Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Peach Salsa



I had a request for my Spicy Mango Salsa but when I went to the store the mangos we are hard. No ripe ones to be found. So I decided to switch it up a bit and make a peach salsa instead.

I was surprised how well it came out really. As soon as it sat for a hour in the fridge I grabbed a chip with some salsa and took it up to Seth for him to try it. I was lucky to bring back fingers and he followed me right back down the stairs like a bloodhound hot on the scent! When Kevin came home he looked a bit doubtful when I mentioned it had peaches in it. I know you are saying to yourself how in the world could anybody doubt me, I was thinking the same thing, great minds think alike! But once he tasted it his doubts went away.

Even Jessi, who doesn't really like spicy things, liked it. She did mention that I could have left the peaches in a bigger dice, so I will take that under advice and give it a shot next time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pumpkinated Bacon Pancakes with Steam-Fried Eggs and Vanilla Syrup

Hello my foodie friends and family. Today is a special day for me. I have a guest blogger! YAY, I know it is very exciting. What makes it even MORE exciting is, that guest blogger is my daughter!! I hope you love her as much as I do!! So with that being said..........


Be warned all ye who diet. This breakfast is NOT for the faint of heart.

I’ve been in Job Corps for a little under four months now, and I was just accepted into the Culinary trade at the beginning of this month. The kitchen there is amazing, and I love every moment I get to work in it. Anyway, I just got home last night, and this morning, I felt as if there was a void in my routine. Then the lightbulb went off in my head, and I realized “I haven’t cooked anything yet!” So off to the kitchen I sped. It was a bit of a culture shock to go from the giant cafeteria kitchen back to a home kitchen, but it was awesome, because I didn’t have to watch out for anyone else. It was just me and the food.

I quickly decided that I wanted to make my specialty pancakes, but with a little twist [I do that a lot now], so I had my mom help me find a quick syrup recipe online, and we rummaged through the spice drawer until we found the Pumpkin Pie spice. I spun the recipe to make it my own, and the Vanilla Syrup was born. I had no idea it was going to come out as good as it did. It is, quite possibly, the best syrup I’ve ever tasted, and I think my brother would concur with me on that, seeing as when I let him taste mine, he almost inhaled all of it. I all but swatted him away with a rolled up newspaper and told him there was more downstairs for him.

Okay, so I can’t take full credit for this recipe. It’s more one that my mom [that pretty lady who owns this blog] and I made together. However, the syrup was my idea, as was adding the Pumpkin Pie spice.



Vanilla Syrup
1 c. Sugar
1 c. Brown Sugar
1 c. Cold Water
2 tbsp. Butter
½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Combine the first four ingredients in a 2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes, stirring every so often until the butter melts completely. Take the saucepan off the burner, and add the vanilla extract, stirring thoroughly to get the flavor throughout the syrup. Pour into a container and place in the fridge.



Pumpkinated Bacon Pancakes

2 c. Original Bisquick Mix
1 c. Milk
2 Eggs
2 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
12 Strips of Bacon

Cook the bacon in a pan until crispy. Set aside on a few paper towels. In a medium bowl, mix together the Bisquick, milk, and eggs, then add the pumpkin pie spice and mix thoroughly. Chop up the cooled bacon and put into a small bowl. Spray a large pan with non-stick spray and put on the stove on medium high heat. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop the batter into the pan, making sure to make the pancakes as even as possible. Sprinkle some of the chopped bacon over each pancake, as much as desired, and continue to cook the pancakes. Put two pancakes on a plate and set aside for the eggs.




Steam-Fried Eggs

Spray a small pan with non-stick spray, and put on the stove on high heat. Crack an egg into the pan. Once the bottom begins to turn white, add about a tablespoon of water [I used a squeeze bottle full of water] and cover with a lid, preferably glass so you can see the egg cooking. Once the egg turns white over the yolk, turn the heat down to low and put it on top of the plated pancakes.

Heat the syrup back up in the microwave, pour it over your pancakes, sprinkle with leftover chopped bacon [if you have any], and enjoy!




Turkey, Cheddar, and Potato Pie



This recipe was one I was really looking forward to trying. I was a little nervous because I  have never made a pie before (except the ones with graham cracker crusts). But I love the idea of it and the picture I saw in the magazine was amazing looking. You know, the kind of picture that makes your mouth water and you have a momentary thought of just eating the page. Yes, that was how I felt when I saw this recipe.

Originally the recipe called for ground beef instead of turkey, which sounds good, but Seth's girlfriend was coming over and like I have said in the past, she doesn't eat anything but chicken or turkey. Also, I have been trying to take the recipes I find and make them healthier so that fit right in with the program.

Once I made the decision to use the ground turkey I knew I would have to change the recipe up even more to add some herbs to pump up the flavor. Unfortunately we all know that beef = more flavor than turkey. So I knew there had to be a trade made. I checked out what I had in the fridge.

I hate that I didn't grow my own herbs this year. Now I have to rely on what has been purchased PLUS I want to use them all before they go bad. I hate waste! Last year I had rosemary, thyme, oregano, and chives but they didn't make it through the winter. I do still have a huge sage bush in the  back yard but other than that  if I am feeling adventurous I am left to work with whatever I have already purchased for the week.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Roast Loin of Pork with Fennel and Roasted Veggies

Yup, it is Food Star Friday again. Where does the time go? I know they say that as we get older time moves faster but geezzzz I think I need a seat belt!

Today's recipe is from Ina Garten. I have to admit, I am not usually a huge Ina Garten fan. Not because I don't like her but because she makes things that are more expensive and labor intensive. I am not afraid to say that I like things simple, cheap, and easy. But this roast looked so yummy and I love roasted veggies, so she won over my vote for this Food Star Friday's recipe post.

I will tell you that the paste that you make to rub on the pork is not that appealing visually so once I got it on the roast I was kinda like hhmmmmmm. But I trusted in the flavors so I got on with the process of prepping the veggies and getting them in to roast. Carrots, potatoes, fennel, and onions yummmmm I love just about any kind of vegetable roasted. I almost had to fight Kevin for the roasted fennel once he tasted it!

I stuck pretty close to the recipe on this one. The only thing I did was add a little touch of olive oil to the mustard paste for the outside of the roast just to get it to blend in my food processor better. It also helped it to spread on the pork roast. Really this recipe is quite simple, which is probably subconsciously one of the reasons I chose it.

Kevin and I were the only ones eating but we both gave it two thumbs up. It was so good we ate the leftovers the next day! This is one I will be keeping. It is nice enough for entertaining, but easy enough for everyday cooking.

I really wish my photography was better. Bear with me gang I am hoping to get a new camera as soon as possible!



Roast Loin of Pork with Fennel

2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus one tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied 
3 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
8 carrots, peeled, and thickly cut diagonally 
10 small potatoes (red or white skinned) cut into quarters
2 yellow onions, thickly sliced
4 tablespoons good olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

With a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, grind together the garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and thyme leaves. Add the mustard. Spread the mixture over the loin of pork and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the fennel bulbs into thick wedges, cutting through the core. Toss the fennel, carrots, potatoes, and onions in a bowl with the olive oil, melted butter, salt and pepper to taste. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes. Add the pork loin to the pan and continue to cook for another 30 to 50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork reads exactly 138 degrees. Remove the strings from the meat and slice it thickly. Arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve warm.




Grilled Lemon and Herb Chicken with Creamed Garlic Spinach

Now that I have broken the lemon barrier I am very open to giving this little citrus treasure a try. While I was cruising through FoodBuzz I came across a recipe for Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken by one of my favorite  bloggers Cookin Canuck. It just sounded so good and I love the  fact that it uses chicken thighs vs chicken breasts. I have long been a fan of chicken thighs for many reasons. They are easier to cook without the risk of being dry like a breast, they have more flavor, and they are cheaper a HUGE plus! I substitute boneless skinless thighs for breasts whenever I can. If you are strictly watching your calories then opt for the boneless skinless breasts but try using cutlets or cutting them in half like a book and cooking them so you have less of a chance to dry them out.

One of the things I love about this recipe is the fact that you make a vinaigrette instead of a marinade. So you cook the chicken first and then into the tub it goes to soak up flavor while you finish cooking. You can also choose to eat it right away or cover it and put it in the fridge for later. It is awesome hot, especially with the creamed spinach I made to go alongside. But I can tell you that this makes a FANTASTIC sandwich or slice it and put it on a salad. Because the chicken goes into the vinaigrette after it is cooked it is safe to save the leftovers and use it on a salad the next day yummmm!

Of course I can't leave a recipe alone and after I printed it off and was organizing my ingredients I realized I had thyme as well as rosemary, a combination I love, so out came the thyme to jump into the tub with all the other  ingredients. I also added more rosemary and garlic, boy do I love my garlic. It is a good thing that Kevin loves garlic too otherwise I would never get any kisses!

Whisk the lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, garlic, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl. Once combined slowly whisk in the olive oil.


Get your grill or grill pan going over medium-high heat and brush it with a layer of vegetable oil.


Grill the chicken until done through, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the thighs.


Remove the chicken from the heat and place in bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat the chicken. At this time you can cover and refrigerate the chicken or set it aside while you work on the creamed spinach.


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add your butter. Once melted add your garlic and saute for a couple minutes before adding your spinach to wilt down. Then add your grated nutmeg.


Add the cream and stir to combine. Heat till warmed through, a minute or two, and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and serve.





Grilled Lemon and Herb Chicken

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons honey
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil


In a large bowl whisk the lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, garlic, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl. Once combined slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush with vegetable oil.

Drizzle the chicken thighs with a bit of the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place chicken on grill and cook till chicken is done through, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Remove the chicken from the heat and place in bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat the chicken. At this time you can cover and refrigerate the chicken or set it aside.

Once you plate the chicken drizzle it with a bit of the vinaigrette.


Creamed Garlic Spinach 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
10 ounces baby spinach
Grated nutmeg to taste



Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add your butter. Once melted add your garlic and saute for a couple minutes before adding your spinach to wilt down. Then add your grated nutmeg.

Add the cream and stir to combine. Heat till warmed through, a minute or two, and remove from heat and serve.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Holy Guacamole




Coming from southern California, San Diego to  be exact. I have a love for  Mexican food like no other! Now that I am living in the Pacific Northwest I have my days when I just downright miss it sooo much!! I have tried and tried to find comparable food up here to no avail. It is really quite depressing. You know when you are just craving something so much that nothing else tastes good. Ya well, I get that quite often.

When I get that way I fight it a lot because we all know Mexican food can be quite calorie packed. But I do break down once and a while and make some shredded beef or chicken rolled taco's or carne asada. It is just hard to stay away from the cheese and sour cream when I do that. But I tell myself all things in moderation and where I used to eat like that several days a week, once in a few months is excusable right?

Kevin doesn't share my enthusiasm for this love of mine. Having grown up here his whole life it was not something he had very often, and when he did it wasn't very good. I have tried to convert him to the Temple of the Burrito but he still remains a non-believer.

So when my cravings kick in I will usually make this little tasty treat to give me a small taste of home.


As you can see the ingredient list is small but flavor packed. I love it when you can buy the vine ripened tomatoes! In California you can get the nice big buttery avocados year round too. 

I don't know, just something about a big bowl of this creamy guacamole and some nice crispy chips makes me a happy happy girl!


Guacamole

2 large ripe avocados
1 vine ripened tomato, chopped
1/2 a small white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Kosher salt
1 lime, juiced
A handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Pit and peel the avocado and place in a medium bowl. Use a potato masher to mash the avocado (You can use the back of a fork too). Add the onion, tomato, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately with chips.

ENJOY!




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rachael Ray Wednesday - Fiery Hot Texas T-Bones with Chipotle Smashed Potatoes and Hot and Sweet Pepper Saute

The title of this post should be IT'S GETTING HOT IN HERE!! WOW, I can tell you honestly right now that Rachael was not lying when she named this recipe Fiery Hot! From the meat to the sauteed peppers and the chipotle smashed potatoes, there was no room for anymore heat. But it was sooooo good!

Let me take you on a little journey....Ok I have mentioned that Kevin's favorite cut of beef is the ribeye and he dislikes any other steak (something I will have to work on), so even though this recipe calls for T-Bones I made fiery hot ribeyes. I know, I know, I shouldn't switch the recipes up but I didn't think this was too  much, and the finished product was worth the twist.

So with that said, I started out on my little quest to find the most AWESOME ribeye steaks I could find in my tiny little town and BINGO I hit the jackpot!



Are these babies gorgeous or what?!?!? I was so excited to find them that my nerves about cooking them didn't kick in until I was unwrapping them on the prep board. All of a sudden I looked at them and my mind yelled, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?" I hate it when I yell at myself! Bur seriously folks, I have NEVER cooked a piece of meat, aside from a roast, that thick so I was just a tad nervous. Rachaels' recipe calls for 1 1/2-inch thick steaks not almost 3-inch ones! But once I took a step back I realized that I could draw upon my memories of endless hours of food/cooking shows and I was able to calm myself a bit.

With my new found confidence, I started the rub. Since the steaks were bigger than the recipe called for, I decided I would make more of the rub, and it was a good call. I did have extra, but I would rather have too much than not enough. I doubled the recipe but looking back I could have just added 50% more.

I let the steaks rest with their nice warm coating and got the potatoes chopped and in the water. I knew I had to adjust the time a little to allow for the extra cooking time for the steaks, so I opted to get all of my prep done at once instead of doing things on the fly like Rachael does. So the potatoes are in the pot covered in water and my veggies are prepped. See I even have my handy garbage bowl working.


I decided to try the whole "restaurant style" of cooking these steaks, so I got a cast iron pan screamin' hot with a bit of oil, and once it started to smoke I put my steaks on. Thank goodness I only bought two because they took up the whole pan!


I seared them for 6 minutes on high heat and then turned them.........


......and the smell in my kitchen was AMAZING!! Although my smoke detector was less than happy about the situation and let me know over and over again....LOUDLY, I could barely contain my excitement. No one was home so I was sad that I didn't have anyone to share this with. It was almost like Christmas. I know I am weird, but hey, food does it for me!

I let them sear on the other side for the same amount of time and then popped them into an oven that I had preheated to 350. As soon as I got them in I dropped the temp to 300 and left them in there for 15 minutes.

Now I started the potatoes and went with the recipe from there. I rendered the bacon and added the onions and chipotle powder and MAN as soon as that all started working together the smell was just, well just awesome.

Kevin was home now and the first thing he said was, "Where is the bacon going?" and when I told him it was going into the smashed potatoes he got a big smile on his face. I will say, it may have been the chipotle powder that I got, but I think a full tablespoon of it in the smashed potatoes was borderline too much. Although it was the kind of heat that takes you to the edge without pushing you over, it might be just too much for some people.

Now I pulled the steaks out of the oven and got them on the plate to rest while I did the veg. Everyone's, and I mean EVERYONE'S jaws dropped when they saw the steaks come out. I just prayed they were as good as they looked.


I think these could make a carnivore out of just about anybody! After I gather myself back together from my foodgasm, I sauteed the peppers, and I did them a bit longer the 5 minutes it called for. I used a lid to sweat them a bit and let them get some nice color on them.

Now Jessi wanted me to make sure and tell everyone that she, the girl that doesn't like anything spicy, could not stop eating the steak. I am serious, it was a jaw dropper to me guys. She doesn't like too much black pepper on things! But this girl was eating bite after bite. I made a plate for Kevin and he beelined it out of the kitchen, while the rest of us attacked the other steak like a bunch of rabid hyenas! I am amazed we all came out with it with 10 fingers!

So I guess in conclusion I will say, if you don't like it hot cut the chipotle powder in half and try it. If you like a thicker steak, my method made a perfect medium rare one. But I will say, as well as the rest of my gang, TRY THIS ONE!!

Until tomorrow, keep your taste buds happy!!


Fiery Hot Texas T-Bones with Chipotle Smashed Potatoes and Hot and Sweet Pepper Saute

3 jalapenos
3 bell peppers, choose 3 different colors
2 1/2 pounds small potatoes, such as baby Yukon, coarsely chopped
Salt
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons chipotle powder, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon dark chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning)
2 large T-Bone steaks 1 1/2 inches thick, 2 1/2 pounds total
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup bourbon, eyeball it


Seed and slice the hot and sweet peppers and reserve.

Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Add salt to the boiling water. Cook potatoes until tender, 10-12 minutes. Chop and brown bacon in a small skillet. Then add a tablespoon of chipotle powder and the onions. Cook 5 minutes over medium heat until the onions are tender. When potatoes are tender, drain and return to the hot pan. Add bacon mixture and sour cream to the potatoes. Smash potatoes and season with salt to taste.

While potatoes are working, combine dry spice rub: chili powder, remaining chipotle powder, cumin and grill seasoning. Rub steaks liberally on both sides with the mixture. Heat a 12 to 14-inch skillet screaming hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, 2 tuns of the pan. It will smoke. Add steaks and do not turn for 6 minutes. Flip and cook another 6 minutes for medium rare, up to 10 minutes for well done. Remove skillet from the flame and add bourbon. Return steaks to stove and flame the pan. When the fire goes out, transfer the meat to a large serving platter and pout pan juices over the top. Let meat rest for juices to redistribute. Return pan to heat and add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the hot and sweet peppers to the pan and saute them for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pile peppers along side the steaks.

Remove meat from T-Bones and cut into 4 portions. Top with some peppers and pile some chipotle smashed potatoes along side. Spoon dripping juices over meat and serve.

**side note- this WILL I mean I GUARANTEE it will cause a lot of smoke. Open windos and turn off the smoke detector if you can!!










Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Herbs, and Lemon




One of  my favorite things to cook is whole roasted chicken. I know some people will think that is crazy. A lot of people have a hard time roasting a chicken without drying it out or under cooking it. I don't know if I was lucky enough to get the chicken cooking gene or what, I am not going to question it I just go with it. Luckily Kevin has the steak cooking gene or we would be in trouble!

When I roast a chicken I usually go pretty simple. I pat it dry, salt and pepper it and rub it down with poultry seasoning, pop it in the oven, baste it with some chicken stock from time to time and WALA roasted chicken. Lately I have been branching out and experimenting with other flavors. Stuffing the cavity with herbs or (if I am feeling especially unhealthy) making an herb butter and spreading it under the skin of the chicken. Good but ooooooh so fattening so it isn't on the menu but maybe once a year here.

I see so many recipes using lemon with chicken and none of them really teeter my totter. I am not a big lemon fan. I have had lemon chicken that made me pucker up and look like a fish. So I wasn't exactly hurrying to try citrus. But then I read a few recipes and decided, especially after doing the Beer in the Rear Chicken and realizing that citrus infused is much better than poured all over the top. So I started thinking of the things I thought would go well together and compliment the chicken. Starting with lemon, I knew I wanted garlic, and thyme, maybe a little rosemary too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mini Beef Wellingtons



I have been wanting to do Beef Wellington for quite some time now, but have been a bit nervous about trying. Maybe it is all of the times that I have listened to Chef Ramsey scream at chefs for cooking them incorrectly. I guess I am afraid he will pop out of my pantry and tell me to GET OUT!

So when I saw Claire Robinson make a version of them on her 5 Ingredient Fix I thought to myself If it can be done with 5 ingredients I have got to be able to do it. Plus they just looked so cute and tasty. I printed out the recipe and started thinking in my mind of the things I would like to add to those 5 ingredients to add some extra flavor and make it my own.

I was worried that Kevin was going to think I was crazy (well crazier than usual) when I announced that I was making an "appetizer dinner", but when he heard that I was making the Mini Wellingtons he was right on board with me. Like I have said, he LOVES red meat.

This recipe is a bit pricey since I used beef tenderloin but I wanted to have the right texture for the meat. It was amazing! You could just take a bite and the meat melted in your mouth. I even ate one cold for breakfast the next day. It is definitely a dish I will be making again. Plus now I have the courage to try the real deal. Chef Ramsey.....LOOK OUT!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chicken Cutlet Parmigiano with Warm, Fresh Grape Tomato Topping, Pesto, and Mozzarella

Hello my fine food loving friends. I woke up today in a wonderful mood. Perhaps it was the blue sky out my window, or could it be that last nights dinner was an off the chart winner? Both help, but the latter made me so very happy. I had the whole gang here last night and everyone, I mean EVERYONE, went on and on about how much they loved this meal! 


This recipe started off as a bit of a pain and I began to rethink the plan of even making it. Let me explain, I normally shop at the local Albertson's. I knew I had seen turkey breasts and turkey cutlets there in the past so I was not nervous about finding the ingredients I needed. Boy was I wrong! When I went to do my shopping I could not find a package of turkey ANYTHING in the store. I also could not find a couple of things for some other recipes, but I will just stick to this story for now.


So off I go to the other side of town. Even though I don't live in a very big town I will still complain. I get to QFC and they don't have turkey anything either! Gggrrrrr why do they have to make it so difficult? I tell myself I have all week to get them so I continue on with the rest of my weekly shopping, putting my quest for turkey cutlets on the back burner.


Now fast forward to yesterday, yes I waited until the last minute as usual, and Kevin and I are back at Albertson's. I found whole turkey breasts and legs, but still no cutlets. I know one of the guys that works the butcher block so I asked him what was up. He asks around. All the info I could get is that they used to carry turkey cutlets, which I already knew, but for some unknown reason they no longer do. Now I am a pinch knowing that I am planning on making this recipe that night. I look down and see chicken cutlets. Not that much difference except size really, so I grab them and we get on with the rest of our shopping.


We get home and both grab bags to put things away. When it comes time to start dinner I go searching for the chicken cutlets and can't find them anywhere. I call Kevin to the kitchen to ask him if he put them somewhere and he says he didn't bring them in either. He searched the car and then we both realized we had to have left them at the store. Kevin jumps in the car and heads back to Albertson's. Of course they are no longer there. Someone not only got 2 free pounds of chicken cutlets, they also got 4 1 1/2 inch thick center cut boneless pork chops!


Poor Kevin calls me from the store to ask me exactly what I needed because the butcher was going to cut it for me. He bought the meat and headed home. He is so wonderful, no complaining at all.


Anyway, now you can see the fiasco this recipe started out as. All of that aside, as long as you have all of the ingredients and don't leave them behind anywhere, you should be fine. This recipe requires a bit more work than the last few but I can tell you it is well worth it!


I of course made a few changes to the original Rachael recipe, I can't help myself, but not a lot. I sliced the grape tomatoes in half so they would cook out more and be more like a sauce. It might have not been necessary, but with non-tomato lovers in the house you  have to try to get the tomatoes as close to sauce as possible. As it goes I could have made them the correct way because Jessi asked me to leave them off of hers.


I also kept the onion, garlic, tomato topping simmering for pretty much the whole time I was cooking. I think it came out fabulous, as did everyone else. Possibly they other way will give you more of a fresh tomato flavor (as the recipe suggests) but we liked it this way. Next time I will try to get the tomatoes closer to a fresh flavor.


Kevin helped me as I cooked the cutlets and when ended up with a little assembly line from flouring them to placing them on the baking sheet to place in the oven to broil. Here is what they looked like at this point. 



Don't they look good? I was so excited by this point that almost wanted to just eat one before they went under the broiler.

I made a simple side of asparagus and dinner was ready! I think next time I will make my homemade pesto instead of using the store bought kind. Fresh just has so much more flavor.


Chicken Cutlet Parmigiano with Warm, Fresh Grape Tomato Topping, Pesto, and Mozzarella


2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some for shallow frying
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 flat leaf parley leaves, chopped
2 pounds chicken breast cutlets
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 cup store bought good quality pesto
1 large ball fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated


For the grape tomato topping, preheat a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, set up the breading station for the cutlets. Place the flour in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, thoroughly beat the eggs with a splash of water. In the third dish mix the bread crumbs, Parmigiano, and parsley. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large skillet, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides and turn lightly in the flour. Thoroughly coat the cutlets in the egg, and then the bread crumb mixture, and add to the hot oil. Cook the cutlets in a single layer, in 2 batches if necessary,  for 3 or 4 minutes per side, until the juices run clear and the breading is evenly browned. Remove the cooked cutlets to a plate lined with a paper towel.

To the skillet with the onions and grape tomatoes add the white wine or chicken stock. Cook stirring occasionally until the tomatoes burst and the wine is reduced by half.

Preheat broiler.

Arrange the cooked cutlets on a cookie sheet. Top each cutlet with a little of the warm tomato topping, top that with a little pesto, then top that with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese. Place the cookie sheet under the broiler and broil until the cheese warms and melts but has not browned. Serve immediately.






Saturday, August 20, 2011

Prosciutto, Garlic, and Herb Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Tarragon Pan Sauce


WOW what a mouthful right? Well that is EXACTLY what you will think when you eat this chicken.....WOW. To use Rachael's words YUMMMO!!! From the small list of ingredients, to the simplicity of the recipe, to the combination of the flavors, this recipe has it all. All of the things that make a recipe awesome. The hardest thing about this recipe is pounding the chicken out and thats what I have my handy dandy sous chef/boyfriend Kevin for. I am a lucky girl!

This is one of those recipes that just made me hungry reading the ingredients. You know how some recipes just click in your head, while others you may see a few things on the list that are kind of "iffy" to you but the recipe as a whole sounds good? This is definitely the former! It was great from reading, to making, to eating. 

Jessi said she wasn't fond of it the "her palate must be to immature to appreciate it" but in between a lot of "mmmm-ing" with a few pauses to say OMG this is good, Kevin's and my palates were having a good time. What is funny, well kind of, is that I was so excited about making this recipe that I forgot to plan a side dish. So as the chicken is merrily sizzling away in the pan I all of a sudden realized YIKES I need something to go on the plate with this awesome chicken. I ransacked my pantry but my mind was blank so I hesitantly grabbed a bagged pasta side dish that I had in the pantry as an easy make for my Dad or Jessi on a night that Kevin and I aren't home to cook. Kevin threw it together and plopped it on the plate with the chicken. Kevin took one bite of it after he had been eating the chicken and said, "That stuff doesn't even belong on the same plate as this chicken"! Jessi's under developed palate thought it was awesome. I can't believe that is how I used to cook, if you can call it that, let alone eat for a lot of years.

I stuck pretty close to the recipe on this one. I used two slices of prosciutto per breast and a well rounded tablespoon of cheese. I also used two well rounded tablespoons of chopped tarragon leaves. Kevin pounded the chicken out to somewhere between 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch thickness and I cooked it for about 5 minutes per the four sides. It came out perfect. The cheese was nice and warm and creamy and the chicken was a little crispy on the outside. I fell in love with the tarragon too!






Prosciutto, Garlic, and Herb Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Tarragon Pan Sauce




Ingredients

4 6 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts halves

4 slices prosciutto di parma

4 ounces (1/2 cup) garlic and herb cheese, such as Boursin

3 tablespoons EVOO

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped




Directions

Place a chicken breast in the center of a plastic food storage bag or 2 large sheets of wax paper. Pound out chicken from the center of the bag outward using a heavy bottomed skillet or mallet. Be firm but controlled with your strokes. Repeat with the 3 remaining breasts.




Place one slice of prosciutto on top of each pounded chicken breast. Place a quarter of the garlic and herb cheese on top of each prosciutto slice. Wrap and roll the chicken over the stuffing. Secure the meat with toothpicks. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Season the stuffed rolled chicken with salt and pepper. Add the breasts to the pan and brown on all sides cooking for 10 to 20 minutes. The meat will cook quicker because it is thin. Remove the breasts; add the butter to the pan, then the flour. Cook for a minute, whisk in the white wine and reduce for another minute. Whisk in the stock and tarragon and return the chicken to the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer until ready to serve. Remove the toothpicks and serve whole or sliced.




4 servings




Friday, August 19, 2011

Food Star Friday - Tyler Florence's Ultimate Crab Cakes

TGIF my fellow foodies and welcome to another Food Star Friday. I have been working through requests for the food stars you would like to see me use, but this week I picked my own. I wanted crab cakes and I love Tyler Florence (it doesn't hurt that he is kinda cute) so it seemed a good match to pick the "Ultimate Crab Cakes" he had listed.

I made these the other day when I was in a cooking frenzy. I made cookies, the broccoli soup, buttermilk cheddar biscuits, and these crab cakes. It was 4 hours of cooking but it was a lot of fun! I did make a few "boo boos" along the way. Mostly, I am sorry to say, on the crab cakes.

My first mistake was to go cheap on the crab. They only had the crab in 6-ounce containers, and it was kinda pricey (DUH Bobbi....right?) so instead of opting for the 3 containers and have a bit extra, I convinced myself that a few ounces less would be OK. DON'T MAKE MY MISTAKE! It was not a smart move. Between that and the fact that the recipe says "1 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs made from 4 or 5 slices of white bread" and I, in my infinite wisdom, didn't think to measure the bread crumbs and just went with the 5 slices and assumed that it would be enough. Well like they say when you assume.....ARG (beating my head against the wall)!

But, the saving grace of the story is that Tyler knows his stuff! Even with the mistakes I made they tasted really good. They were hard to cook because they were so loose, and the picture doesn't look too very pretty, but they tasted really really good! And the remoulade is a must make to go with them.


The Ultimate Crab Cakes

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (made from 4 or 5 slices white bread with the crusts removed and processed in food processor)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, plus more if needed
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves, for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 recipe Garlic Aioli with Celery Root, for serving, recipe follows
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Make the crab cakes first so they have time to firm up in the refrigerator before you cook them.

Heat a 2-count of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion gets kind of caramelized. Dump that into a bowl and fold in the crabmeat, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, egg white, lime juice, and cilantro, mixing just until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into 6 fat crab cakes. Put them on a plate, cover, and stick them in the refrigerator to chill.

To serve, heat a 3-count of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the crab cakes and cook for about 4 minutes each side until nice and crisp. Serve on torn butcher paper with fresh lemon wedges and Remoulade.









Remoulade:
2 cups mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cornichons or sour gherkins, minced
3 tablespoons capers, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves
1 1/2 anchovies, minced
Several dashes hot pepper sauce


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.



Yield: 6 servings

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beer-battered Asparagus with Garlic Aioli




Last night I got a wild hair to just make appetizers for dinner. I had mentioned the things I wanted to make to Kevin and he agreed they sounded good and he was looking forward to our "party" menu. We don't entertain much, but I would like to learn more than just your basic "nibbles". I like to be different, what can I say. I also seem to like to frustrate myself and Kevin. The food last night was good but somehow we made it waaaaaaaaay more work I think than it should have been!

The funny thing was I pulled my same old "boo boo" the first time I wanted to make this recipe. I didn't check the TOTAL time and just looked at the cook/prep time (someday I will learn). When I pulled everything out to make it I FINALLY read the whole thing and saw 24 hours inactive....WHAT.....I read it closer......yup...ggrrrrrrrr you have to soak the asparagus in buttermilk for 12 to 24 hours. Back in the fridge they went in their little buttermilk bath and I was left to scramble around to rearrange my menu.

Now, the asparagus has marinated in the buttermilk long enough and I get all of my ingredients out for the meal. I made Mini Beef Wellingtons (that recipe will be posted soon) and the Beer-Battered Asparagus. Between the two recipes it should have taken about an hour if you go by the times listed on the recipes....HA....ummm 2 hours later we were sitting down to eat. Kevin was mumbling as I prepared all of this because I used a ton of dishes while I cooked too (when he isn't my sous chef he is the dishwasher). But he helped me with some of the prep and once things got going they were OK.

Now, our opinion on this recipe? It was interesting, definitely different, the aoili was so yummy. I had a hard time getting the batter to stay on the asparagus so we had a few "naked" fried asparagus spears. So in my mind, and Kevin agrees, it is tasty and if you can figure out the batter issue it would be great. I am stubborn, I will figure this out!


Beer-battered Asparagus with Garlic Aioli

1 bunch medium asparagus, ends trimmed
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated 
3/4 cup beer, lager, or pale ale
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 white cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups peanut oil
Sea salt (I used Kosher )
Garlic Aioli, recipe follows


In a shallow pan soak the asparagus in buttermilk for 12 to 24 hours. Drain but do not rinse.

Combine well the egg yolk, beer, flour, cornmeal, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. In a large deeo sided pot heat the oil to 350degrees F. Meanwhile in a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer to stiff peaks. Gently fold egg whites into batter mixture. Dip the spears one at a time into batter mixture and lay in the oil, being careful not to overcrowd pan. Fry in batches, if necessary. Fry 2 to 3 minutes, turning spears with tongs to ensure even cooking. Drain on paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste, serve immediately with the aioli.

Garlic Aioli:

1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 lemon, zested
4 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt


In a food processor, combine all ingredients, refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri



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