Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cookin' with gas...

Chicken Saltimbocca, potato gratin and green beans.

Saltimbocca is chicken breast pounded out pretty thin, about 1/8 of an inch, and topped with fresh sage and prosciutto then rolled back together and secured with a toothpick.  You then brown on both sides in a skillet with a tablespoon or two each of butter and olive oil.  Cover and let the chicken cook through for 5-10 minutes or so (it depends on the size of the chicken and how thin you pounded it out).  I removed the chicken from the pan and deglazed with a little chicken stock and a squeeze of lemon juice, let it reduce a little and swirl in about a tablespoon or so of butter off the heat, pour over chicken.

Potato gratin
This is probably the best potato dish there is.  It's thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes layered in a gratin dish with salt, pepper and heavy cream between the layers then finished with cream just barely covering on top and a couple pieces of butter so it browns nicely.  After layering all the ingredients in the gratin dish cover it with aluminum foil and bake it in a 375 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with the tip of a knife.  Remove the foil and let it cook until it's all bubbly around the edges and the top is browned.  

Roasted Butternut Squash, carrots, onions, garlic and thyme.

I made these roasted vegetables and the thyme bread stuffing (below) to go along with a whole roasted chicken.  Talk about comfort food!!

For the roasted vegetables I cut all the vegetables in uniform sizes so they cook at about the same rate.  I tossed them all together with olive oil, salt, pepper and a cinnamon stick just for fun.  Roasting until everything is cooked through and lightly browned which takes about 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven. 

Leftover Spaghetti Cake

I sauteed slices of a small eggplant with slices of onion.  I had ready 2 beaten eggs with a couple spoons of ricotta cheese, salt and pepper.  Add leftover spaghetti to the skillet and toss to heat through.  Add the egg mixture and distribute evenly, let it cook on one side, flip over and cook the other side.  The edges are crispy and the center is soft.  I put a little tomato salad on top.  An excellent lunch that was quick, easy and yummy!

Pan seared Salmon with Puttanesca Sauce and Brown Rice

I actually did my version of puttanesca sauce.  The real sauce has tomatoes, onions, capers, black olives, anchovies, oregano and garlic all cooked together in olive oil.  I heated some olive oil and added shallots, garlic, capers, lemon zest, tomatoes and I think I used fresh thyme here (but you can use whatever fresh herb you want).  

Corn and Basil Risotto

I made a risotto and add frozen corn towards the end of cooking along with fresh basil chiffonade.  It was quite good, I must say...

Sausage and Potato

In a baking dish I combined slices of hot Italian pork sausage, wedges of Yukon Gold potatoes, whole garlic cloves, torn pieces of day old chibata bread, olive oil, paprika, salt, pepper and rosemary.  Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes tossing half way through.  The bread in it is really good, it soaks up the juices and gets a nice crusty edge on it.  I finished with a little fresh Thyme.

Chicken Pot Pie

I sauteed some mushrooms separately to get the best flavor out of them.  I finely diced the vegetables and sauteed them in butter and oil until tender, made a roux with the fat in the pan and poured in homemade chicken stock, add the mushrooms and poured into a baking dish.  I let it cool slightly so the pie crust that I placed on top would stay cold before baking (which it the key to a flaky crust) 

Chicken Salad Crostini appetizer

I was watching John Besh and he was making this dish with crab.  I thought... "I'll do that with the leftover chicken I have in the frig"... He didn't measure anything it depends how mush chicken or crab you have.  I minced 1 shallot, a couple spoons of mayonnaise, a spoon of mustard, a few dashes of white wine vinegar, hot sauce to taste, the whites of 1 or 2 hard boiled eggs finely diced, cayenne, lemon juice, capers, fresh tarragon and fresh chives.  Mix that all together and I chopped up the egg yolks and used that as the base of the dish.  This was very flavorful and a different appetizer.  I may make all my chicken salads like that from now on...

Artichoke Croutons to go with roasted garlic soup

I didn't get a picture of the soup but it is so good, I made it before and I had been thinking about it.  I had a cold last week and it hit the spot!  It's a Chuck Hughes recipe, here it is 

Braised Chicken with Roasted Peppers

This is a whole chicken cut into 12 pieces, season with salt and pepper then dredged in flour.  Brown the chicken pieces in olive oil in a cast iron pan.  Once browned on one side, turn over to brown the other side and add 5-6 garlic cloves peeled and just crushed lightly.  Cut a roasted red pepper into 1 inch strips and the same for a yellow pepper and add to the pan.  Sprinkle in a pinch or two of dried oregano and about 3/4 cup of white wine, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so or until cooked through.  So good, reminded me a sweet and sour chicken from a Chinese restaurant for some reason.

NY Strip with Creamed Corn and Rice Pilaf 

This creamed corn was gooood!!!  It's 2 whole corn on the cobs that are rubbed with  butter and seasoned with salt and pepper, wrapped in foil, placed on a baking dish and cooked for 30 minutes on 350.  Heat heavy cream, about 1/2 cup in a saucepan with about 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger, salt and pepper.   Cut the kernels off and add them to a saucepan.  Continue to simmer together for about 10 minutes to infuse the corn flavor into the cream then add a handful of Gruyere cheese off the heat.  Stir together and its fantastic!

 For the rice pilaf, I had some leftover brown rice.  I heated some butter and oil to a skillet then added a sliced shallot, cook and add the leftover rice.  Cook for 10 minutes or so and add some toasted pine nuts and fresh thyme.

Smoked Kielbasa, Chick Peas, Onions and Red Bell Pepper served with toast.

I made this very fast with some Kielbasa from the freezer.  Sear the Kielbasa in a skillet add onion, slices of bell pepper and when everything is pretty much cooked perfectly add a can of drained chick peas a splash of chicken stock and I finished it in a very French way, with beurre manie, which is kneaded butter and flour added at the end of cooking just to thicken the sauce. 

Eggplant, Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna

Lidia was making this by breading slices of eggplant and zucchini with flour, eggs mixed with milk and the bread crumbs were seasoned with salt and pepper then a lot of olive oil added to make like wet sand.  Bread as you would normally, brushing off excess bread crumbs, place on a sheet pan, then bake in a 375 oven for about 25 minutes until they a partially cooked and lightly browned.  Meanwhile saute spinach just as you would for a side dish with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Layer in a lasagna pan some tomato sauce, the eggplant, sauce, grated fresh mozzarella, grated Parmesan, zucchini, sauce, cheeses, spinach, sauce and so-on until all ingredients are gone.  Finish with sauce, grated mozzarella and then the grated Parmesan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes then remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes or until it's browned on top.

Fresh Sweet Potato ravioli with Trumpet Mushrooms and Cherry Tomatoes

If I remember right, the ravioli filling is mashed sweet potato mixed with ricotta cheese, cinnamon, pine nuts, salt, pepper and an egg.  To make the sauce it's just mushrooms seared in a skillet with butter and oil then add a little pasta water and tomatoes.  Toss the cooked ravioli in with the mushrooms and add some kneaded butter and flour to thicken.

Apple Crepe Tart

I forget who I was watching but they made a crepe batter and had thin slices of apple ready.  Butter the crepe pan or small non stick skillet and pour a little of the batter in, as if you were making crepes.  Once its in the pan add slices of apples to the uncooked side in a fancy layer, dust with confectioners sugar (removing the pan from the heat if it's cooking too fast).  Flip the crepe over and add about 1-2 Tbsp of heavy cream around the edges of the crepe.  Brown on the apple side and cook through the apple which only takes a couple minutes.  Between the butter in the pan and the confectioners sugar added to the apple side, then the heavy cream added at the end you get a caramel.  Flip out the crepe to a serving dish, dust with confectioners sugar and serve with ice cream or in this case Chantilly cream.

Pear Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Homemade sourdough bread and some other things...

After trying to make a sourdough starter a couple times (in order to make sourdough bread) in the past and getting frustrated because it wasn't working, I finally succeeded!!
I was looking on-line for a recipe and I came across one that sounded like it might work, here it is...

After mixing the rye flour and water it looks as you would imagine.

This was after 5-6 days of feeding it each day more flour and water ( I didn't get a shot of the final day).
You can see more bubbles and it's starting to smell like sourdough bread.

I did make the sourdough bread recipe that was given in the link above, but I wasn't happy with it.  I did what the link above says to do which is to put the starter in the refrigerator and feed it, but less often just to keep it going.  I did my own thing and used all purpose flour instead of rye flour (because it was too "rye" tasting).  I also did my own thing and followed Jim Lahey's no-kneed method.  Which is easy as can be but in place of a little flour and the yeast I added about 1/2 cup of the starter and let it sit for 18 hours before doing Jim Lahey's final step and baking it off which is to bake it in a cast iron pot.  It was very delicious!!

I roasted some eggplant and onions.  I layered the roasted vegetables in this baking dish along with some goat cheese, some jarred roasted peppers and diced tomato.  I drizzled some balsamic vinegar and olive oil over it all and let it sit for an hour or so and served it with the fresh out of the oven sourdough bread!

Artichokes filled with mushroom duxelles and a crunchy top
basically you saute finely diced shallots with finely diced Bella mushrooms and after they begin to brown season with salt and pepper, deglaze with Mederia wine and finish with a splash of heavy cream.  Fill the jarred artichokes that you cut in half the long way with this duxelles filling and top with a combination of bread crumbs and olive oil then sprinkle over top.  Bake until browned on top and heated through.

Devil's on horseback
This is dried prunes (re-hydrated with port wine) filled with a whole almond in the center and bacon wrapped around.  Broil until the bacon is cooked and for some reason they serve these with toast points.  I didn't think the toast points were necessary but I read that is what they do in Britten. 

Salad with a crust-less leek tart and Hibiscus flour stuffed with goat cheese
I had a drink recently that had a hibiscus flour at the bottom of the glass.  To recreate that drink at home I got these flowers at the liqueur store and the bottle suggested this appetizer so I did it.

Pan seared salmon with mushroom polenta and peas

Homemade ravioli filled with ricotta, basil and pine nuts with a tomato cream sauce

Deviled eggs topped with radish
I flavored these with mayo, mustard, apple cider vinegar, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper

New York Strip steak with roasted asparagus and roasted Russet potato

Pear cupcakes with caramel, cream cheese frosting and a pear chip