Friday, January 29, 2010

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Tera Pepper

“One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”  
~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

Today's Friday, Feasting with Friends is with my dear friend Tera Pepper.  She is sweet and kind and has the most beautiful new baby Blake- although he is growing up way too quickly.  The two of us met in College but didn't really become close friends until later.  Thank goodness for the internet and telephone because that has helped our friendship grow and grow.  You see, unfortunately her husband's job took her far away from me (all the way too Michigan... I know, I know.  It isn't that far.  But far enough that I can't run over to her house on a moments notice!)   But fortunately distance hasn't stood in the way and if anything it has actually brought us closer.  Tera has a true servant's heart and just being in her presence makes you full of joy.  She just has that way about her.  I feel lucky to have her as my friend.
Tera Pepper
Tera and I when she came to visit me this winter.
I got to meet Baby Blake for the first time.  What a handsome little guy!

What is your favorite thing to cook?
Italian dishes...Homemade Pizza's because I can personalize them with specific toppings.

How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Baking! I am horrible..I still can't crack an egg correctly...

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
Well, when I lived in California, it was a place called "The Elephant Bar" nothing tops that place yet...It was a Global Grill/Wok kitchen. I would like to try more authentic dishes/restaurants...

You are hosting a dinner party, what are your Top 5 songs you would play during dinner? Anything by Ben Folds, Nora Jones, Enya, calm(er) music...

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
mmmm anything cheesy...stick to your bones meals like casseroles and the like.

What are you currently reading?
The Power of a Praying Parent; Top 100 Baby Food Purees! MomSense and Parents Magazine.

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
My Kitchen Aid Mixer!!!!

Do you have a signature go-to dish?
Can't go wrong with Chicken and

You recently moved from Cleveland to Michigan. What is the biggest thing you miss about Cleveland? And what is your favorite thing about where you live now?
I SOOOOO miss the Panini sandwiches downtown at Paninis! There are a lot of places to eat in owned ma and pop places, which I like...

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you still cook it at home?
My Mom worked a lot, but when she was home she cooked like you wouldn't believe. She makes the best Speghetti, Pot Roasts, Chili...I still can't top my Mom's Pot Roast, but with the help of my good old Crock Pot anything goes!!!

Top 3 Movies of all time?
Oh! So the top of my head is, "The Bronx Tale", "The Notebook" "Steal Magnolias"

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Now that I am a Mom,I try to save $$$$ so Aldi is a great store for all of your pantry staples like cooking spray, flour, sugar, etc. Also, kroger and Meijer.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
again....anything cheeeeeeezy...mostly pizza

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
Of Course! Baking Baking Baking! I would like to make more cupcakes/cakes from scratch...

What is your favorite Cookbook?
My go to cookbook is the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It was my first cookbook and I love all the alternative suggestions in it. (i.e. using this if you don't have that) Plus, It has a handy guide for measurements

"When I was pregnant with Jena, I had a subsription to Rachel Ray "EVERYDAY LIVVING". I love soups and stews, so I tried this.... It is sooooo good! And one of my favorites! It is also easy to prepare!"

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon coriander
1/2 tablespoon cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 16-ounce jar good quality roasted tomatillo salsa (such as Desert Pepper Trading Company or Frontera brand)
2 quarts chicken stock
1 28-ounce can hominy, drained and rinsed
1 13.5-ounce bag of yellow or white corn tortilla chips
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat removed from the bones and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
3/4 cup sour cream, for garnish
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Place a large pot over medium heat, add Olive Oil. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeño, and season with salt, corriander and cumin and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the tomatillo salsa, chicken stock & hominy beans to the pot and bring to a bubble.

While the mixture is coming to a bubble, place the tortilla chips (reserving a handful for garnish) in a food processor and pulse to grind, or in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or empty wine bottle. You should have about 2 cups of ground chips. Add the ground chips to the mixture and cook for 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, add the chopped chicken to the pot along with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cilantro and the lime juice, and cook 2-3 more minutes, until the chicken is heated through. To serve, ladle the tortilla chicken stew into a bowl and garnish with some of the reserved tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream and some cheddar cheese.

Thank you so much Tera for taking the time to do my little interview and for this awesome sounding recipe!  I think it will be on my menu for the weekend.  It is supposed to be a cold one, so it will be a great time for a stew with a kick!  I will let you know how it goes.   Also, thanks again for all of your support.  You are such a wonderful friend.  Love you honey!

Stay tuned for next  Friday's segment of Fridays, Feasting with Friends to hear from my wonderful cousin, Kathleen Jordan!


  1. Tera, don't be afraid to bake. Just do exactly as the directions say. Baking is precise. Besides that's what husbands are for, to try our experiments! If it doesn't turn out, try it again. Judy

  2. Judy! Thanks for the comments...Yes, you are right...the hubby's are the perfect guinea pigs...I just think my issue is patience...I get so excited from the beginning...I crack the eggs too fast and you know what that means...egg shells in the mix...then I peak in the oven every five minutes, lol,then I frost way too soon...I think I should start with something simple like brownies, and maybe add walnuts...then I will graduate to things like, Amie's Apple thanks for the positive words...Tera

  3. Tera, You must share your homemade pizza recipe sometime. That is the one thing I have tried to make at home and I just cannot get it right. My husband and I did master grilling pizza on our gas grill -- but I still want to learn how to make the real deal at home.

  4. Kathleen, it is so easy and CHEAP...Once you get the dough made, it's even eassier b/c you decide what ou want to top it with...I make mini pizas all the time. I will postthe recipe....Hey, that's awesome, to grill up Pizza. I will have to try that one...



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