I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Chicken. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicken. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Matzo Ball Soup

I feel so lucky to live in such a well-traveled location. New York City is so often on peoples' lists of places to travel that we get friends passing through frequently. Last week I was fortunate enough to have one of my closest and oldest friends in town for the week.

We've known each other since grade school, but somewhere around middle school really discovered the depths of our friendship. I think I'd never met anyone so much like me in so many ways, yet different enough to keep things interesting. She challenged me to learn more and explore new things, introduced me to many great people, and always made my day brighter when I heard her (very loud) infectious laugh. We became close through photography camp, trips to the State Fair, driving around (and getting lost), and by skipping out on classes--not to do anything bad, but to go for a walk around the track and talk about our problems. She is that friend that, no matter how much time has passed, will never feel awkward or changed in ways we can't overcome. My lifetime companion, no matter how many miles separate us--and right now there are many.

When Kendra was planning this trip we knew we wanted to eat a lot--especially those things that she can't get in her current home in Mexico. Most notably this was Asian cuisine: ramen, Korean fried chicken, dumplings. But Kendra also had a request to try a New York deli classic: Matzo Ball Soup. I thought about the different places we could go to get it (which were multiplied by the fact that it was Passover) and then decided the best thing to do would be to make it at home. It would give us a chance to cook together, catch up, and have a relaxing evening in (plus save a bit of money in the process).

I'm not sure quite how traditional this version is, but turned out well enough that I look forward to having it again (which I can soon thanks to some frozen leftovers), hopefully shared once again with an old friend.

Matzo Ball Soup
serves about 4

2 large full chicken chicken legs (including thighs), skin on
salt and pepper
2-3 TB cooking oil
1 onion, quartered
6 small carrots, divided and washed
6 stalks of celery, divided and washed
2 large parsnips, washed
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 package matzo ball mix (should make 9-12 balls)

Sprinkle the full chicken legs with salt and pepper. In a large soup pan/stock pot heat the cooking oil over medium high heat. Once hot add the chicken and sear until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes or so per side. Remove the chicken to a plate and pour the cooking oil and accumulated fat from the pan into a small heat-proof bowl.
Return the pot to the stove and turn the heat to medium. Add the onion, 3 of the carrots, 3 stalks of celery, the parsnips, garlic, thyme and bay leaf to the pan along with the chicken and any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Pour in about 10-12 cups of water. Sprinkle in about 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. Bring the whole mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 1- 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken meat is falling off the bone.
Meanwhile, chop the remaining 3 carrots and 3 celery stalks into 1/2" cubes. Make the matzo balls according to the directions on the package, but substitute the chicken cooking oil/fat for any oil called for in the recipe.
Once the chicken has become extra tender, remove to a platter and then strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the liquids and discarding the solids. Return the broth back to the large soup pot.
Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and shred the meat. Add the meat back to the broth and return to a boil. Add in the matzo balls and the chopped carrots and celery. Cook for about 20 minutes until the matzo balls are ready and the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve hot.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chicken Piccata

There are days when I question what I was thinking when I decided to get a degree in Theater in college. I had gone in undecided, with plans of dabbling in plays and such in between whatever degree I ended up going towards, but quickly fell in with the theater kids and decided there would be no other life for me. I spent the next four years in classes wearing masks, coloring costumes, building puppets out of baby doll heads. It was fun, but was it really going to help me get a job in "the real world"?

When I stop to think about it, I know it has and will continue to do so. It made me creative, helped me to learn to think quickly on my feet, opened my mind to the endless possibilities of each option I happen to come across. It taught me to overcome the fears and put myself out there, willing to fail and fall, with all hope of succeeding. I think anyone looking at the "BA in Theater" on my resume may not be ready to jump right away at the opportunity, but I know that all of these little skills add up to someone ready to do anything and do it well.

As an added bonus the artistic degree has left me surrounded by creative, driven, fascinating people. People who can tell a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, make you laugh with a perfectly timed raised eyebrow, discuss at length the shoe choice of a character and what it means about who they are and how they move. These people keep me inspired on a daily basis and keep me driven to work hard at whatever it is I want to do--even though I've left the theater world mostly behind me. How lucky to get to spend my life around people who make every day interesting.

And for all of you reading, I bring you a simple recipe for this weeknight because I know you want to be able to spend the extra time you aren't in the kitchen around those people who inspire you.

Chicken Piccata
serves 2
6 boneless chicken thigh fillets
2 TB olive oil
1 c. dry white wine or dry vermouth (such as Dolin)
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 TB capers, drained and rinsed
2 TB butter
2 TB parsley, chopped

Lay the chicken fillets out on a cutting board and use a meat mallet or a rolling pin to pound them down to an even thickness, about 1/2". Then sprinkle them all over with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once it is hot add the chicken in a single layer (you may have to work in 2 batches). Sear the chicken about 3-4 minutes on each side, until it is browned and cooked all the way through. Then remove the chicken to a platter.
Add the white wine or vermouth to the pan and scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let the wine boil down to about half a cup. Then add in the lemon juice and capers and cook for another minute. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Then add the parsley and return the chicken and any juices that have accumulated on the plate back to the pan. Flip the chicken once or twice to coat with the sauce and return once again to the platter and pour the sauce over top to serve.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chicken Ranch Lettuce Wraps

Last Saturday night at work the bass was thumping and the din of conversation from patrons was at a level much louder than a roar. Guests were packed in around the bar, around the host stand, and tables were not turning fast enough to get reservations down on time. It was a night of constant movement, endless trips up and down the stairs to and from the kitchen and never really being caught up. As I came home to my still apartment at 2:30am, my ears still throbbed and my body pulsed from the residual energy of the night. I crawled into bed feeling my feet and joints aching.

Sunday night rolled around and it was a dinner for 4 with the husband and another couple. A trip to the Upper East Side for shabu shabu and multiple carafes of sake. After a couple of hours of good conversation we made our way back onto the subway for the late-night ride home.

Monday was another dinner out with friends, this time Korean barbeque. Dish after dish was brought to the table along with cocktails and wine. The view from the 39th floor in this Koreatown joint was breathtaking. As often happens with this group of friends, our conversations around the table grill lasted hours, meaning yet another late night (though so worth it).

By the time Tuesday rolled around I was ready for nothing more than a simple evening in, with simple food that would be light and healthy. Lettuce wraps seemed just the thing. Brown rice for the base to add a little heft, chicken breast, and lots of veggies. For a sauce a homemade ranch made with yogurt inspired by Not Without Salt. And since I knew the husband had just had a long day at work I added on Honey Buttermilk Biscuits from Saveur as a treat. Though they probably don't fit the "good for you" category, they are one of the best things I've made in recent history (and I've made a lot of great food lately). I devoured the leftovers for breakfasts and lunches because I couldn't get enough. I guarantee you won't be disappointed with them. You should know they make a MASSIVE biscuit when prepared exactly as the recipe calls for, though when paired up with something as light and healthy as these lettuce wraps you won't feel quite so bad about eating a whole one (or two).

Chicken Ranch Lettuce Wraps 
makes about 8 wraps/4 servings

2 large chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. cooked brown rice
2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) chopped tomatoes (or fresh chopped tomatoes if they are in season)
8 large butter lettuce leaves
ranch dressing (recipe below)

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and then cook the chicken breasts until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly, then shred using 2 forks.

Mix together the shredded chicken, brown rice, carrots, cucumber and tomatoes. Spread onto the lettuce leaves and top with a dollop of ranch dressing. Roll up and serve immediately.

Ranch Dressing
(adapted from Not Without Salt)
3/4 c. Greek yogurt
3/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 TB fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 c. milk

Mix together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Add more milk if necessary to make a thinner dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Best 'Sunday Dinner Chicken'

Every cook should have a good roast chicken in their repertoire. It is a dish that is simple yet elegant. Impressive and always delicious. It is the ideal Sunday Dinner dish.

This is my go-to version that I have slowly perfected over the years. The butter mixed with shallots, lemon zest, garlic and herbs gives a ton of flavor without having to pre-brine the bird. Since it is rubbed under and on top of the skin it keeps the breast meat super moist and crisps up the skin perfectly. In fact, the skin on this bird is so good that I would eat that alone as a whole meal if I could.

You can easily switch up the herbs used in the compound butter, but I really prefer rosemary with my chickens. It is uber-fragrant and pairs nicely with the lemon.

A little secret about the bird in the picture below: I purchased it at the greenmarket from a stall I haven't bought chickens from in a long time. The legs were already bound by the flap of skin at the back end, so I didn't even think to check the cavity for "the extras" that sometimes come in poultry. I cooked it and pulled it out when it was perfectly browned and tender, let it rest for a few minutes, then started to carve it. As I got to the part of the breast meat nearest the center, it was still raw. Damn. Figured out why when I finally checked the cavity to find the neck, livers and gizzards. So out they came and back into the oven the chicken went. Not exactly the setback you need when your mouth is watering over the scent and sight of such a lovely bird. So don't forget to check the cavity of your chicken first before beginning!

The Best 'Sunday Dinner Chicken'
4 servings

1-- 3.5 lb. whole chicken
4 TB butter, at room temperature
1 TB chopped shallots
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 t. chopped rosemary
1 t. chopped thyme
zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon, sliced
seasoned salt
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
Mix together the butter, shallots, garlic, rosemary, thyme and lemon zest. 
Using your fingers, separate the skin from the breast of the chicken. Rub some of the butter mixture underneath the skin. Then rub the rest of the butter mixture all over the outside of the chicken. Put the lemon slices inside the cavity (making sure to clean out any neck/livers/gizzards that are in the cavity first). If I have a bit of leftover shallot I like to toss this into the cavity as well.
Sprinkle a good amount of seasoned salt all over the chicken. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the chicken into a baking dish and put into the preheated oven.
Cook until the juices on the chicken run clear and a thermometer inserted in the thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chicken Spiedini

Joe and I are packing up to visit Kansas tomorrow. We will be home for the wedding of one of my college roommates, visiting some babies (one of them better decide to make an appearance. Come on Penny!! "Aunt" Sarah wants to meet you before I have to come back to NYC!), and spending time with family and friends. And eating really hearty, meaty, midwestern meals. I'm particularly looking forward to lunch at my grandma's with my mom's side of the family--we always eat really, really well there.

I'm posting this recipe because it takes me home. Chicken Spiedini isn't really something you see on the menu around NYC, but it is all over the place on certain Italian chain restaurants (and at a particular restaurant where I used to work overlooking the large fountain on the Plaza). Perhaps it's not very authentic, but it always, always tastes good. How can it not with crispy breadcrumbs, Parmesan and lots of lemon? I especially love it served over a lemony pasta tart with capers.

My version isn't technically spiedini, as it isn't on skewers, but it is made in the style of spiedinis I have loved so will continue to call it so. You could do it on the skewers if you so choose, but then you won't get the crispy edges all the way around the chicken.

Chicken Spiedini
3-4 servings

For Chicken: 
1 lb. cubed chicken breast (1 1/2" cubes)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
2 t. lemon zest
1 TB chopped parsley
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
cooking oil

For Pasta:
9 oz. spaghetti
6 TB butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 c. capers
2 TB chopped parsley
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
extra lemon wedges for serving, optional

In a small bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper for the chicken. Dip the chicken pieces into the beaten eggs then roll in the breadcrumb mixture and set aside until all the chicken has been coated.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta as directed. Be sure to save back at least 1/2 c. of the pasta cooking water before straining.
Heat 1/2" of cooking oil in a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium heat. (You don't want the heat to go too high or you will burn the breadcrumbs before cooking the chicken). Once hot add the chicken and cook until crispy on the outside all around and cooked through, working in batches if necessary to keep from crowding the chicken in the pan. Remove the cooked chicken to a paper towel covered plate.

After the chicken is finished and the pasta is cooked, finish the pasta. Add the butter and garlic to a pan (perhaps the pan you cooked the pasta in initially) and cook over medium until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant. Add the pasta and toss, then add 3 TB of the pasta cooking water and toss some more. Turn off the heat and then add the lemon juice and the capers to the pasta and toss some more. If the "sauce" seems too thin add another tablespoon or two of pasta cooking water. Then toss in the lemon zest, parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Serve the pasta piled on a plate topped with the crispy chicken with extra lemon wedges on the side if you want even more bright acidity.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I know by far I'm not the first blogger to say this lately, but this weather we've been having is crazy! We'll get a couple of gorgeous days, perfect for long walks or even for a little park lounging, followed by days of rain, cold and grey. Those few moments of sun are just a tease. I long for the days of fresh produce at the farmer's markets and needing only one layer of clothing to be comfortable. Yet the chill lingers on.

For these days in between seasons I offer this chicken and wild rice soup. Comforting and hearty to confront the cool air, with lots of veggies and a hint of lemon to remind you that the warmth (and spring produce) is right around the corner. It's a huge portion for two people because this dreariness makes me feel unmotivated to do much, meaning leftovers are a big plus. This recipe can easily be modified with any extra vegetables or grains or meats (or lack thereof) you would like to add, so play away with it. Tell me how you'd change it up...and then tell me how you are staying sane until spring finally arrives...

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
6-8 servings
1 c. wild rice
1 TB olive oil
6 c. chicken broth
2 c. water
1 lb. chopped chicken breast
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 lb. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c. diced tomatoes
1 t. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 c. chopped spinach
1 TB lemon juice
salt and pepper

Add the rice, olive oil, broth and water to a large pot and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. 
After about 30 minutes add the chicken meat, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot. Return to a boil, then cover and simmer again.
About 20 minutes later check to see that the rice is cooked. If so add the crimini mushrooms, tomatoes and rosemary to the pot and again return to a simmer and cover. If not continue to cook until the rice is tender then continue with the recipe.
After 5 minutes add the chopped spinach and lemon juice to the pan. Stir for a minute, then taste to check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary, stir and serve.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tried and True

As much as I enjoy creating my own recipes or only using others' recipes as jumping-off points when I cook sometimes there is nothing so nice as having a recipe that is already there in front of you to use. Especially one you know works. It takes away any guesswork and any stress that may come from off-the-cuff cooking. I want to share a few recipes that I have found around the web lately that I love and will be returning to again and again.

From Serious Eats: Quick Poached Asian Pears

From Baked Perfection: S'more Cookie Bars

From Vanilla Sugar (and maybe one of my favorite things I've eaten this winter): Mushroom Bisque with Crispy Shallots

From Saveur: Sauteed Ramps and Bacon

From Jaime Oliver via The Kitchn: Milk Braised Chicken

From Furey and the Feast (seriously, wow): Gorgonzola and Leek Creme Brulee

From Giada de Laurentiis: Chicken Piccata

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni

I keep telling myself I'm going to start eating better. I don't believe in most diets--I am more of the "eat well rounded meals" state of mind. I really think you can eat what you want but have to understand moderation. With all the running I'm doing, though, I want to make sure that I really am getting all of the nutrients I need to keep going. So, although I will not be counting calories, I'm trying to pack in more fresh veggies and less fried food (and--maybe--less sugar).

I do have a weakness, though, for all things involving butter and cream sauce. So when I came across a recipe for Cannelloni on Erin's blog, I knew I had to make it. In Kansas City, Zio's Restaurant had an amazing Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni that I've been craving so I decided to make this with a creamy alfredo sauce. I looked at a few recipes I found on the web and then came up with my own recipe below. It may not be weight watchers friendly, but I didn't regret a single bite.

(Oh, and can I apologize for the quality of my pictures lately? I've been trying to figure out the lighting situation in my new apartment and have honestly just been too lazy to try too hard at the pictures. I promise to work on that soon).

Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni
3 chicken breast cutlets, cooked and chopped
1 c. chopped fresh spinach
1/3 c. shredded mozzarella
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
7-8 oz. ricotta cheese
1 t. dried rosemary
2 t. dried oregano
7 cannelloni or manicotti shells, cooked

1 stick butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pt. heavy cream
1/2 c. grated parmesan
salt and pepper
1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl mix together the chicken breast, spinach, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, rosemary and oregano. Use the mixture as a filling for the cannelloni shells. Place the shells into a small baking dish in a single layer and set aside.
In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute about 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cream sauce over top of the filled cannelloni and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 15 minutes more.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps, Tuna and Shrimp Ceviche

I've been rocking the NYC road racing scene lately. In the last week I ran a PR in both a 10K in Central Park and a 3 mile race through Wall Street. Don't get the wrong idea--I'm not in the front of the pack by a long stretch--but I am getting better and racing faster each time! It's all about beating myself. :) And next weekend I'll be racing in the Brooklyn Half Marathon. I'm always excited when I get to race in the borough I call home--especially when the race ends at Coney Island (do I hear Nathan's Famous calling my name as a post-race snack??).

Usually after a race we'll get a bagel and an apple. I am always starving after a race, regardless of how long it is and I'll devour that bagel right away, then get home, eat some more, take a nap and then eat again. I feel like I deserve eating about 5 or 6 meals a day after running early in the morning. The Wall Street 3 mile race last week, however, was an evening race. We got a roll instead of a bagel (one of those really sweet rolls that I remember eating at the cafeteria in grade school) and a choice of a banana or an apple. As we were passing through the food line I saw that they were handing us something else as well--a package of whole grain tortillas. Yeah, they handed us a package of tortillas after the race. I don't know why, but at least I had an idea for dinner later on in the week!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps
3 chicken breast supremes, cooked and shredded
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 c. chopped lettuce
1 tomato, diced
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
1/2 c. ranch dressing
salt and pepper
4 whole grain tortillas

In a large bowl mix together the chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, ranch dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Right before serving spread 1/4 of the mixture into each tortilla, wrap up, and serve.

Tuna and Shrimp Ceviche
20 small cooked shrimp
.5 lb sashimi grade tuna
1/2 cucumber
1 avocado
1 mango
1/2 c. papaya
4 green onions, minced
2 TB chopped cilantro
1 t. soy sauce
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. lime juice

Remove the tails from the shrimp and cut each shrimp in half. Place in a large bowl. Chop the tuna, cucumber, avocado, mango and papaya into 1/2" cubes. Place into the bowl with the shrimp. Toss together with the green onions, cilantro, soy sauce, lemon juice and lime juice. Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Penne with Creamy Milk Sauce

I know I promised to stop talking about Easter dinner but I lied a little. I've been trying hard to be better about using up leftovers and not letting things go to waste lately. And I had a lot of delicious milk sauce leftover from the meal. And as much as I just wanted to pour myself a big bowl and just eat it like that, I decided I should make it into a new meal. I also got to use up the rest of the spinach and pecorino cheese I had from the meal. This, again, is a pretty big portion of pasta, but I wanted to be able to eat it for lunches the rest of the week (it reheats well).

Penne with Creamy Milk Sauce
12 oz. whole wheat penne pasta, cooked
4 TB butter
2-3 cloves garlic
2-3 cups spinach
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
3 c. milk sauce from Milk Braised Pork
1/2-3/4 c. grated pecorino cheese
6 slices cooked and chopped bacon
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the spinach, garlic, and mushrooms and saute. After the vegetables are cooked add the milk sauce and bring up to a simmer, stirring often. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the pecorino cheese.
Toss the milk sauce with the pasta, chicken and bacon. Top with a little more pecorino cheese to serve.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

This is one of those recipes that I have had bookmarked for a long time. Just reading the name of it makes my mouth water. But after making it, I am kicking myself for not making it sooner. Seriously: this is so, so good. And it's easy! Plus, you can throw in kind-of whatever you like.
I got this recipe from my friend Trish. I do have to say that Trish feeds a whole family, so this is a lot of soup for two people, but it reheats well. In fact, I'm going to have some more for lunch today. Thanks for this recipe, Trish!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
(recipe from Trish--changes noted in red)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, chopped
2 TB rosemary, thyme, oregano (fresh), chopped
1 bay leaf
4 c. chicken broth
2 c. water
1 6.5 oz. pkg. Uncle Ben's Long grain and wild rice (fast cooking, with seasoning packet)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
2 c. heavy cream

Mix together the chicken, mushrooms, celery, carrots, garlic, fresh herbs, and chicken broth in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the rice (without the seasoning packet), reduce the heat and simmer with a lid on for 5 minutes. Then remove from the heat, leaving the lid on for 5 more minutes.
In a small bowl mix together the salt, pepper and flour.
In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the seasoning packet. Once the butter begins to bubble, slowly add the flour mixture a little at a time. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Slowly stir in the heavy cream. Cook until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cream mixture into the soup. Heat the soup over medium heat 10-15 minutes and serve.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

As I said in an earlier post, one of my goals this year is to try out traditional/classic recipes in order to expand my culinary knowledge. I think this serves a couple of purposes. 1. I want to learn some new techniques that maybe I've never tried (or get better at ones I have). 2. I think by understanding the basics of a recipe it is easier to alter it to suit your needs/desires. And 3. I think that the more basic recipes you know the easier it becomes to create new ones.
Lesson #1 for me in my personal cooking school: paella. I chose this for a couple of different reasons. I've mentioned (probably way too many times....) that I studied in Spain for a while in college and I've made a few different recipes that I picked up there. But I haven't ever attempted a paella. And I actually don't think that I've even eaten paella since I've been back.

Also, I also hate to admit it, but I have never made real rice (except for risotto a couple of times). Every time that I have made rice it has been the minute/instant kind. For some reason I've been intimidated by real rice. It was time to try it out for real.

A couple of tips I picked up: leave the rice alone when it is cooking! I have a habit of being way too impatient with my food and stirring it/flipping it/ bothering it too much. I promise the rice will turn out better if you leave the lid on and don't stir it. Also, make sure to do the last step to form the socarrat on the bottom of the rice. This is the crunchy, well cooked rice on the bottom layer (socarrat means toasted). It's the best part of the paella! And finally, make sure to have friends--this recipe makes a lot!

Chicken and Chorizo Paella
3 chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2" chunks
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. celery salt
1 t. season salt
3 links chorizo, sliced
3 TB olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c. Valencia rice
1/2 c. white wine
2 c. chicken broth
1 TB chopped cilantro
1 TB chopped parsley
pinch of saffron
3/4 c. frozen peas, thawed
1 8oz. pkg. frozen quartered artichoke hearts, thawed

Mix together the garlic powder, paprika, celery salt and season salt. Toss with the chicken cubes and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Add chorizo and saute. Remove the chorizo and add the chicken to the pan. Cook chicken on all sides until cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute. Add the tomatoes to the onion and garlic. Cook until the all the ingredients begin to come together, about 10 minutes.
Next, add the rice to the tomato mixture. Stir for a couple of minutes and then add the chicken broth, saffron, parsley and cilantro. Bring the rice to a simmer, moving pan around a little to even out the rice and vegetables. Simmer for about 8 minutes, then stir back in the chicken and chorizo and add the artichokes and peas. Place a lid on the pan, turn down the heat, and cook until the rice is ready, about 25 minutes (depending on the rice). Leave the lid on the pan and don't stir the rice during this time. Once the rice is ready, remove the lid from the pan and turn up the heat. Cook until you begin to smell the toasted rice, about 4 minutes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chicken Roll-ups with Vermouth Sauce, Corn Risotto, and Gougeres

Or, the very, very yellow meal.

I have made gougeres many, many times. I have posted them in my blog a few times, although until recently I didn't realize that was what I was making. The very first time I made them they puffed up beautifully and were light and fluffy. The second time around they turned out just about as nice. But every single time since then they have turned out flat and slightly dense. I have no idea what I was doing wrong. It was infuriating that they weren't turning out. Luckily they still tasted good.

This time around, I actually knew what I was making, and decided to give a slightly different recipe a shot. I went with Ruth Reichl's from "Garlic and Saphires". (now that I think about it, though, I may have tried this recipe before but I couldn't find gruyere so I used something different...maybe the consistency of the cheese has something to do with my puffing issues...) Whatever it was--the cheese, the recipe, the temperature in my kitchen, the smiling down of the gods--they came out perfectly. And tasted heavenly. Let's hope the next time around they turn out just as well!
I do have one question about these: how in the world do you pronounce them? I have read the name so many times but have no idea how to say it out loud.

Along with these (although I truly think I could eat a whole meal of just gougeres), I also made Corn Risotto from the very first issue of Edible Manhattan. If you have an "Edible" publication for your neck of the woods I suggest you pick one up immediately! And finally the meal was rounded out by some chicken rolled up in prosciutto, cheesy goodness. Not too shabby.

Chicken Roll-ups with Vermouth Sauce
3 chicken breasts
6 slices prosciutto
5-6 provolone cheese slices
salt and pepper
2 TB olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. dry vermouth
1/4 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper

Butterfly the chicken breasts, cutting them open longways to make a thinner, larger piece of chicken. Using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or canned good, pound the chicken until it is an even width, about 1/2". On the inside of the chicken, layer on two slices of prosciutto and 1 1/2-2 slices of provolone cheese. Roll up the chicken, salt and pepper the outside, and place seam side down.
In a saute pan, heat 2 TB olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, place chicken in the pan, seam side down. Brown the chicken on all sides. Then turn the heat down to medium and cover the pan. Cook until the chicken is done and the juices run clear, about 8 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to sit while preparing the sauce.
In the same pan that the chicken just came out of, add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown. Then add the dry vermouth. Stir to pick up all of the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Finally, add the heavy cream and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly. Serve over top of the chicken.

Corn Risotto
(Sara Jenkins, from Edible Manhattan)
I did cut this recipe back and didn't follow it down to every single detail, just took the basics of how I usually cook risotto and went with it. I used arborio rice, shallots instead of onions, didn't put the cobs in the stock, but I wish I would have! I think the chicken stock totally overpowered the corn flavor of this dish. Next time I may use some water in place of the stock)
2 TB olive oil
2 TB unsalted butter, divided
2 slices thick bacon, cut into 1/8" pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
4-6 ears fresh corn, kernels sliced off and cobs reserved
2 c. carnaroli rice
1 c. dry white wine
5 c. homemade chicken or pork broth heated to a simmer with the reserved cobs
1 1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or grana padana
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and 1 TB butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, until melted. Add bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until bacon starts to crisp, about 2 minutes.
Add onions and pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until onions start to wilt and turn translucent. Add corn and cook until starting to brown and caramelize. Add rice and, stirring constantly, cook for 5 minutes. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 c. broth and cook, stirring constantly, until mostly absorbed, about 3 minutes.
Add 1/2 c. of broth and, stirring, cook until mostly absorbed, 2-3 minutes. Continue adding the broth by 1/2 cupfuls, stirring constantly, until you have 1 c. broth left. Add 1/2 c. of the remaining broth, stir another 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining 1/2 c. broth, and cook, stirring for 1-2 final minutes. Risotto should be tender yet slightly firm. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and remaining butter; cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper and extra Parmigiano, if desired.

(Ruth Reichl)
Servings: 8 as an appetizer
1 c. water
1/4 lb (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
5 eggs
1 c. diced Gruyère cheese
Pepper to taste
1/2 c. grated Gruyère cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Combine the water, butter and a teaspoon of the salt in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool slightly, stir in the flour, and mix well. Return pan to the heat and stir with a wooden spoon over high heat until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Add the diced cheese, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper, stirring well.
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a well-buttered baking pan. Smooth the top and sides of each gougère with a knife, and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake in batches for 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pesto Roasted Chicken and Garlicky Summer Rice

My return to the actual food blogging comes in the form of a very simple meal. It is just too damn hot in my kitchen to be in there for very long lately! I'm hoping to buy a portable AC so I can drag it into the kitchen and bake this summer. I miss central air!!!

I made this chicken because I was looking for a way to finish off the last of my pesto that I froze last summer. (for those that are looking to freeze some pesto there are great little tiny Glad storage containers that probably hold the perfect amount. I can always just pull out one little container and not have to worry about dethawing and then refreezing the rest of it. These containers are also perfect for individual portions of things like panna cotta or to store leftover dressing/sauce). I used chicken thighs because I love the flavor and the moistness of the dark meat, but you could use chicken breasts as well--just adjust the cooking time.

Pesto Roast Chicken
4 chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1/4 c. pesto
1/2 stick of butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Then rub down the thighs all over with the pesto. Place the thighs in a baking dish, skin side up, and pour the melted butter over top. Place in the oven, uncovered and cook until juices run clear, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow chicken to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Garlicky Summer Rice
1 stick butter, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced into pieces resembling shoestring potatoes
1 c. instant rice
1 c. water

Heat 1/2 stick of butter in a saute pan over low heat. When the butter melts, it will have a layer of "foam" on top. Without stirring, using a metal spoon, skim the foam off of the melted butter. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the garlic and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the zucchini. Cook the zucchini until cooked through, but not too long or the mixture will become mushy (let about 1/3 of the pieces turn clear and let the remaining pieces stay fairly green). Set the mixture aside.
In a small saucepan bring 1 c. of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add the rice, stir, cover, and remove from the heat. Allow the rice to sit, covered, for 3-4 minutes.
Once rice is ready, stir in zucchini/garlic mixture and the remaining 1/2 stick of butter and serve.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Asparagus, Tomato and Feta Tart; Mushroom Creamy Chicken

I've been trying to have a plan in mind before I go to the grocery store these days so I don't get home without ingredients I need and waste a lot of time. But there are days when I just cannot decide what I want to make.

For this dinner I knew that I wanted to try out a tart, but wasn't sure what I wanted to put in it. I figured I would see which veggies or fruit looked good once I got to the grocery store. That ended up being some asparagus and grape tomatoes. And then I couldn't help but pick up some feta cheese to add to the mix. For the main course I just had no idea. But when I got to the store and started wandering around I had a flash of a meal past--I recalled the delicious richness of a cream cheese chicken recipe that flashed around blogs and cooking boards last year. Since I didn't have the recipe with me, I figured I would just make something up. I still don't know where that original recipe is (I lost my recipe file when our computer got stolen last year), but this version is a good substitute.

Asparagus, Tomato, and Feta Tart
1 flaky butter crust recipe (below)
16 stalks asparagus, cleaned, trimmed, and cut in half
14 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 package crumbled feta cheese
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 c. Heavy whipping cream
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 375.
Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling, salted water for 4-5 minutes.
Roll out the dough and place into a 9" tart pan and trim the edges. Take the asparagus spears and lay them into the crust filling up as many spaces as possible, but trying not to overlap (lay them in a circular pattern). Sprinkle on half of the feta cheese.
Mix together the egg yolk and the heavy cream. Pour this mixture over the asparagus. Top off the tart with the rest of the feta cheese and the grape tomato halves.
Place tart in oven and cook for 45 minutes or until firm. Allow to sit at least 10 minutes before serving.

Flaky Butter Crust
(from Emeril)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed
To make with a food processor, combine the flour, butter and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 10 seconds and add the ice water. Pulse quickly 5 or 6 more times until the dough comes together. Remove the dough and place on a floured surface. Using your hands, work the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
To make by hand, combine the flour and butter in a medium bowl, and mix with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together and is no longer dry, being careful not to over mix. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface according to the recipe, then allow to rest again in the refrigerator before baking.

Mushroom Creamy Chicken
3 TB cooking oil
5 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. dry vermouth
1 package cream cheese
1/4 c. heavy cream
3 TB butter

Heat the cooking oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken and when the oil is hot add the chicken to the pan to sear each side (about 2 minutes on each side). Remove chicken from pan.
Add mushrooms and garlic to the pan. Saute until golden, then add the dry vermouth. Cook down, about 2 minutes. Add in the cream cheese, cream, and butter and cook, stirring constantly, until the cream cheese has been "melted" and incorporated into the sauce.
Lower the heat to medium and add the chicken back to the pan. Cover the pan and cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Serve the chicken and sauce over noodles or rice.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter Dinner

I love having people over for dinner. There is just something great about the conversation and the comfort of sitting around the apartment nibbling on food and drinking wine. I enjoy making new things or sharing tried and true favorites and seeing people's faces when they love something I have made. It's also nice to be able to take your time and not rush through the evening. For Easter our guests arrived around 4 and didn't leave until about 11:30. You just can't do that at a restaurant (and I don't know that you'd want to). And it doesn't hurt when the food is pretty darn good, too.

For our Easter feast I decided to go with a few favorites, but I threw in a couple of items that I'd never tried--including risking a chocolate souffle for the first time (which amazingly turned out right). For the main course I decided to try out the Pernil recipe that my friend made a couple of months ago, and once again I'm going to rave about it. So simple and so tender and full of flavor. It may be one of my favorite dishes.
Unfortunately, since we had guests (and since I was drinking wine while cooking) I do not have pictures of the food. But you do get some pics of my friends and I hanging out, including this amazingly unflattering one of me gnawing on the pernil bone:

So here is the menu:
Enchilada Dip (recipe below)
Pesto Pinwheels (recipe below)
Crostini with Goat Cheese, red wine reduction, and strawberry jam (brought by our friend Des--and it was brilliant)

Main Course
Herb and Vermouth Potatoes (recipe below)
Chocolate Souffle with Frozen Lavender Honey Whipped Cream (recipe below)

And now for the recipes:

Enchilada Dip
(from my friend, Julie)
2 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded (I cheated and used 2 cans of chicken breast)
2 8oz packages of light cream cheese, softened
4 green onions, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped cilantro (dried is OK)
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
(I also added about 3/4 c. cheddar cheese--because who doesn't like cheese? I also may try adding a couple of spoonfuls of enchilada sauce next time, too)

In a non-reactive bowl, combine all ingredients. I find it best to shred the chicken in a food processor so that the pieces are really small, making it easier to dip. Or you can just shred with forks if you like the chicken pieces bigger. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips - I like the lime flavored ones the best with this dip.

Pesto Pinwheels
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 TB pesto (I used 1/2 sun dried tomato and 1/2 regular--one on each half of the pastry)
1/2- 3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll puff pastry and lay out flat. Spread with pesto all the way to the edges. Sprinkle on cheddar cheese. Starting along the long edge, roll up the puff pastry until you reach the center. Turn the pastry 180 degrees and roll up the other side to the center (it should look like a roll of parchment or a scroll). Chill for at least 30 minutes to make easier to cut. Cut pastry into about 1/2" pieces and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.

Herb and Vermouth Potatoes
for 4 servings
6 medium sized potatoes
1/2 stick butter
1/3 c. dry vermouth
2 TB Italian seasoning

Clean potatoes and chop into approx. 1 1/2" cubes. Place in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Cook potatoes through, until they fall off a fork when pricked. Drain the potatoes and place back into pan. Turn on heat to medium and add butter, vermouth, and Italian seasoning. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until butter is completely melted.

Chocolate Souffle
(from Epicurious)
1/3 cup sugar plus additional for sprinkling
5 oz bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
6 large egg whites
Special equipment: a 5 1/2- to 6-cup glass or ceramic soufflé dish

Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter soufflé dish and sprinkle with sugar, knocking out excess. Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and stir in yolks (mixture will stiffen). Beat whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add 1/3 cup sugar, a little at a time, continuing to beat at medium speed, then beat at high speed until whites just hold stiff peaks. Stir about 1 cup whites into chocolate mixture to lighten, then add mixture to remaining whites, folding gently but thoroughly. Spoon into soufflé dish and run the end of your thumb around inside edge of soufflé dish (this will help soufflé rise evenly). Bake in middle of oven until puffed and crusted on top but still jiggly in center, 24 to 26 minutes. Serve immediately.

Frozen Honey Lavender Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy cream
2 TB powdered sugar
4 TB honey
1 TB dried lavender

Place metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment into freezer for 5 minutes. Make sure the heavy cream is cold (keep in fridge until ready to use). Remove mixing bowl and add heavy cream and beat until cream begins to form soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and continue beating. Slowly beat in honey and continue beating until cream reaches stiffer peaks. Stir in dried lavender. Place in an airtight container and freeze. Serve on side of souffle.
Cooks'note: • Soufflé can be assembled up to 30 minutes before baking. Keep, covered with an inverted large bowl (do not let bowl touch soufflé), at room temperature.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spinach Artichoke Dip, Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken, Penne in Vodka Sauce

I feel like I've been gone forever. I've missed my blog so much this month. First I didn't have time to take some pics of meal which included whiskey marinated pork chops (Lost was coming on right as I finished dinner and was much more important than photos at that moment!). Then I got sick. And then I was out of town on a trip to Atlanta to see some friends.
But now I am back and ready to be at work in the kitchen again.

Last night the hubs and I had the rare opportunity to cook together. I'm giving him little "cooking lessons". The kitchen may be small, hot and cramped, but we still have a blast working together with a cocktail in hand. I had some spinach artichoke dip waiting when Joe got home so we could nibble on something while we cooked. We made Penne in a Vodka Cream Sauce and Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs. Unfortunately, I have no idea where I got these recipes, since I didn't label them in my recipe folder, but I would like to thank whoever they came from because they are delicious.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
(from my friend, JJ)
3 c. chopped spinach
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
1 c. grated Monterey jack cheese (and ¼ c. grated for top)
4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
2 lg. garlic cloves, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 lg. cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
¾ c. mayonnaise
Juice from ½ a lemon

Mix all ingredients and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with leftover grated cheese and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray
6 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Preheat broiler.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.
Note: Instead of using the broiler, we roasted the chicken thighs. We rubbed on the seasoning mix and cooked the chicken at 375 for 15 minutes. Then we brushed one side of the chicken with the honey mixture and returned to the oven for 20 minutes. We flipped the chicken over and brushed the other side (the skin side) with the rest of the honey mixture and then baked for another 20 minutes. Then we allowed the chicken to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Penne with Vodka Sauce
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes , drained, liquid reserved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion , minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Table salt
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
Grated Parmesan cheese , for serving

1. Puree half of tomatoes in food processor until smooth. Dice remaining tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces, discarding cores. Combine pureed and diced tomatoes in liquid measuring cup (you should have about 1 2/3 cups). Add reserved liquid to equal 2 cups.
2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are light golden around edges, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove pan from heat and add vodka. Return pan to medium-high heat and simmer briskly until alcohol flavor is cooked off, 8 to 10 minutes; stir frequently and lower heat to medium if simmering becomes too vigorous. Stir in cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute.
4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until just shy of al dente, then drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta back to Dutch oven. Add sauce to pasta and toss over medium heat until pasta absorbs some of sauce, 1 to 2 minutes, adding reserved cooking water if sauce is too thick. Stir in basil and adjust seasoning with salt. Divide among pasta bowls and serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Latkes, Cajun Roasted Endive, and Herb Garlic Baguettes

Sometimes I will spend days planning a menu. I will spend so much time thinking about it and then spend a lot of time prepping and preparing the meal and I work myself up and expect it to be amazing. And every once in a while it doesn't taste nearly as great as I expected. And then comes the major letdown and disappointment from all of the wasted time. But then there are other times where I spend hardly any time at all thinking of a meal and it's basically just thrown together and it turns out as one of the best meals we've had. This was one of those times.

I remember a great stuffed chicken that I had at a restaurant so long ago and wanted to try to recreate it. I don't know if this tasted exactly like the restaurant's, but I do know that this was amazingly creamy and delicious and have already received a request from Joe to make it again. The latkes and spicy roasted endive were a great pairing with the rich chicken.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts
5 Chicken Breasts
4 oz. goat cheese
1/2 package cream cheese
1 t. chopped chives
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried rosemary
for baking:
1 stick butter, divided
1/4 t. celery salt
1/4 t. taragon
1/4 t. rosemary
1/4 t. oregano
1/4 t. thyme
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. season salt
1 TB worcestershire sauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice each chicken breast down the side almost all the way through so you can fill it, but it is still held together along one side. Mix together the filling: goat cheese, cream cheese, chives, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Fill each chicken breast with 1/5 of the filling.
In a skillet, heat 2 TB of the butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Quickly sear the chicken on both sides and then place into a greased baking dish.
Melt remainine 6 TB of butter and mix in taragon, celery salt, rosemary, oregano, season salt, thyme, garlic powder, and worcestershire sauce. Pour sauce over the chicken breasts in baking dish and place in oven. Cook until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear, about 25-30 minutes.

(recipe from Saveur.com)
1 medium yellow onion3 large yukon gold potatoes (about 2 1⁄2 lbs.), peeled
Kosher salt, to taste
6 tbsp. finely chopped chives
3 tbsp. plain matzo meal (I just used bread crumbs)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Canola oil for frying
Sour cream or applesauce

1. Working over a bowl, grate some of the onion, followed by some of the potatoes, on the large-hole side of a box grater. Repeat until all the vegetables are used up.
2. Sprinkle mixture with salt and transfer it to a sieve set over a bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from mixture, allowing it to collect in bottom of bowl. Transfer mixture to another bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap; set aside. Set reserved potato liquid aside to let the milky white starch settle. Pour off liquid from starch. Transfer starch to mixture along with the chives, matzo, eggs, and salt and pepper. Gently mix.
3. Pour enough oil into a skillet that it reaches a depth of 1⁄4"; heat over medium-high heat. Working in small batches, form mixture into balls, using about 1⁄4 cup of the mixture for each, and place them in the oil. Flatten each ball gently with a spatula to form 3"–4" pancakes. Fry, turning once, until golden brown, crisp, and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pancakes to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Serve the potato pancakes with sour cream or applesauce.

Cajun Roasted Endive
4 heads of Belgian endive, cleaned
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 TB cajun seasoning

Heat oven to 450. Slice each endive, lengthwise, into 4 pieces. Place endive on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle cajun seasoning over top and place in oven. Roast until endive is cooked through and slightly crispy, about 12-15 minutes.

Herb Garlic Baguettes
(from KA Mixer instruction book)
1pkg active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
¼ cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
3 1/4-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried oregano
2tsp chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dries thyme
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp salt
¾ cup cold water
1 egg 1tsp water

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water Place 3 1/4 cup flour, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic, and salt in bowl. Attach bowl and power knead spiral dough hook to mixer turn speed to 2 and mix 30 seconds stop and scrape bowl Continuing on speed 2 slowly add yeast mixture mixing about 30 seconds if dough is sticky add remaining ¼ cup flour. Knead on speed 2 about 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in greased bowl turning over to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free of draft, 11/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size. On lightly floured surface punch dough down several times to remove all air bubbles. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 12-inch long loaf. Place each loaf on greased baking sheet or in greased baguette pans. With sharp knife make 3 to 4 shallow diagonal slices in top of dough. Beat egg and 1 tbls of water together with a fork. Brush each baguette with egg mixture cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place, free of draft, about 1 to 1 ½ hours or until doubled in bulk.
Brush top of each baguette again with egg mixture. Bake at 450 for 15-18 minuets or until deep golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
Yield: 36 servings (18 slices per loaf)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Roasted Chicken Thighs and Focaccia

I served this roasted chicken alongside of the artichoke ravioli and with a side of asparagus with beurre blanc. It's a very simple recipe, but the chicken is so tender and the skin is crispy and full of flavor. It's one of my favorite go-to recipes.
I also made a different version of focaccia bread. This has gotten a lot of great reviews on allrecipes, so I figured I'd give it a go. It was good, but I think I'm still in search of a better recipe because it wasn't quite as great as some of the focaccia that I've had.

Roasted Chicken Thighs

4 Chicken thighs
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
3 t. season salt
1 t. rosemary
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. celery salt
1/4 t. paprika
1 t. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375. Rub 1/2 of the butter under the skin of the chicken thighs and the other 1/2 of the butter on top of the chicken. Sprinkle the herbs evenly over the chicken. Place in a greased baking dish and cook, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes. Remove from oven and allow chicken to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Focaccia Bread
(from Allrecipes)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.