Chicken Skewers with Walnut Pesto

 

A few weeks ago I went to an event with my sisters and co-workers.  It was a nice relaxing night with my girls and a glass, or two, of wine…my kind of night!  The only thing that made it better was the delicious food.  Nadia G. from the show “Bitchin’ Kitchen” on the Cooking Channel was there to promote her new cookbook “Cookin’ for Trouble”.

Nadia did a demo of some of her new recipes but the one the impressed me most was her Chicken Skewers with Walnut Pesto.  Such a simple recipe that packs a ton of flavor.  I didn’t want to seem greedy but…whatever these skewers are awesome and you should make them now.

Normally pesto is made with pine nuts  and olive oil but this recipe calls for walnuts and walnut oil.  It gives the pesto a more mellow flavor in my opinion but I think I’ll try a more traditional pesto next time.  Before this event I’d only seen Bitchin Kitchen a few times. I’m more of a Barefoot Contessa on a Saturday morning kind of girl.  But after trying some of the recipes in her new cookbook I am officially a fan of Nadia G.

Ingredients

For Pesto:

2 cups of basil, packed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper

For Chicken skewers:

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cubed
12 cherry tomatoes
9 pearl onions, cut in half
Sea salt
Garlic powder
Freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

Making the pesto: In the processor, pulse basil, walnuts, garlic, and walnut oil until combined. Add Parmesan and olive oil, and pulse again.  Season with sea salt to taste.

Making the chicken skewers: Soak the wooden skewers in water for 1 hour. Onto each skewer, alternately thread chicken, cherry tomatoes and onions; repeat until skewer is full.

Brush the prepared skewers with olive oil, and season with garlic powder sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Grill for around 5 minutes, turning regularly, until cooked. Slather with walnut pesto.

 ♥ Nina

Recipe adapted from Windy City Live with Nadia G.

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Late Night Baking Party – Cheddar Chive Cornbread

The first Late Night Baking Party on Nina’s Cooking Journey was a huge success!  There were submissions from several bloggers and NCJ Peeps and I cannot thank you all enough for joining me in this weird experiment of mine.  All the recipes looked amazing and I can’t wait to try some of them myself.  I even Ustreamed during the party and got to know some of you all a little better and hopefully you got to know me.  I will definitely be hosting another party so if you have any ideas for a fun virtual party please let me know!  I wasn’t able to share all of the posts but here are some of the recipes from some of my favorite blogger friends.  Feel free to check out a few more posts from NCJ Peeps on my Facebook Page.  A big thanks to you all…you rock!

 

Banana Pumpkin Nutella Bread from Christine’s Kitchen Chronicles

 

Old Fashioned Apple Crisp with Caramel Sauce from Noshing with the Nolads

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes from Tortillas and Honey

 

Maple Bacon Busciuts from Dixie Chik Cooks

 

Chickpea Chocolate Cupcakes from I Breath…I’m Hungry


Apple Spice Cake from Cooking with Elise

 

And finally, my contribution Cheddar Chive Cornbread.  My mom makes THE BEST cornbread from scratch and usually doesn’t deviate from her recipe.  So I was extremely surprised when she put this on the dinner table one night.  I thought it would be perfect with the Spicy Chili I made the other week and I was right.  It adds a Tex-Mex feel to a traditional southern dish.

 Ingredients

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 3 tbsp yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1¼ cups buttermilk
¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks), melted over low heat and set aside
½ cup sliced scallions (about ¼ inch wide)
4 oz. sharp yellow cheddar, shredded (use more if you prefer)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Using a separate medium-size bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.   Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, whisking well to combine.  Add melted butter to the batter, stirring slowly to incorporate.  Finish by folding in chopped scallions and cheddar cheese.

Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter and then pour in batter.  Bake until edges are a little crispy and top is golden brown, about 60 minutes.

Remove from oven and place skillet on a cooling rack.  The cast iron retains its heat and will continue to cook the cornbread.  Let cool a bit before serving to allow the cornbread to set.

Recipe adapted from Garden & Gun

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Visit to the Farmer’s Market

One of the great things about working in downtown Chicago is the access to all the wonderful restaurants and eclectic people.  So no one could have been more surprised than me to walk out of my building for lunch and find a farmer’s market set up right in the middle of Daley Plaza!  I was so excited that I forgot to eat lunch and instead went on a shopping spree that left me on a foodie high.  I got such a rush when I saw all of the fresh produce and food that I felt like a geek but hey, it’s the small things that make me happy 🙂  The only thing that stopped me, luckily, was my inability to carry any more bags.

Of course I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without taking a few pics!  I actually took these with my cell phone but they came out pretty good don’t you think?

A few people gave me weird looks when I got on my knees and started arranging fruits and vegetables so I could take a picture.  This nice lady was actually in line to buy tomatoes and she kindly stepped back while I took my photos, lol.  I didn’t know how to explain what I was doing so I just said thank you and moved on.

Aside from all of the fresh food, I was in awe of the beautiful colors.  Literally a rainbow of food, I hope I captured it adequately for you.

It’s almost the end of the summer so if there’s a farmer’s market near you make sure you visit and take advantage of the fresh produce that will only be in season for a little while longer.

 Stay tuned for part 2 of my visit to the farmer’s market.  I think they’re in town until October so watch out, here I come (with my DSLR camera this time)!

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