Spanish Wine and Tapas Extravaganza!

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From mountainous terrain to salty shores, Spain is one of the world’s top wine producing countries, offering a wide range quality wines.  With names like Albariño, Tempranillo, and Verdejo, Spanish wine offerings include robust reds, crisp whites, refreshing rosés, sparkling cavas, and luxe sherries.

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Fuyu Persimmons with Savory Goat Cheese Pasta

fuyu persimmons pastaFuyu persimmons are almost too gorgeous to eat. Bright orange and shiny, they hang from their branches like holiday ornaments, brightening the gray fall skies. In season from mid-October through December, fuyu persimmons grow all over my neighborhood, but judging by the fact that so many of them go unharvested, no one seems to know what to do with them. This is great news for me, because I love to use these delicious specimens in both sweet and savory recipes.

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Gluten Free Pizza in a Cast Iron Skillet

farinata on platePrepare to have your mind blown. The best gluten free pizza comes from a classic Italian recipe. It’s a traditional recipe, called farinata (it’s called socca in france), that uses chickpea flour. Cook it in your cast-iron skillet and you’ll never make gluten free pizza any other way again.

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Dutch Oven Obsession–Recipe and Cookbook Giveaway!

dutch oven chicken braised with fennel and onionDutch Oven Obsession is the name of my latest cookbook, and it hits bookstore shelves next week (it’s available for preorder on Amazon now!). Here’s a sneak peek from the book, a recipe for Chicken Braised with Caramelized Onions and Fennel, and a chance to win a free copy!

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Cast Iron Skillet Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Cream

fish tacos cookeed in a cast iron skilletToday, I bring you another recipe from my latest book, Home Skillet: The Essential Cast Iron Cookbook for Easy One-Pan Meals. This time I’m sharing my recipe for Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Cream. The best part is that you can watch a video of  my friend and fellow food blogger Stephanie Weaver of Recipe Renovator  cooking the recipe live on Facebook! And you even get to hear my commentary through the magic of technology.

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Candied Ginger Peach Scones Cooked in Cast Iron

ginger peach sconesAs a consumer of cookbooks, there is nothing that irks me more than cookbook recipes that don’t work. As a cookbook author, there is nothing more mortifying than discovering that a cookbook you wrote has a recipe with errors in it. Shortly after my latest book Home Skillet was released, I started getting emails mentioning errors in one recipe: tCandied Ginger Peach Scones. Apparently, this is the first recipe that everyone wanted to make from the book and it contained not one, but two errors.

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Cast Iron Skillet Chicken — and a Giveaway!

Crispy chicken Thighs in Honey-Sriracha Glaze with Cabbage Slaw, from Home Skillet

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken from my new book, Home Skillet

My latest book, Home Skillet: The Essential Cast Iron Cookbook for Easy One-Pan Meals landed on my doorstep, and on bookstore shelves, yesterday and I broke in my personal copy by making a batch of my favorite cast iron skillet chicken:  Crispy Chicken Thighs with Honey-Sriracha Glaze. (enter the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win your own free copy of the book!)

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Palak Paneer (Indian Cheese in Spinach Curry)

cooked palak paneer in a bowl with steamed rice

Palak paneer features creamy Indian cheese in a spicy curried spinach sauce.

Palak paneer (Indian cheese simmered in curried spinach sauce) has always been one of those dishes that I want to love. I mean,  I love cheese. I love curry. And spinach. But all the restaurant paneer I had ever had was bland and slightly rubbery. But a few weeks ago, I began experimenting with homemade paneer and it changed my life. Well, okay, mayyyybe I’m exaggerating, but it definitely changed how I feel about paneer. Easy to make, homemade paneer is rich and creamy, with a hint of lemony and salty flavor. Cooked into a bright green curried spinach sauce, it becomes tender and, although it seems impossible, even more creamy.

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Homemade Paneer–So Easy, So Delicious

Homemade paneer cut into cubesI love Indian food, but I’ve never been crazy about the paneer I’ve had either at my local Indian restaurants or the stuff I can buy at the market. So, obviously, I had to eventually try my hand at making my own. It turns out that homemade paneer is simple to make and as delicious as I always thought a homemade Indian cheese should be.

Check out my recipe below for easy and delicious homemade paneer. Once you’ve made it, you can use it in Palak Paneer (paneer in a curried spinach sauce) or use it in grilled cheese sandwiches spread with spicy chutney.

Homemade paneer made with a2 Milk®. The curds and whey are separated by draining the curds in a cheesecloth-lined strainer.

To make homemade paneer, you use acid to separate the curds and whey, then drain out the weigh in a cheesecloth-lined strainer.

homemade-paneer-squeeze-wm

Homemade Paneer
Author: 
 
Paneer is a fresh South Asian farmer’s cheese that is used in Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Afghani cuisines. It’s mildly flavored, soft, and crumbly. It is often cooked in spicy curries, but it can also be grilled or fried, and is great in sandwiches or crumbled over flatbread.

Paneer is super easy to make—you only need 3 ingredients (milk, lemon juice or another acid, and salt) and some cheesecloth. All the other equipment you’ll use (pot, bowl, etc.) are standard, everyday kitchen items. The process, in a nutshell, is to bring the milk to a boil, stir in acid to separate the curds and whey, strain out the whey, and press the curds into a firm slab. It can be done in as little as 30 minutes, although you can take a leisurely approach and do it in an hour with minimal hands-on time.

You can use either whole milk or 2% milk, although as with most recipes, the more fat the better, so go ahead and choose the full-fat variety. You can use any acid you like (vinegar and whey are both common). I used lemon juice and really liked the hint of lemony flavor it added.
Ingredients
  • ½ gallon whole or 2% milk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Put the milk in a large pot and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it just comes to a boil. Do not heat it too quickly or let it scald.
  2. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Cover the pot and let sit for 10 minutes. At this point, the curds and whey should have separated, and there will be a yellowish, watery layer (the whey) on top with the curds at the bottom.
  3. Line a strainer or colander with the cheesecloth and set it over a large bowl. Pour the separated milk through the strainer. You can pour out the whey or transfer it to another container to save for another purpose (some people use it in baking, smoothies, or in their next batch of paneer.) Let the curds sit in the cheesecloth in the strainer until they are cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth around the cheese and squeeze it gently to remove the remaining liquid. Stir in the salt.
  4. Pat the cheese into a flat patty, about 1½ to 2 inches thick.
  5. Wrap the patty in the cheesecloth and set it on a plate. A pot or another plate on top and weight it down with a large can of tomatoes or something similar. Let stand for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain off any liquid that has collected on the plate, and then unwrap the cheesecloth. Use or eat the paneer immediately, or wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Paneer can even be frozen (again, wrap it in plastic wrap and then pop it in the freezer, where it will keep for at least 3 months).

 

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Chicken Quinoa Salad + Apple Vinaigrette

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Foster Farms. I received free samples of the product mentioned and was compensated for my time. All opinions stated are my own.

quinoa salad with grilled chicken, kale, cabbage, raisins, radishes, and apple vinaigrette

Grilled Chicken and Quinoa Salad in Apple-Cumin Vinaigrette. Photo by Robin Donovan.

To make this hearty chicken and quinoa salad, I picked up some Foster Farms California-raised Organic Fresh Chicken from my local Safeway store. I love that this chicken is grown right here in California, is raised free-range on organic, certified non-GMO feed, and is certified by the American Humane Association. But let’s face it, it also has to taste good. Happily, the Foster Farms boneless, skinless Organic Fresh Chicken breast fillets I used fit the bill.

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