Month: February 2013

Balsamic Vinegar with Pear and Chicken – recipe

I found this recipe on a site whatscookingamerica.net

I’ve adjusted it some to suit my needs and tastes.

Balsamic Chicken with Pears Recipe

Ingredients:

6 chicken breasts halves boneless and skinless – I use boneless chicken thighs. 
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
(I also use butter in the pan with the oil – personal preference)
1 shallot or green onion, chopped – I did the recipe once like this and now use 4-5 shallots(or green onions) – I think it makes the whole experience better – far better.
2 medium fresh pears, peeled, cored, and sliced – I use 3-4.  Usually ‘harder’ pears are better although I’ve used both – sometime a couple of different types in one dish.
1 cup chicken broth or stock – I had to use beef broth once and it was not a problem – it actually tasted marvelous.
1/4 cup good-quality aged balsamic vinegar – or 1/3 cup
2 tablespoons sugar (never be shy when it comes to adding sugar – seriously)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup dried tart cherries – I use cranberries, more like 1/3 to half a cup.  C’mon really!

How to prepare:

I have found that it is wise to prepare all the separate parts of this recipe … well, separately.  Prepare chicken, cut up pears, prepare the sauce, cut shallots before you start cooking anything.  The reason for this is that you want to stir as you go and if things are not prepared, well, timing is off and things may burn.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels(if you want). You can hammer the breasts/thighs flat or as I do, just cut ’em up to sizes that you like.  Season on both sides with salt and pepper or just throw in the seasoning in later when you add the sauce.  I won’t tell.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil(and butter – butter is really good for you). When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sauté, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. If you are really good at it … or do as I do and just stir until they are browned all over. Remove from heat and transfer to a platter, cover, and keep warm.

To the same pan, add the shallot and sauté over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until soft(I usually add a touch more butter and oil before I add the shallots and stir lots so there is no burning; decrease heat to medium and add the pears. Continue sautéing, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes, until the pears are soft and golden brown.  If they are not completely soft, don’t worry you are going to cook them more with the chicken so… I don’t like them too, too soft so….

To prepare the sauce, combine chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour over the pear mixture; add the cherries. Increase heat to high and simmer, stirring frequently for 6 to 8 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.  (Again, prepare this before you start actually cooking.)  This is usually where I add the salt and pepper as I have forgotten to add earlier.

Return the chicken and any juices to the pan. Bring the mixture back to a simmer; decrease heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes

Not enough carbs in here for me so a few sweet potatoes or yams done in the oven are perfect on the side or some left over stamppot.  We also had some delicious steamed asparagus with this meal.

Posted by Martin Jones in balsamic vinegar, pear, recipe, 0 comments

Snowy Owl Tours, Canmore Alberta

We went for a drive up along Spray Lakes yesterday.  Up the hill west of Canmore.  We parked at one point and saw several dog sleds going along the other side of the lake.  We continued our drive and came to the point where they were completing their run and I got a few pictures.  These dogs were absolutely beautiful.  They had just run miles and were full of energy and life still.  There are some cool facts about their dogs and what they do on their website:

Snowy Owl Tours

Posted by faffyrd007 in dog sled, gwen van kleef, snowy owl tours, spray lakes, 0 comments

Do you hate Omar?

Who are the bad guys.  A recent response on one of my Facebook posts was how there were people in the middle east partying and jumping for joy when the Twin Towers were knocked down in September 2011.  I have read articles on how children in some countries in the middle east are taught to hate the ‘West’ particularly the USA from a very early age.  I’ve lived in both the USA and Canada.  No one much talks about how people in these two countries are brainwashed to hate people from countries like Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.  To me, there is very little difference between the hate taught in one place and the hate taught in the other.  I know many who would argue this.  I’m sure their argument is “I would not kill or set a bomb like those who live in Iraq.”  Well, most of the common people in Iraq would not do this either.  I’ve read a number of books by people from or living in Iraq that deplore this kind of thing.

To hammer the point home on how underlying the hate can be even in Canada even, check out the story of my friend Omar.

Omar is Hispanic.  He was born in Canada but both parents are from Mexico. They are not from the Middle East and they are not Muslim.  Omar is a salesman.  He does a lot of phone sales – he’s pretty good at what he does.  He is quite competent and personable.  For a while when he was on the phone he would introduce himself as Omar to his prosepective clients.  Many would wait for an opportune moment to hang up and then call back later and ask for another sales person.  They were interested in the product but would not speak to him because of his name.  Omar found this out from other salesmen in the office.  When one of his people called in the other saleman could see that Omar had talked to them and wanted to transfer to Omar.  The customer would say no, that they wanted another sales person.  Once Omar found this out he started introducing himself with his last name and this activity completely stopped. 

I asked him if the ‘hang-up’ on the name Omar was just one or two people and he said it happened a lot.  And it never happened once he used his last name only. 

So, do you teach your kids to hate?  Are you any better than the Afghanistan father who lost a child to US bombing and curses westerners to his family?

I don’t think so. 

There was a great program from TEDtalks on how Israelis and Iranians were getting in communication at a grass roots level.  They both shed off the conditioning that they got from their respective governments and just started talking to each other. 

You can see this here: Israel and Iran

So get a pen pal or find someone on Facebook in a country that you normally would not and find out about the person.  Become friends.  No one wants to bomb their friends.  (I hope)

Posted by Martin Jones in hate, iran tedtalks, israel, omar, 0 comments

Red Engine Coffee Roasters, Lethbridge, Alberta

These folks make really, really great coffee.  REALLY.  I met them first at the Christmas Show in Lethbridge, Alberta last December(2012).  I tried a cup of espresso and was hooked.  I bought a bag  of the Guatemalan and one Nicaraguan. Both delicious.  Not just coffee. Distinctive flavors.  Something to ease you out of bed in the morning.  Or go to bed at night looking forward to that great cup when you awake.

They are now set up so that you can order online.  If you prefer premium coffee and want fresh roasted, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Red Engine Coffee Roasters

Tell ’em Martin sent you:)

Posted by faffyrd007 in alberta, coffee, fresh, lethbridge, red engine coffee roasters, 0 comments