Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Mashed potato casserole , cranberry sauce and cuke salad are made...I'm working on sweet potatoes as we speak...still left - dressing, pepper roasting, cheese cutting and I can't even remember what else.  Thankfully, many are bringing a dish for our Thanksgiving celebration.  Seventeen of us this year...only one missing is my brother whose work makes it almost impossible to get time off.  It will be hectic but wonderful!

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday...and as my brother always says:  DON'T MESS WITH THE COOK!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Panko Crusted Chicken with Chanterelle-Gruyere Sauce

I found these gorgeous golden trumpet like mushrooms at Costco (of all places!) for $8.99 per pound which is very reasonable for this hard to find (at least around here) exotic.  I decided to use them in a lightly cheesy cream sauce and serve the sauce over chicken.  Here's what I did:

Makes 4 servings

 For the chicken:
4 six to eight ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded a bit to even
1 cup flour
2 eggs lightly beaten with a few tablespoons water
About 2 cups panko crumbs
salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for pan frying

Begin by heating enough oil in a large skillet to come up about a half an inch.  Get the oil nice and hot while you're breading the chicken.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Set up a breading station and dredge the chicken first in the flour, then the beaten egg and last the panko.
Brown the chicken until golden and then place them in a shallow baking dish. Bake the chicken in a 350F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

For the sauce:
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
A pinch of thyme
1 pound Chanterelle mushrooms (or substitute Shitakes)cut in good size chunks
1 tsp instant flour (Wondra) plus more if needed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper 
1/4 cup dry white wine
1  1/2 to 2 cups half and half
2 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese

In a large saute pan, heat the oil and butter, add the shallots and saute until the shallots soften. Add the mushrooms and thyme and continue to saute until the mushrooms give off their liquid.  Continue to saute to let the liquid evaporate. Stir in the instant flour.
Add the salt, pepper and wine.  Simmer for about a minute.
Stir in 1  1/2 cups of the half and half, bring up to a simmer and cook to thicken the sauce. If you like a thinner sauce add that extra 1/2 cup of half and half now. Simmer until the sauce lightly coats the back of a spoon. 
Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.
Ladle a little sauce over the chicken and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kerby Update

Here he is in all his glory....all 25.6 pounds of him.  As you can see he's too big to get through the fence...he's poddy trained...he can shake hands...he will lie down for a treat.....BUT he still likes to chew and steal pillows!   But he's cute and we know he'll be a GOOD boy soon!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I'm a Finalist!!!!!!

Just found out that I'm a finalist in Whole Foods Market Cooking Contest for "Your Best Stovetop Chicken Recipe"!
Please go here to vote for "My Chicken Cacciatore" before noon tomorrow: 

Balkan Potato, Paprika and Green Bean Stew

This recipe brings many memories of my childhood...stews with lots of paprika simmering on the stove, sometimes with lamb, sometimes with pork....but always with paprika and rice or potatoes.  This stew stands alone but feel free to ladle it over braised lamb or pork for a more substantial meal.

Makes about 4 servings

2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek (white and pale green part only), diced
8 large cloves garlic, halved
2 Tbl sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
One 14.5 ounce can plum tomatoes crushed a bit with your clean hands
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 pound of fresh young green beans, trimmed and halved
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
1 Tbl minced fresh dill plus more for garnish

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot, add the diced leek and saute until softened.  Add the garlic halves, salt, pepper and paprika and continue to saute for a minute more.
Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth and green beans, bring up to a boil and then down to a slow simmer and simmer, partially covered for about 30 minutes until the green beans are soft.  Give everything a stir a couple of times while simmering.
Add the potatoes, bring back up to a simmer and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Off the heat, stir in the tablespoon of dill.  Serve in bowls, garnish with a few dill sprigs.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chicken Meatball and Broccoli Pasta Bowl

I love pasta and broccoli and when you throw in a little Italian sausage, I'm in heaven!  You've seen the quick Italian flavored turkey sausage I've made for spaghetti and meatballs and so I thought..why not use ground chicken for this one.  Use the crush red pepper sparingly if you're not a heat freak!

Make about 4 servings

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground chicken
1 to 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp granulated garlic
1  1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
1 egg
1 cup unseasoned panko crumbs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients except the oil thoroughly in a mixing bowl.  Cover and refrigerate the mixture for 2 to 4 hours.
After refrigeration roll the mixture into smallish ( 1 1/2 inch) meatballs.  Heat the oil in a very large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides in batches.  Remove the meatballs to paper toweling. Leave the drippings in the skillet.

Putting it all together:
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
10 ounces penne pasta
4 to 5 heaping cups of small fresh broccoli florets
The previously cooked meatballs
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan for garnish

Add the 2 Tbl of oil to the reserved skillet and saute the garlic and red pepper for about a minute until fragrant.
Add the meatballs and one cup of the chicken broth.  Turn off the heat while you prepare the pasta and broccoli.
Begin cooking the penne in a large pot per package instructions but add the other cup of chicken broth to the water.  The penne takes 10 to 11 minutes to cook.  At about the 8 minute mark add the broccoli florets to the cooking pasta and cook about 3 minutes more.  While the pasta is cooking start heating the meatballs in the skillet over medium heat.
Drain the pasta and broccoli, reserving a cup or two of the pasta liquid and stir the mixture into the skillet of meatballs.  Add some of the pasta liquid if needed to loosen everything up.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parmesan.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Creamy Quinoa Onion Soup

I like using vegetables and grains as soup thickeners and often use rice, potatoes and carrots to make creamy soups without cream.  This time I made a creamy onion soup using quinoa as the thickener.  It's rich, filling and satisfying...and good for you too!

Makes about 2 quarts

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl olive oil
2 medium sweet onions
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 large clove garlic
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp aleppo pepper (optional)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth (plus more if you want a thinner soup)
2 cups beef broth
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Thinly sliced green onion and crumbled bacon for garnish

Cook the quinoa per package instructions.  Normally you rinse the grain and combine it with 2 cups water, bring to a boil and then gently simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.  Set aside.
Slice the onions and leeks thinly and mince the garlic clove.  In a 4 quart soup pot melt the butter and oil and add the onions, leeks, garlic, sugar and aleppo pepper.  Gently saute until everything softens but doesn't brown.  This might take about 20 minutes.
Add the wine, chicken and beef broth and bring the soup to a boil.  Add the cooked quinoa and then simmer the soup for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, cool the soup a bit and then in batches, puree the soup until very creamy.  return the soup to a clean pot and then re warm and taste for seasoning.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with some green onion and bacon.
NOTE:  If you feel the soup is thicker than you like, thin it a bit by whisking in a little more chicken broth after pureeing.