meant no maneuvering to try to find a seat on the express train to town. It was a day to desist from the duties of the day’s regimented drills. Clearly, I wasn’t AWOL. I was just on a day’s leave, thanks to the veterans. I always appreciated that day.
Once upon a time in the city of Munich, Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. All the people of Munich were invited to attend the festivities, which were held on Oct. 12, 1810, on the fields in front of the city gates. All of Bavaria celebrated with the happy couple, and the party ended with horse races in the presence of the royal family.
Hello, Northeast Philly readers. Welcome to my kitchen! Come in, sit down, stay a while and let’s talk about good food. It’s been some time since I last wrote the weekly food column for the Northeast Times, and although I haven’t been writing about food in the Times, I certainly have been collecting recipes and cooking. It’s déjà vu – with great classic recipes and many exciting, new ones.
I was planning dinner and thinking about how I could transform some leftover, grilled chicken sausages and bell peppers into another meal. Then it hit me: Pizza! Dinner dilemma solved. I decided to slice the sausages, chop up the peppers, combine them with some mild salsa and cheeses, and use it as a topping for homemade, deep-dish pizza.
When most people think about planting a garden in the spring, they think about the fresh vegetables they will be eating all summer. While vegetables are packed with good nutrients, a garden provides many other benefits as well. This year, make planting and tending a garden a family affair, and everyone will harvest the benefits.
When searching for the perfect present for a new mother, the gift of your time is always appreciated. Preparing a meal for the family, presenting it in a pretty casserole dish that she can keep, and including the recipe with the casserole makes a great gift and keepsake for the new mother.
After years of creating recipes, shopping and cooking, even a Kitchen Diva needs to update her old favorites from time to time. It’s amazing how changing a few ingredients and adding new spices and herbs can revive an old recipe.
I’ve decided to update my Chicken and Rice Salad by giving it a Mexican twist. I’m adding flavorful herbs and spices to change the flavor profile of the dish.
The black beans and avocados give the salad a creamy, buttery texture and add additional protein and nutrients. Nutrients found in avocados include vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein and the B vitamins folate, B-6, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and niacin — all of which have been shown to be good for hair and skin.
Be selective about the avocados you use in this salad. An avocado is ready to serve when the skin turns from dark green to nearly black and yields when pressed gently with a thumb. Firm avocados will ripen in a day or two at room temperature in a brown paper bag on your kitchen counter. Ripe avocados can be kept in the refrigerator for several days.
Try this updated Avocado, Chicken and Rice Salad dish, and feel free to think outside of the recipe box the next time you prepare an old family favorite.
AVOCADO, CHICKEN AND RICE SALAD
2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
2 ripe avocados
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces
4 green onions, root ends removed and discarded, white and green parts, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup Italian dressing
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional
1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Dice avocados and toss with lemon juice; set aside. Rinse and drain black beans. When the rice is ready, stir in chicken, beans, green onions, chili powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add Italian dressing and toss well to combine.
2. Pour into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add the avocados and cherry tomatoes, tossing gently to combine. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.
Makes 6 servings. ***