Saturday, March 15, 2014

Junior League of Wichita Hosts 2nd Annual Kitchen Tours

On Sunday, May 4, 2014, Junior League of Wichita will host its second-annual Kitchen Tours: A Pinch of Hope, A Dash of Design. The upscale event takes place 12:30 - 4:30 p.m. at featured homes in Wichita, and will showcase designer kitchens and entertaining spaces.
Proceeds from Kitchen Tours will be used to fund Junior League of Wichita’s mission of building a better community. Currently, Junior League of Wichita’s focus is on combating child abuse through awareness, intervention and prevention. 

“Kitchen Tours 2013 was a rousing success – the homeowners graciously opened their homes, and sponsorship support was tremendous, as was attendance by the general public,” says Junior League member Patty Armstrong. “I plan to share the experience of Kitchen Tours 2014 by inviting my mother and several friends to join me for this unique event.”

Tickets are $40 and must be purchased in advance. The ticket price includes admission to the featured homes and a voucher to purchase one Junior League of Wichita cookbook for $20, tax included. 

Purchase your tickets by contacting Junior League of Wichita’s Headquarters at (316) 682-3901 during weekday business hours or order online at

Photos provided from Junior League of Wichita Kitchen Tours 2013

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chicken Florentine Salad Simplified: By Penny Madden

As promised with the goals Life Measures, we want to share with our readers and those who own a copy of our newest Junior League of Wichita Cookbook, Pinches and Dashes ways to simplify meals so one can save time and get back to things that matter to you.

I recently made the Chicken Florentine Salad with Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette (pg. 77). This is a great salad that you can experiment with given the number and variety of ingredients. Through experimentation I’ve discovered ways to simplify, save time and save money in the process.

The ingredients include:
2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
10 ounces baby spinach leaves
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup grape tomatoes
½ cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup sliced black olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup orzo
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

The dressing:
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Depending on your taste you could easily leave out one or two ingredients. For me, I am not a big fan of capers or cheese (but I still put the cheese in when serving to others since I am an odd ball that does not like cheese). In fact, this is also one of those great salads where you have most of the ingredients already and if you happen to be missing one or two you could still make a very tasty salad!

Instead of baking the chicken, purchase a precooked roasted chicken from your local grocery store. Better yet, the price of the precooked chicken is really comparable to an uncooked chicken. So, you are saving time without spending any more money.

Another shortcut is to use already minced garlic. Because my husband can consume garlic by the spoonfuls I keep a big jar of it on hand.

Money Saver
If you wanted to save a few dollars when making this salad you could substitute the pine nuts for shelled sunflower seeds. I’ve seen other recipes where sunflower nuts were used as an alternative to pine nuts.  And, due to sunflower seeds costing considerably less than pine nuts this will save you a few dollars on this meal too.

I would recommend making this salad as stated in the recipe first because then you can appreciate any experimentation that you may do after a successful trial run.

I am excited to make this salad again and experiment with the vinaigrette. I really like foods with a lemon taste and I may add some extra lemon or play around with making a sweeter lemon vinaigrette.

Photos by: Penny Madden

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Give a Gift that Keeps on Giving

This is the season where we spend lots of time trying to think of perfect gifts for our friends and families. We hope to find gifts that will be used and enjoyed rather than things that will collect dust, get re-gifted, or end up in a spring garage sale. And, of course, there are also cost considerations. What if you could find a gift that keeps on giving, one that brings families together, one that helps create memories? Look no further than the Junior League of Wichita Cookbooks. Sunflower Sampler is available for less than $20 and the League’s newest cookbook, Pinches & Dashes, can be had for less than $30.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Decor for 2013 :: Penny Madden

While I am a creative person, I sometimes need help in the decorating department and with this year’s holiday season it has crept up on us and is approaching so quickly that I have not even had time to yet finish decorating the house … good thing the advent season technically goes past the first of the year. The Junior League of Wichita asked our home décor stores that support our events for this year’s holiday trends for your homes and table designs for holiday entertaining. Here’s what Ferguson Phillips located at the corner of Douglas and Oliver in Wichita had to say.

Make entertaining this season festive and fun from décor to food as this season only comes once a year!

In preparation of this blog all of our retail supporters were asked to participate in this piece as the Junior League of Wichita has many businesses that support the work we do and we would like to give thanks for all of their generosity.

Photos provided by: Ferguson Phillips

Monday, December 2, 2013

Warm Up with A Spicy Indian Meal :: by Tara Czepiel

Junior League of Wichita supports diversity in the League through encouraging diversity amongst our members and embracing all cultures and nationalities. Our cookbooks have a long history of including recipes for foods from different cultures and introducing your family to foods from other parts of the world is a great way to experience something new! It is always fun to try new recipes that use spices that may not currently be in our repertoire. For example, Indian Food uses curry powder, garam masala, and tumeric which adds richness and a savory taste to those dishes. I love cooking and experimenting with food and love to do that with friends. The recipes I am featuring today are shared with love by the Davidson family. For our Indian cooking day my friend, Sheona Davidson and I decided to take two different approaches.

We decided to tackle one slow cooked meal (Beef Boohna) and one fast and easy meal (Chicken Vindaloo). The Beef Boohna is served with Naan bread and the Vindaloo is served over coconut milk and cilantro rice.

Both serve between 4-6 adults depending on portion size. Recipes are as followed:

Beef Boohna
Season the pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil then add one chopped onion and 1 teaspoon cumin seed. Sauté until it's a golden brown.

Then add two seeded chopped jalapeños to the skillet and one teaspoon each of garlic and ginger. Then add one pound of lean stew meat and 1 teaspoon each of the following: garam masala, table salt and turmeric. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Finally add one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and 1 cup of diced tomatoes with liquid and let it simmer for 2 hours until beef is tender. Serve with Naan bread or basmati or jasmine rice.

Chicken Vindaloo

The first step is to cook the rice. Make sure to cook enough to serve a family of four and follow the directions on the box, except instead of boiling the rice in just water, you will use coconut milk. For four servings of rice, use 1 can of coconut milk (13.5 oz) and one can of water. Watch the rice carefully and bring it to a boil and then simmer until all liquid is absorbed. Then cut up 1/2 cup cilantro and add to rice and cover.

For the Vindaloo, cut up 1 whole deli chicken removing skin. Put in a large saucepan.

Then add 8oz. of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chili Paste to chicken and 1/2 (5oz. total) of a jar of Patak's Original Hot Concentrated Curry Paste. Add 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (I used frozen peas and carrots but whatever they have on hand is fine) and 2 teaspoons of seeded chopped jalapeños. Heat on stove until warm and serve over rice.

I found all the ingredients to both of these recipes at Dillon’s (Kroger Store).

The food was fantastic! The Vindaloo had the right amount of spices and the coconut milk rice balanced out the heat. The Beef Boohna was very rich and filling. I was not hungry the rest of the day.

I personally love Indian food. The first time I had it was in London. With its large Indian population, they have many restaurants to choose from. I like the mixtures of sweet and savory and cool and spicy. Vindaloo is my all time favorite Indian dish but Beef Boohna is a close second. 

Looking to round out the menu? A great side dish options for these Indian dishes are Eggplant Couscous Salad found in the Junior League of Wichita Cookbook Pinches and Dashes (pg. 186) or the Lemon Rice (pg. 187). And, if you have room for dessert, try the Sticky Date Cake with Butterscotch Sauce (pg. 163)

Let us know what your favorite Indian dishes are and any tips you might have on preparation.

Ingredients for Beef Boohna
2 tbls. olive oil
1 onion
1 tsp. cumin seed
2 jalapeños
1 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. ginger
1 lb. lean stew meat
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup dice tomatoes

Ingredients for Chicken Vindaloo

Instant rice
13.5oz coconut milk
½ cup cilantro
1 whole deli chicken
8 oz. tomato paste
1 tsp Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chili Paste
5oz. jar of Patak's Original Hot Concentrated Curry Paste
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 tsp of seeded chopped jalapeños

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Shortcut For A Fall Favorite - The Fruit Crisp :: Brady Fritz

One of the goals of the blog this year is to introduce our readers to shortcuts and substitutions for Pinches & Dashes recipes that you can put into action in your own kitchen. Today's posting has both – a substitution possibility AND a shortcut. Because we just can’t help ourselves.

Given the fresh produce at this time of year, I’m constantly craving fruit crisp of any type. Whether peach, apple, blueberry, pear, rhubarb, or any other remotely fruit concoction you can come up with, I’m craving the salty crunch of crisp topping melding with the sweet, creamy, cinnamon goodness of baked fruit underneath. It just doesn’t get any better.

And besides, in my world eating any type of fruit negates the ½ of a bag of licorice that I probably ate for breakfast on any given day. It’s the little stuff that counts.

The Shortcut
Growing up, making fruit crisp of any type was an ordeal. It required blending dry ingredients and butter with a pastry cutter or by hand for what seemed like an eternity, always seeking a certain consistency that took way more long to achieve than my attention span allowed. A few months ago, a chef friend of mine introduced me to a shortcut that BREAKS.ALL.THE.RULES.

Grab your copy of the Junior League of Wichita’s Pinches & Dashes and locate the recipe for Cranberry Apple Crisp on page 153. The ingredients you’ll need are as follows:

Cranberry Apple Crisp

  • 3 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apples
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup butter, melted

For this post, our shortcut focuses on the topping only. So, pull out everything mentioned above EXCEPT the granulated sugar, cranberries, and apples. Start by pulling out your ingredients for the crisp topping; however, don’t melt the butter just yet.

Then pull out your mixer. (Already, this feels like cheating.) Using cold butter (not melted and not softened but straight from the fridge cold), simply mix all of your ingredients in the mixer.

Once all ingredients are incorporated, you’ll have dough that looks almost like the beginning stages of cookie dough. However, you will clearly note that there are large chunks and you are nowhere near the pea sized pieces your grandma told you were necessary to a good fruit crisp.

And, because you aren’t through with being a rebel, throw the mixture into an air tight container in the fridge.

The mixture will keep in the fridge for several weeks until you need it and you can pull it out when you are in a pinch and need a fabulous dessert ASAP. 

Simply pinch off smaller pieces from the dough to cover the top of your fruit and turn it into fabulous fruit crisp. You’ll notice that you have larger, gorgeous pieces of crisp topping ... which when baked, turn into BAKERY STYLE topping. Suddenly, your lazy day shortcut makes you look like a rock star baker; because you’re that good.

And that’s the magic.

The Substitution
I’m in love with Colorado peaches and probably will be until I leave this world. Sweet, juicy peaches can be incredible. Likewise, tart, crisp apples fresh off of the tree set my heart aflutter. I’m always convinced that I’m a way healthier more healthy person than I am when I eat an apple.

We love that the Pinches & Dashes recipe calls for cranberries and apples. But if you decide not to make this when you’re craving cranberries (ahem….for me that means the temperature has dropped enough where I’m seriously thinking about wearing socks everyday, especially this week), consider doing an apple or peach option in lieu of the apple cranberry combination. You’ll need to adjust the sugar and add other spices to taste (most likely cinnamon and a little bit of lemon juice). Experiment and be bold – fruit crisp can be both a nostalgic and trendy dessert at the same time!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cooking Salmon and Kale Salad with Mitzi Beach :: Penny Madden

Junior League of Wichita members, Laura Gerber (active), and Mitzi Beach (sustainer) together cooked two recipes in newest Junior League of Wichita cookbook, Pinces & Dashes

They selected recipes that were quick, healthy, and of course delicious. They started with the Seared Salmon with Horseradish & Green Onions on page 101. And, they served it with  Chopped Kale Salad with Currants & Pine Nuts on page 65. 

Correction from the video: Pinches and Dashes is not currently available on Amazon but it can be purchased

Ingredients for Seared Salmon
Mitzi and Laura prepared the salmon according to the recipe with the exception of these minor substitutions.

For those that are not fans of horseradish they substituted it for a blend of horseradish and mustard to please more palates.

To keep the salmon from drying out they removed the skin after they fully cooked the salmon.

According to Mitzi, when baking in 375 degree oven, thickness of filets really matters and she only cooks salmon for 5 minutes, then lets it rest for about 5 minutes while she finishes setting out their meal. This allows salmon to finish cooking without drying out. And, she emphasizes there is no going back on overcooked seafood!

Chopped Kale Salad with Currants & Pine Nuts

Ingredients for Chopped Kale Salad

This recipe was followed exactly except for using cran-raisens for currants which is a good substitute if you cannot find currants in the store.
To make the meal a cold weather dish or to add more substance to those wanting more than a vegetable and a protein,
Mitzi suggested adding wild rice cooked with reduced sodium canned chicken broth to the prepared in advance, kale salad. Mitzi claims this is really yummy heated up later or next day so this is a salad that can be made ahead of time.
Also, adding cooked chicken for another full meal, she says, is a slam dunk for busy cooks!
Completed meal. Mangé!
Photos provided from Mitzi Beach