Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Recipes & Photo Gallery

"Summer is acumen in" - storm approaching Cocoa Beach while . . .
Cassidy frolics in the surf. Saturday, April 11, 2015

Orlando Eye scanned from The Orlando Sentinel, 4/17/15

On Thursday night the not-yet-in-use Orlando Eye was lit up for the first time with 64,000 LED lights, illuminating its 400-foot height. And to think I had this idea, using it in my fictional theme park, Florida Wild, a year before the new I-Drive project was announced. Ah, well . . . (The lights in the distance are downtown Orlando.)


Susie doing prep work before sodding the front lawn at my new house - broken rake & all.


 As previously mentioned, I have an addiction to recipes. At least once a week I have to try something new - and occasionally the results are worth passing on. One recipe, though tasty, I rejected because although it arrived at the table as a "One Dish" meal, I looked around my devastated kitchen and discovered creating it had required: a frying pan, one large sauce pan, one medium sauce pan, one medium mixing bowl and one small mixing bowl. Plus a wire whisk and several wooden spoons. Frankly, the dish wasn't stunning enough to justify the clean-up effort.

I had better luck on a different recipe, however. After reading about Chicken Escabeche salad in romance novel (surprise, surprise), I looked up several recipes on the Internet and took a bit here and bit there to make a hot meal version, recorded below. A wonderful mix of flavors, with the pickled jalapeños offering a more mild piquancy to the dish than standard sliced hot peppers (fresh or canned).

Grace Note: I strongly recommend cutting up all the necessary ingredients ahead of time, so you can simply put everything together in one fell swoop. I also found it easier to use "chicken tenders" instead of chicken breast halves. 

Chicken Escabeche

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
4 (8 oz.) chicken breast halves, skinned*
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups thinly sliced onion
1½  cups thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced carrot
½ cup raisins (preferably golden)
slivered almonds (opt., as desired)
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
¼ - 1/3 cup cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
ground cumin or cumin seeds (to taste)
capers (opt., as desired)
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup drained sliced pickled jalapeño peppers

*or a package of "chicken tenders"

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with ¼ teaspoon black pepper and salt. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; set aside.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, carrot, garlic, and remaining ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently.

Add broth and remaining ingredients, except jalapeños,  to pan; bring to a boil. Return chicken to pan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.

Remove and discard cinnamon stick and cloves. Stir in jalapeño peppers.

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The first time Hailey & I attempted to make a mixed fruit pie, we didn't allow enough time for the frozen berries to defrost, nor enough time for them to drain. The pie was good but horribly soggy. When Hailey requested eight mini pies for her family birthday party, I put together the instructions on a Kraft box of tapioca with instructions that came with the pie molds,  & instructions learned from my mother, all the while keeping in mind the soggy mess of our first fruit pie. Riley and Cassidy made the pies, and they were a big hit. Truly exceptional fruit pies. So I'll try to re-create the recipe below. For just one 8-9" pie, you can cut the recipe in half.

Grace's Fruit Pie

1 48-oz. pkg. frozen Triple Berry Mix*
2 pkgs. Betty Crocker refrigerated pie crust (2 sheets each)
1/2 cup tapioca
1¼ - 1-1/3 cups raw sugar**
2 eggs 
aluminum foil (optional)

Note: the above makes enough for two 8-9" pies.

Be sure berries are fully thawed and drained. Preheat oven to 400°. Mix berries, tapioca & sugar together. Let set while unrolling one pie crust. Place crust in pie plate, molding to sides. (Do not cut off extra yet.) Poke holes in bottom of crust with fork. Brush crust with fork-whipped egg white. Dust crust with a little flour. Pour in berry mix. Unroll second crust. Lay on top of filling. Pinch edges in whatever pattern desired. Trim excess crust, if any. Make slits, or whatever steamholes desired, in top of crust. Brush crust with egg wash.***  Sprinkle raw sugar on top. Repeat directions for second pie.

If desired, use strips of aluminum foil to cover the edge of the crusts to keep them from becoming too brown. Place pies on cookie sheet as berry pies inevitably bubble over, making a mess. Bake c. 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375° and bake c. 20 minutes more, or until pies looks light brown & bubbly.

*Blueberries, blackberries & raspberries, but other combinations should work.

**This is less than a standard pie recipe calls for, but it seemed to work very well. (I prefer Florida's raw sugar but standard white sugar is fine, if preferred.)

***Make egg wash by whisking one egg and adding a bit of water; whisk again. Apply with pastry brush. 

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Grace Note:  Be sure you have plenty of people to share this one. (I gained two pounds on 3 slices over three days!)

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Thanks for stopping by.

For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.

For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.

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