Lisa Thompson is known throughout her community as a great cook. She and her husband, Brett, have two daughters in college and live at Lake Winnebago.
Q: Tell us about lake living.
A: Lake Winnebago is a fun, friendly community, and I enjoy being involved. I serve on the Yacht Club Board and now, for the third year, I am organizing our neighborhood poker run.
While we lived in nearby Lee’s Summit for over 25 years, we moved to the lake about four years ago and I enjoy the many neighborhood events and get-togethers.
Q: When did you realize you enjoy cooking?
A: When I was in college, I was too busy to care about cooking. Then I met Brett, and he came to dinner often. He was impressed by my dinners so much, he married me. Cooking was the way to his heart.
I have always had an innate sense of flavors and knew what would work well together. I create my own recipes, except for baking.
Q: What foods do you enjoy cooking and what tips can you share that make cooking easier and tastier?
A: I love to bake bread and often make comfort food. In the winter, I enjoy making chicken noodle soup and turkey noodle soup after Thanksgiving. I am also known for my delicious turkey roll-up sandwiches.
I grocery shop once a week but I buy extra because you never know what occasions will pop up or who will stop by. I keep naan bread on hand because you can use them for a great Philly steak or meatball sandwich. The tapenade is versatile and is great on these sandwiches, as a dip with fresh veggies or chips, as a spread on toasted baguette slices or as a pasta sauce if thinned with a little olive oil and cream.
I experiment with where to purchase the best ingredients. I purchase seasonings, especially the blackening seasoning and others my husband uses when smoking meats at Planters in the River Market area.
Q: Is there a story about the beautiful blue cookware you use?
A: I collect blue Le Creuset cookware, which are heavy cast iron pieces coated with bright colored porcelain. Others may ask for gifts of jewelry or clothes, but I ask for more Le Creuset.
I care about how the food looks and enjoy making beautiful tablescapes. For these naan sandwiches I wanted a pretty presentation, so I purchased brackets at the hardware store and taped them together to make a frame to hold the sandwiches. Once covered with a pretty cloth no one knows they are brackets and the sandwiches look pretty.
Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published 11 cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d'Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com. Email them at KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com.
Blackened Chicken Naan Sandwiches with Spinach Basil Tapenade
Makes 4 servings
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon blackening seasoning
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
1 medium sweet onion, sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced into rings
4 naan flatbreads (each about 8 1/2 by 7 inches)
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Italian blend cheese
Sliced or diced tomatoes
Spinach basil tapenade (recipe follows)
Sliced vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers and/or red bell peppers
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large, heavy skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the blackening seasoning. Add the chicken and stir to coat the chicken evenly with the seasoning. Add the mushrooms, onions and jalapeno peppers. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are tender. Set aside.
While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, heat a griddle or another skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave oven on high (100 percent) power for 30 seconds or until melted; stir in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Brush the flatbreads with the butter-oil mixture and place on the hot griddle. Cook until the naan breads are hot and toasted on the bottom.
Place the naans on a baking sheet. Top each piece with the cooked chicken and vegetables. Cover with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Top each with lettuce, tomatoes and tapenade. Fold naan bread over to make a sandwich. Accompany with sliced fresh vegetables.
Spinach Basil Tapenade
Makes about 2 cups
4 cups fresh spinach leaves, trimmed
1 cup fresh basil leaves, trimmed
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, trimmed
3 cloves garlic
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup pitted ripe (black) olives, drained
1/2 cup pitted green olives, drained
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 teaspoon black pepper
Juice from one lemon
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and well blended.
Tip: Instead of just spooning the tapenade on the sandwiches, put a decorative piping tip on a zip-top food bag and use it to pipe the tapenade on each serving. Serve leftover tapenade as a dip with vegetables or chips.