Monday, August 8, 2016

Caldo de Pollo...Mexican Chicken Soup

The loves of my life. 

This soup is my comfort food.  My Mom made this at least twice a month with a side of the spiciest 'chile macho'...which is: roasted peppers (green chile, jalapeƱos or serranos), peeled and chopped with fresh chopped onion & fresh diced tomato.  Similar to a pico de gallo except the peppers were roasted vs fresh.  The stuff Mexican foodie dreams are made of. 
Once my Mom no longer cooked due to Alzheimers my Dad started cooking.  Growing up he cooked outdoors in a wood burning stove. Big meats were his speciality (whole lamb, freshly butchered pig, fresh chicken etc...)and relied on my Mom to season the dishes.  When she no longer could he did a great job of it.  I miss them both dearly.   Carmella's first taste of food/broth at 5 1/2 months was Goat Soup that my Dad made.  He spoon feed her the broth...she loved it.  Big love. 

With love here is my Mom's beautiful caldo de pollo recipe.  

Caldo de Pollo

1 whole chicken
1/2 onion (no need to chop)
1 celery stick cut in 1/3's
2 whole carrots
3 cloves of garlic, whole
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1tsp whole coriander seeds
sprinkle of turmeric
add enough water to cover the chicken

Cook all the above ingredients in a dutch oven 1 1/2 hours/slow cooker 4 hours on high/pressure cooker 30 minutes plus allow pressure to release naturally.  Whatever you feel comfortable cooking soup in. 

Once fully cooked and chicken is pulling from the bone remove the chicken, onion & carrots with a slotted spoon.  DO NOT discard liquid/broth.  This is liquid gold.  Once chicken is cool, fully debone it.  Taste your broth at this point, season to taste with salt & pepper.  
Side note:  I like to keep the cooked skin and broil it till crispy, about 5 minutes under the broiler.  Everyone's fav, it'll be yours too. Promise. 

At this point the only ingredient in your broth should only be broth with or without the whole garlic.  Add all your vegetables to the broth:

3-4 corn on a cob, cut in 1/3's
2 squash cut in 2 inch pieces
2 zucchini cut in 2 inch pieces
1/2 medium cabbage
3 carrots cut in 1/4's 
2 small potatoes each cut in 4 wedges
1 chipotle pepper (dried or canned)

Last final STEP:
1 cup of chopped cilantro (add at the finale)

Cook vegetables till done.  Dutch oven 30 minutes/slow cooker 1 1/2 hours high/pressure cooker 10 minutes.  Once veggies are soft to your liking add the deboned chicken to the veggie soup and sprinkle with cilantro.  Serve.   8-9 servings.  This soup freezes beautifully and a lovely gift for friends & neighbors. 

Serve it like my Mom did and how I now serve it to my family.
Side of warm corn tortillas, lime wedges, your favorite salsa and avocado. 
I like to tear apart a corn tortilla into tiny pieces and sprinkle it in my soup.  My Mom served it this way to us.    
Vegetables in broth before I pressure cooked them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Electric Pessure Cooker...Instant Pot

Beef Short Ribs

Pressure cooking made even easier. Beef short ribs in 40 minutes. Made this over the weekend.  Tastes like it cooked for hours. This summer I used the Instant Pot non stop, bought it on amazon. It produces very little heat, big plus and it's the only electric pressure cooker with a stainless steel tub on the market (others are non-stick). It'll change your life.  The pressure cooker changed my life a few years ago and honestly, I never thought I'd go electric.  I started reading reviews on this particular one and they were all I wanted that I had no idea I wanted. XO. 

The Instant Pot will:  steam, pressure cook, saute, make yogurt, slow cook, cook rice, cook beans etc... You name it, it'll make it.  Since I purchased this I have not used my slow cooker nor my stove top pressure cooker, BUT I don't want to get rid of them, not just yet.  

Beef Short Rib Recipe

3 lbs of beef short ribs (separate each)
3 T tomato paste
2 T olive oil
1 med-lg onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, cut into 1" chunks
5 carrots, cut into 2" chunks
6 garlic cloves, whole
2 cups water
6-8 sprigs of thyme
2, 6" rosemary sprigs
salt + pepper to taste

Press the saute option.  Once it feels hot...1-2 minutes, add oil and 1/2 the ribs.  Brown.  Remove once browned, add the remaining ribs.  Brown.  Remove. Leave oil in tub.  Add onion, celery and garlic.  Saute for 4 minutes.  Add tomato paste, saute for 3 minutes (stir).  Add ribs, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and water into the cooker.  Now cancel saute and pressure cook for 30 minutes.  I like to let the pressure release on it's own...this can take 10 minutes after the 30 minutes of pressure.  Once pressure is down I add the carrots at this stage and pressure cook for 4 minutes (you can add potatoes or sweet potatoes, if you like).'s gluten free

Your dish is now ready.  Enjoy.  Invite someone over.  Share the love. 


Monday, April 6, 2015

An Easy Sweet!

Sunbeam Mini Cake Maker 
Look what I just made!  5 1/2 dozen gluten free mini cakes, in my new Mini Cake Maker.  I used the King Arthur yellow cake mix, mixed as directed  and added 1 tsp vanilla.  I have a few gatherings in the next couple months, that I'm hosting/helping host: wedding shower (neighbors daughter), my daughters First Communion, a birthday party...
I'm freezing these and will use as needed.  It'll be fun to frost and decorate these little nuggets. 
If you have children of any age or just like baking this is a game changer.  Easy clean up. 

XOXOXO, Darlene 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Love Letter

Let me start by saying I love you.  For the last 15 months I've been asking myself 'what's next Darlene?'  Being a chef can be taxing on one's body.  When I have an event, I'm in a non stop mode for 4-5 days and on my feet for 12-16 hours.  To sleep for 24 hours after each event would be a dream, it takes me a couple days to recoup. This is why the "what's next" question has been so loud in my mind.  I started to reflect on what I've enjoyed in my career history, and it brings me back to Real Estate.  I got my RE License in 2004, had my first and only child (Carmella) in 2006.  In 2008 Dave and I decided that staying home with Carmella would be the best thing I could do for our family.  It was my pleasure.  Carmella and I joined a neighborhood playgroup, a few months later Honey Girl Kitchen was born.  These lovely mommies loved the homemade snacks I'd make when I hosted playgroup and so it began.  My first client was Kelly Gordon, thank you!  Baptisms, First Communions, Birthdays, this is how I became an accidental caterer.  I have enjoyed being of service and sharing my gift.  So grateful for the trust and referrals that made my business bloom.  Throughout these years I continued my RE education never letting my RE License expire.  Real Estate was the long term goal as a career...I can sell RE all my life, catering not so much. 
I've built some beautiful friendships while catering.  I ask for your love, kindness, prayers and support in my transition.  I will continue to provide monthly specials the first Thursday of every month plus an update of my transition.      
As of March 9, 2015 I joined CLAY STAPP + CO. Looking forward to the joy of finding my future clients a home

I will still maintain this blog...I will continue to share recipes and post pictures of our family dinner parties.

With so much love, Darlene Rosen

Saturday, March 14, 2015

No Bake Cheese Cake

I feel I need to confess...only because this cheesecake is soooo delicious.  Confession: this is the 2nd pie in 5 days. The first one lasted 24 hours.  We'll see how long this one lasts.  In our home we all equally adore plain cheesecake and you'll find that it's the norm to request it vs a traditional birthday cake.   Every now and then we'll add a french orange marmalade or a french raspberry preserve. 

I came upon this recipe a week ago.  It's Martha Stewart's 'No Bake Cheesecake' it sounded familiar, if I've made it before it's been ages.  

Honey Girl Kitchen's No Bake Cheesecake 

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed cookies (graham, shortbread...whatever you love or have)              
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted (salted or unsalted...whatever you have)            
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature       
  • 1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk       
  •  zest of 2 lemons     
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract   
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional...this topping makes it an over the top slice)   
  1. Put cookies in a ziploc, crush them with a rolling pin.  Finely.
  2. Put crumbs into pie pan. Add butter, and stir until well combined.

  3. Press the crumb mixture press flat. Freeze crust while you mix up the filling.

  4. In a large mixing bowl add remaining ingredients, EXCEPT sour cream.  Mix on medium to high till smooth (whatever powerful mixer/blender of sort you have).
  5. Pour the filling into the crust; smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap freeze for 1 hour. 
  6. Top with sour cream.  Refrigerate till serving time.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Children Can Set The Entire Table

china + glassware + placemats placed in bottom drawer

Why did I not think of this sooner?  Today  a light bulb turned on when I was cleaning the bottom kitchen drawer...mind you the only bottom drawer.  I have a 1931 kitchen...3 cabinets and 3 drawers. I live with a voice inside my head "Darlene what's wrong with you? Please be tidier."   Then I delightfully respond to the voice "self please, the kitchen is tiny I'm just doing the best I can ❤️". 

My 8 year old, Carmella, has been helping me set the table daily for the last 4 years.  I normally hand her the china and drinking glasses.  She can reach the silverware, napkins and filtered water.  Today all that will change, she will now be able to set the entire table all by herself.   She's good at it too.  All china is set right side up if there is a design, plate straight if squared, water to the right, fork and napkin on the left, spoon/knife if needed on right.  I showed her the drawer and she was pleased.  Next I'll have her load the dishwasher, currently she's still to short to navigate the sink water properly.

Image result for place setting for kids
everyday place setting

Carmella loves responsibilities even if she seems a bit resistant...that's when I reiterate "this is our home and it takes all of us to run a house...we each need to do our part."   Saying those words also helps me not feel as though I'm asking for too much "it's our home".  

Carmella's contribution: setting the table perfectly, vacuum (as best she can), make her bed (as best she can), feed the pooches dinner, set her alarm clock, fold towels and put her clothes on hangers or drawers (still working on neatness).

May your tidiness be ...intentionally delightful.
xoxoxo, Darlene

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Goals or Resolutions?

I choose to set goals.  I like that word best. 
My goal planning starts over the holidays during road trips and I finish them up New Year's Day.  My goals will change, be edited and rewritten all year long.  Goal planning is a road map for me...makes me want to be a better version of me.  Goal categories: personal, family and professional...the personal category is broken down to: fitness, social, spiritual, nutrition, reading, financial and kitchen goals.  Do I keep them all? No. However I accomplish more by writing them down vs just thinking about them. 
Happy New Year...wish you love, health and prosperity in 2015.  
Xoxo, Darlene