Moorish Chicken (Pollo Moruna)

Posted in Historical Cooking, Mediterranean, Recipes, Saint Martha's Hearth, Spanish with tags , , , , , , , on November 13, 2011 by thekytchnwytch

The combination of dried fruit and meat was wide-spread in the kitchens of well-off Moors in 13th, 14th and 15th century al-Andalus – the Arab name for the part of the Iberian Peninsula that was conquered by the Moors.  We confess that the addition of Spanish pimentón, made from red peppers which arrived from America in the 16th century, makes this a slightly modernized version of the 800 year old recipe. This was the second recipe we prepared in my cooking workshop “Saint Martha’s Hearth.”

Serves 8


4.5 lbs chicken cut into chunks (you can use boneless, skinless breasts)

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and Pepper

1 cup slivered almonds

½ cup olive oil

5 Vidalia onions cut into thin slices

1 small red chili pepper left whole

2 Tablespoon Spanish Smokey Pimentón

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 cup raisins

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

Modern Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Wash and dry chicken.  Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a large (stove and oven proof) casserole dish, heat on the stovetop ¼ cup olive oil until shimmering.  Brown the chicken pieces in batches and set aside on a plate.

4. To the same large casserole dish, add the Spanish Pimentón, cinnamon and black pepper. Heat the spices on low heat, then add water and bay leaf.

5. Return chicken to the casserole dish, bring to simmer. Then place in the oven and bake covered for 60 minutes.

6. While chicken is baking, in a heavy bottomed frying pan heat ½ C. olive oil until shimmering. Add almonds and toast on low heat for 5 minutes until browned. Set almonds aside on a plate.

7. Add onions and the chili pepper to the same heavy bottomed frying pan. Sauté 20 minutes until onions have caramelized.

8. To the caramelized onions, add the almonds, raisins, honey, and vinegar. Discard the chili pepper.

9. Remove chicken from the oven. Stir in the onions, almonds, and raisins mixture. Set the combined dish aside to sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.


Honey Rum Apple Pie

Posted in Dessert, Recipes, Toni Verticelli Farmer with tags , , , , on November 13, 2011 by thekytchnwytch

For the dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cold butter OR butter-flavored shortening, cut into small cubes
1/4 cold water (on side)
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Cut the butter OR shortening into flour until the mix looks like large crumbs.

2. Drizzle cold water in slowly until mix makes a firm dough ball.

3. Divide in half and wrap in plastic wrap.

4. Refrigerate dough balls for 30 minutes.
For the filling:

7 medium tart apples cored, peeled and sliced.
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon spiced rum or imitation rum extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon all purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Mix filling well and set aside.

3. Roll out one ball of dough and line a pie pan. Add filling.

4. Roll out second ball of dough and cover.

5. Trim edges and pinch closed. Cut 4 small slits in top to allow for steam.

6. Brush top lightly with a mix of a small egg and milk or cream.

7. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.  Let cool. Serve and enjoy!

Chicken Pecan Lasagna

Posted in Comfort Food, Entree, Lorie Reed, Pasta, Recipes with tags , , , , on November 13, 2011 by thekytchnwytch

This recipe was created by my cousin Lorie Reed when she worked as a caterer. It was developed for a bride who wanted lasagna but was worried about marinara sauce ruining her wedding dress.

A new take on traditional Lasagna “Creamy, cheesy, chickeny lasagna – you’ll fall in love all over.


12 lasagne noodles
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup onion (optional and it tastes best if you sautée it first)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 raw egg
garlic salt to taste
1 pint cottage cheese
2 cups diced, cooked chicken meat
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup toasted pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

The noodles.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

The sauce.
In a medium bowl, combine chicken soup, mushroom soup, onion, Parmesan cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, cottage cheese, egg, and garlic salt. Set aside.

Putting it all together.
In a 9×13 inch baking dish, layer 1/3 of the noodles, sauce, chicken and cheese; repeat 3 times, ending with cheese.

Top with toasted pecans for the finish.

Bake covered in preheated oven for 1 hour, removing the foil for the last 5 minutes or until browned.

Toni’s Tuna Salad

Posted in Entree, Salad, Seafood, Side, Toni Verticelli Farmer with tags , , , , , on October 24, 2011 by thekytchnwytch

1 5 oz. can albacore tuna, drained
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, well chopped w/juice
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or nuts of choice, walnuts are just really good for you and go well in this recipe)
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together well and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let flavors marry. This is not a “wet” tuna salad so it can be served as is or with bread, toast or crackers.

Catalan Roasted Vegetable Platter (Escalivada)

Posted in Historical Cooking, Mediterranean, Side, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by thekytchnwytch
Toasted Vegetable Platter (Escalivada)

Catalan Roasted Vegetable Platter (Escalivada)

Serves 4

Today, red bell peppers are a favorite vegetable to include in this recipe.  I omitted it from our recipe because sweet peppers (capsicums) didn’t become very popular until the very early 20th century. If you choose to add sweet bell peppers, remove the seeds and stem at the same time as you peel them. Add a little more oil.  You really cannot use too much olive oil.  Whatever remains can easily be used for dipping bread.


2 large eggplants

8-10 Medium-sized tomatoes

1/3 cup (3 fl oz/90ml) a fruity, good quality extra virgin olive oil

Salt (to taste)

1/2 teaspoon Cayenne powder (or to taste)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (optional)


1. Bake or grill the eggplants and tomatoes.  Set aside for 10-15 minutes in a covered dish (this makes them easier to peel).

2. Peel the vegetables.  Trim the stalks off the eggplant and discard the seeds and juice of the tomatoes. (You might want to reserve the skins and juices with which to make a vegetable stock.)

3. Cut the vegetables into strips, then arrange them on a serving dish with oil and salt.

4. Optional: sprinkle chopped garlic.

5. Serve.

For our workshop, I opted to exclude the garlic from this dish as the soup already featured it.

Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)

Posted in Historical Cooking, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 17, 2011 by thekytchnwytch
Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)

Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)

This soup has long been touted as a hangover remedy.  While I cannot personally vouch for that virtue, I can say that it has substance without being too much.  It, as with many other things, tastes best when it is cooked over an open fire.

If you make this recipe, please let me know how you prepared it, any substitutions (or omissions) you made, and what you thought of it.


Serves 4


4 cups (1qt/1l) water

¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) olive oil (not extra virgin; extra virgin olive oil has a tendency to scorch easily as it has a lower smoking point than regular olive oil)

4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled (you can use more if you love garlic)

10 oz. (315 g.) cubed French bread (10 oz. of your favorite croutons will work as well)

1 t. paprika (smoky paprika can be a nice substitute if you are cooking this on the stove)

Salt (to taste)

4 eggs (optional)



1. Put water into a saucepan to boil. You can also use an electric teakettle to boil it, but be sure that the water doesn’t evaporate too much!

2. Heat the oil and fry the whole garlic cloves in a large skillet. Add the paprika and stir it to flavor the oil. Add the cubes of bread and brown them. Stir them frequently to make sure that they are evenly browned.

3. When the bread is evenly browned, pour in the boiling water. Cook for 15 minutes. Add salt*. Serve.

4. If desired, break an egg for each person into the soup in the final few minutes of the cooking time. Wait until the white sets before serving.

*Salt can sometimes be a tricky ingredient with soups. I prefer to let my guests add salt to their taste.  Since the flavor and texture of this soup is so different from those typically served in the U.S., it is good to let folks try it this way first and decide how much salt to add.  It can be very easy to oversalt this one.

Rustic Beet Salad

Posted in Jen Ridolfo, Recipes, Salad, Side, Vegetable, Vegetarian with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2011 by thekytchnwytch

My friend Jen Ridolfo has been in the food industry for quite  a while now.  She’s one of those wonderful self-taught chefs that have a more finely-tuned sense for what makes ingredients work together than some that are trained by highfalutin culinary academies.  She is far from pretentious and she’s more concerned with sharing the wonders of the “new” than she is to impress you with her mad skillz (which she ends up doing anyway.)  Here is the first of her recipes that she is happy to share with you through my blog.  As with any of these recipes, if you make it, please let us know how you liked it/tweaked it/didn’t like it…just make sure it’s constructive. 🙂


2 or 3 large Gold or Candy Beets (pink & white stripes)
2 cups rice wine vinegar
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper, ground
pinch of salt


1. Boil beets until a knife inserted has no resistance.

2. After letting them cool, remove the skin of the beet.  (the peel can easily be rubbed off after boiling-just be sure to wear gloves. and an old rag or towel that you won’t mind being all beety).

3. Cut into 1/4inch slices (or small chunks if you prefer, about 1/2inch cubes).

4. Combine remaining ingredients and put into plastic containers with tight fitting lids.

5. Add beets, and place in fridge for a few days. Shake the container twice a day to be sure the beets get ample soak time.

6. Serve over a bed of tender, sweet leafy greens with goat cheese (chevre) and toasted almonds.