Spinach and Pancetta Strata - Pink Saturday

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's time for the April challenge at Recipes to Rival. This month's challenge, chosen by Temperama of High on the Hog, was a Giada De Laurentis recipe for a Spinach and Pancetta Strata. It's a wonderful recipe for this time of year. It can be assembled the night before serving and that makes it a natural for for a Mother's Day brunch. I cut all the ingredients in half, but made no other changes to the recipe we were asked to prepare. Those of you who have large families to entertain will appreciate the ease with which this can be assembled. The strata is simple to make and it uses readily available ingredients. It is also delicious. One of the nice things about Giada's recipes is their consistency. They are never great but they are always good and visually appealing. I hope you'll try this. You won't be disappointed. Here's the recipe.

Spinach and Pancetta Strata
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Giada De Laurentis from Everyday Italian episode: My Family Favorites

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 (10-ounce) box chopped frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed Italian bread, from a 1-pound loaf
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
3 cups whole milk
10 large eggs


1) Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a bowl. Add onion to pan drippings in same skillet and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and garlic. Saute over medium-low heat until garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, nutmeg, and cooked pancetta.
2) Place half of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle half of cheese over the bread, then top with half of spinach mixture. Repeat layering.
3) Whisk milk, eggs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
4) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
5) Bake strata uncovered until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Frittata with Spring Herbs and Leeks - One Perfect Bite
Smoked Salmon Frittata - One Perfect Bite
Individual Baked Omelets - One Perfect Bite

This post is being linked to:
Pink Saturday, sponsored by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.

Black Bean Hummus with Crispy Corn Chips

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Saturday marks the 136th run of the Kentucky Derby and I thought it would be nice to provide some snacks for nibbling as we watched the race and procession of hats at Churchill Downs. I'm a "people watcher", and, to Bob's dismay, I have more fun with before and after events than I do with the race itself. Fortunately food is our great equalizer. I want to serve something outside the pale of standard derby fare, so I decided to try a recipe developed by the chefs at Kai Restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. The restaurant specializes in Native American food and this dip is their interpretation of hummus. It's extremely easy to make and is quite unlike its Middle Eastern cousin in all but texture. While bagged chips could certainly be used, I've decided to serve it with homemade tortilla chips. The corn flavored chips will nicely balance the citrus in the dip and give it a more Southwestern flavor. I cut my corn tortillas into quarters and deep-fried them. If you are watching calories they could be crisped in the oven. Either way, they are a perfect accompaniment to the dip. Here's the recipe for the black bean hummus.

Black Bean Hummus...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by a recipe from Michael Dowd and Jack Strong appearing in the book The New Native American Cuisine


1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 (14.5-oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
5 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 to 1-1/2 teaspoons chipotle adobe pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a blender. Process until smooth. Slowly add oil to puree. Serve with crisp corn tortilla chips. Yield: 2 cups.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Red Pepper Hummus - One Perfect Bite
Chunky Clam and Bacon Dip - One Perfect Bite
Liptauer Cheese Spread - One Perfect Bite

Fry Bread - School Project

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's not much of a recipe, but it comes with a fascinating history that curious minds and my older grandsons might find interesting. Fry bread is the politically correct name that has been given to what was once called squaw bread. For my friends in Asia, Africa and Europe, and others not schooled in American history, the word squaw was once used to describe native American women in an insulting and derogatory way. Native tribes across the United States have been working for decades to remove this, and other demeaning words used to describe their people, from the English lexicon. They are slowly making progress. The bread that carried that offending name was not part of their diet until the tribes were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands and placed on reservations. The Navajo call this period of their history the "Long Walk", while the Cherokee, also subject to the forced march, referred to it as the "Trail of Tears". To supplement meager food stores and prevent starvation, they were given allotments of white flour, baking powder, salt and lard by the army. They used it to fashion a simple skillet bread that became a staple of their diets while they were kept on the reservations. While no longer commonplace, it is still served at tribal feasts and gatherings and some believe that eating the bread is a sacred tradition that must be continued until the earth is again purified. Bob and I first had fry bread at a ceremony called a Tsalila that is held on the Oregon coast. The bread is traditionally made with lard and its texture depends on how it is fried. When deep fried it is fluffy and has a texture similar to Yorkshire pudding or popovers. When shallow fried, it is crisp and has a decided cracker-like crunch when bitten. This bread, like all fried doughs, is best eaten straight from the fryer. The dough can, however, be made ahead of time and be stored in the refrigerator for a day or so before cooking. The finished bread can be split and filled with meat or other fillings, but most prefer it spread with jam or sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. It is very easy to make and would be wonderful for a school project. Here's the recipe.

Fry Bread
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons lard, melted (butter may be substituted)
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup room temperature milk
4 cups oil for deep frying


1) Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
2) Combine water, milk and lard or butter in a large measuring cup.
3) Slowly add liquids to flour and mix just until dough forms a ball. Knead in the bowl, about 10 times, to form a smooth ball that is not sticky. A small amount of flour may be added if needed. Cover dough with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
4) Heat oil in a deep fryer or a high-sided pan. If using an electric pan set thermostat to 350 degrees F.
5) Divided dough into 8 approximately equal pieces. Pat on a floured board or with floured hands to form circles about 5 to 6-inches in diameter. Place dough, a piece at a time, into hot oil and cook for 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all dough is used. Yield: 8 pieces.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Indian Pudding - Simply Recipes
Navajo Fry Bread and Navajo Tacos - Commonplace Kitchen
Cherokee Fry Bread - Bake Space

Turnip Griddle Cakes

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I periodically have a taste for something outside my culinary comfort zone. It doesn't have to be gourmet or high-end, just different. Today was one of those days. Cabin fever, triggered by a rain of deluge proportions, sent me to my cookbooks. I was looking for a recipe, that while unusual, wouldn't involve a trip to the store and could be made from ingredients I had in my pantry or freezer. I had turnips that I wanted to use before they became fodder for the compost heap and I found a, new to me, recipe in Savoring America, a Williams-Sonoma cookbook. For whatever reason, I don't often cook turnips. I remember disliking them as a child and the only time I've used them as an adult was in a lovely, but fat-packed, turnip bisque. This offering is much healthier. I'm really happy to report that these unusual griddle cakes are fast, easy and really delicious. The crisp exterior masks a surprisingly creamy interior that is wonderfully flavorful. I certainly would make these again. Here's the recipe.

Turnip Griddle Cakes...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Williams-Sonoma's Savoring America

2 packed cups peeled, shredded turnips (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup melted butter, divided use
1 cup half-and-half (whole milk may be substituted)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Sour cream (optional)
Minced fresh chervil (optional)

1) Place turnips in a medium bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons butter.
2) In another large bowl, beat half-and-half with egg and salt. Stir in flour and mix just to combine. Add turnips and fold until evenly coated.
3) Heat a large, heavy frying pan or griddle. Coat bottom with enough of reserved butter to prevent sticking.
4) For each griddle cake, spread a heaping spoonful of batter on grill to form a 3-inch cake. Fry, turning once, until both sides are a deep brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and keep warm in a low oven until all batter has been used. Serve immediately with sour cream and chervil if desired. Yield: 20 to 24 3-inch cakes.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Turnip Gratin - Poor Girl Gourmet
Scalloped Turnips - Simply Recipes
Turnip Cake - Appetite for China


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Southwestern-Style Potatoes Roasted with Peppers and Herbs

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...
If you like roast potatoes, chances are you'll love this version which has a slightly Southwestern twist. The potatoes are topped with a medley of herbs and absorb additional flavor from three types of fresh peppers that roast along side them. There are a couple of tricks to making this dish work, but I assure you they are simple. To prevent the peppers and onions from releasing juices that would braise, rather than roast, the potatoes, hot becomes the operative word. The oven must be hot and the pan on which the vegetables roast must be hot enough to sizzle when the vegetables are dumped onto it. To assure a hot pan, place it in the oven as it preheats. Spray it with a nonstick vegetable spray or olive oil just before you place vegetables in it. Resist the temptation to oil the pan while it preheats. You'll end up with enough smoke to set off your alarms. This lesson comes from the been there, done that school of life which I've completed with high honors. These potatoes are a wonderful accompaniment to steaks and roasts and can make a plain meal sparkle with flavor. If I can get you to make them, I know they'll become a favorite of yours as well. While I make this with baby Yukon Gold, any small potato, including fingerlings, can be used with similar result. Leftovers can be warmed the following day and served with poached or fried eggs for a quick and easy feast. Here's the recipe for roast potatoes made new again.

Southwestern-Style Potatoes Roasted with Peppers and Herbs...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite


2-1/2 to 3 pounds small new potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 large red bell pepper, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1 large poblano pepper, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1 large jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut in very thin crosswise slices
1 large sweet onion cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton)
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 1 large lemon

1) Place a large baking sheet into oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2) Place potatoes, red pepper, poblano pepper, jalapeno pepper, sweet onion, basil, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice in a large bowl and toss well to coat all ingredients. Quickly spray hot pan with nonstick spray. Dump potato mixture in a single layer onto pan. Return to oven.
3) Bake, turning mixture every 15 minutes, until potatoes are soft and brown, about 50 minutes. Yield 6 to 8 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Savory Roasted Potatoes for a Crowd - One Perfect Bite
Mustard Glazed Potatoes - One Perfect Bite
Caramelized Potatoes (Brunede Kartofler )- One Perfect Bite

Goat Herder's Mac 'N' Cheese - Blue Monday

Mustard Field - Alvadore Oregon

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...If goat herder's actually made mac 'n' cheese this is what they'd eat. This creamy pasta is made from goat's milk and chevre with bits of hot pepper and tomato added for a splash of color. I've used small shells as a vehicle to capture the lovely sauce the macaroni is warmed in, but any pasta could be used. Those who love the crunch of a classic mac 'n' cheese will probably be disappointed with this version, but anyone who is willing to experiment and is looking for a new approach to an old favorite will be pleased. Goat's milk has a salty undertone and is a bit sweeter that cow's milk. While the milk is not popular in the United States, it is the milk of choice in other parts of the world. You should be able to find it in most large grocery chains or in the dairy section of health food stores. This version of mac 'n' cheese is assembled from fully cooked ingredients that are combined and warmed just before serving. The final dish is creamier than it's more common counterpart and it is wonderful as a side with plain grilled meat or poultry. It is very rich so keep serving portions slight smaller than you would normally serve. This is a lovely pasta and, fortunately, it is also easy to do. While I doubt you'll have to worry about leftovers, they will keep for several days if well-wrapped and refrigerated. I hope you'll give this a try. Here's the recipe.

Goat Herder's Mac 'N' Cheese
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite


3 cups goat's milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and very finely diced
1 large Roma tomato, seed and very finely diced
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
8 ounces cooked shells or other small pasta

1) Place goat's milk, salt and pepper in a 3-quart sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by one-third. Lower heat and keep warm.
2) Combine butter and flour in a small skillet and whisk over moderate heat until a roux forms. Whisk into goat's milk. Bring mixture back to the simmer and cook until sauce thickens. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Stir in lemon juice, jalapeno, tomato, cheese and pasta and cook until cheese melts and pasta is warmed through. Again check for seasoning. Serve hot. Yield: 4 to 5 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Truffled Mac 'N' Cheese - One Perfect Bite
Chili-Mac Skillet - One Perfect Bite
Heaven-Sent Macaroni and Cheese - Food Blogga
Caramelized Shallots and Sage Mac and Cheese - Nosh and Tell
Mac and Cheese to Please - The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch
Quick Macaroni and Cheese - I'm Running to Eat

This post is being linked to:
Smiling Sally - Blue Monday

Pink Lemonade Granita - Pink Saturday

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Years ago, some folks affectionately named their cars. It was throwback to the days when horses pulled the family wagon. I came from that kind of family and, to this day, cars in our family are given names. I call mine Bessie. I must admit that I've carried the naming of inanimate object even further. My computer also has a name. We call her Carmen. I've just brought Carmen back from a 48 hour stay in the emergency room at the Geek Squad hospital. She's a headstrong flirt and, despite repeated warnings, she invited trouble with a virus that seems to have come from Facebook. She has been very, very sick but the guys brought her back from the brink of self-destruction and she's lived to blog another day. Beware of requests that come from Facebook, especially those that pop-up and ask if you want to share or approve a new follower. The request may or not be legitimate. I'm now a couple of hundred dollars in the hole but a lot wiser than I was on Friday. Carmen has been grounded. This is probably the latest Pink Saturday post since the inception of the meme. I am sorry, but it could not be helped. Today's feature is a simple palate cleanser that I think you'll enjoy. Let's get right to it. Here's the recipe.

Pink Lemonade Granita...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Nicole Plue


1-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 to 4 lemons)
2 teaspoons grenadine


1) Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, and grenadine in a medium bowl. Stir with a large spoon or whisk until sugar has thoroughly dissolved, about 1 minute.
2) Pour mixture into a 9-inch-square shallow baking pan. This pan size works best ­because it provides a large surface area, a key point in speeding up freezing process. To further hasten freezing, use a metal pan (metal conducts cold well).
Put pan in freezer and stir every 30 minutes, being sure to scrape ice crystals off sides and into middle of pan, until mixture is too frozen to stir, about 3 hours, depending on how cold your freezer is (some granitas can freeze in as ­little as 1 hour). Use tines of a large dinner fork to stir, scrape and break up ice crystals.
3) Cover pan with plastic and freeze over­night. When ready to serve granita, place a fork at the top of the dish and pull it toward you in rows, moving from left to right ­and ­rotating the pan as well. Scape up the shaved ice and fill your chilled glasses or bowls. Yield: 4 cups shaved ice.

This post is being linked to:
Pink Saturday, sponsored by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.

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Lime and Coconut Chicken

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I had a lovely surprise today. I, quite by chance, discovered that One Perfect Bite had been featured, along with seven other blogs, in the prestigious Food Journal News:Best of the Blogs segment. My yelp and holler nearly scared Bob to death and were admittedly undignified for a woman my age, but they were a sincere measure of my excitement and delight. Those of you who have followed my blog from its inception, know that while I'm generally modest, I occasionally succumb to what I call powder pigeon moments. This was one of them, but I recovered quickly and went on to scrub the bathroom floor. Fame is fleeting and housework is a great equalizer. Now to the real find of the day. The Journal also selects a recipe each day and today's feature looked wonderful. It was Lime and Coconut Chicken from Chaos in the Kitchen, a blog that was new to me. I linked to the blog and discovered this and other wonderful recipes. What a treat! I urge those of you who are unfamiliar with Katie's work to visit her blog. You won't be disappointed. As it happened, I had everything needed to make the dish and it became tonight's dinner. I think you will really like this chicken. Bob loved it and he isn't always easy to please. My only suggestion would be to cut back slightly on the amount of salt you use. Another afterthought regards the sauce that is used in the recipe. I would double it. Until recently, we were told that marinades could be used for saucing if they were boiled for five minutes. Apparently, the ubiquitous "they" now feel this is not sufficient to kill contaminants that might cause food poisoning. The final choice is, of course, up to you. Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Lime and Coconut Chicken
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Chaos in the Kitchen and Fine Cooking, Winter 2006

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used 1-1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
Pinch cayenne (I did not use this)
1 small fresh hot chili, such as Thai or Serrano, minced (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh limes, cut into wedges

1) Trim fat from chicken breasts. Starting on thick side of the breasts slice chicken breasts almost in half, then open each like a book. Place each open breast between two pieces of plastic wrap, wax paper or inside a large, open, Ziploc bag. Using a small heavy pan, bottle or smooth meat mallet lightly pound out each breast into even thickness.
2) Mix all remaining ingredients except fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
3) Add chicken and marinade to a large bowl or ziploc bag and chill in refrigerator for up to two hours.
4) Remove chicken from marinade. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Boil continuously for at least 2 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn.
5) In a heavy skillet or grill pan, heat a splash of oil over high heat. Cook chicken in batches to prevent over crowding in pan. Place breasts in the hot pan and cook without turning for a couple minutes. Flip breasts over and cook until other side is golden, it shouldn’t take long depending on the thickness of your chicken.
6) Place cooked breasts on a plate in a warm oven or under foil while cooking next batch.
7) Sprinkle with fresh lime juice and cilantro. Serve sauce separately. Yield: 4 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Yucatan-Style Chicken, Lime and Orzo Soup - One Perfect Bite
Tom Kah Gai - One Perfect Bite
Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary - One Perfect Bite

This recipe is being linked to:
Designs By Gollum - Foodie Friday

Old-Fashioned Applesauce Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...An egg salad sandwich began the reverie that led me to this cake. My love affair with egg salad began in elementary school, soon after the second world war ended. It wasn't something that appeared on rationed tables, so this pedestrian sandwich was a real treat once eggs again became available. During the war years, eggs were precious and saved for special occasions. Popular cakes used few or no eggs and were sweetened with small amounts of sugar extended with pureed fruit or fruit syrup. Adults, as I remember it, really enjoyed this cake. It was chock full of dried fruits and nuts and had a holiday air about it that brightened those bleak times. It's probably no surprise to learn that this cake had less appeal for children. During the war years, the cake was dusted with sugar rather than frosted, but the original recipe called for a powdered sugar icing which is delicious. As you read through the ingredient list, you'll be able to see that a cream cheese frosting would also be wonderful with this cake. Purists still make the cake with homemade applesauce but a thick commercial variety can be used by those pressed for time. I know that's most of us. These days this treat falls more into the category of snack cakes. It is very easy to make and I think you'll enjoy it. Like all cakes of this type, it is better when allowed to sit a day or two and it stays moist if well wrapped. Here's the recipe.

Old-Fashioned Applesauce Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, divided use
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/4 cups thick applesauce
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cream or milk

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
2) Combine raisins, currants and walnuts in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup flour and mix well. Set aside.
3) Beat butter in bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add sugar. When incorporated add egg and mix to combine.
4) Sift remaining 1-1/4 cup flour with baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add flour mixture to batter in 3 parts, alternating with applesauce. Stir in raisin-currant and nut mixture.
5) Spoon batter (it will be thick) into prepared springform pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Remove sides of pan.
6) While cake cools, beat butter with vanilla in bowl of an electric mixer. Slowly add sugar, beating until mealy. Add just enough cream to make icing spreadable. Spread over top and sides of cooled caked. Yield 8 to 10 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Apfel Sahne Torte - One Perfect Bite
One Bowl Gluten-Free Spice Cake
Okanagan Apple Bread - One Perfect Bite


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