Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Soul warming braised lamb

Braised Lamb with Almonds and mint, barley and roasted tomatoes
I started the Braised Lamb with Almonds and Mint by Mario Leon from the November Bon Appetit last night. It needs to cook for over 1 1/2 hour so it's not something to start when you get home late from work but good for a weekend or to do like I did and cook the night. The recipe is from a Basque restaurant and I wasn't sure what to serve with it. I decided on roasted tomatoes and barley. I know, not traditional but I had more home grown tomatoes I needed to use. I started the barley and tomatoes while I made fig preserves for my Dad's 86th birthday, 11/11/11. Here's the link from Bon Appetit

Basque Braised Lamb my way

~1 1/2 pounds trimmed lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2"–2" cubes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled, cored and pressed 
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 cups canned tomato juice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
small carrots, chopped 
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Season lamb with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook lamb until golden brown on all sides, 7–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer browned lamb to a medium bowl and set aside.

Add onions to same pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and light golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add wine and reserved browned lamb along with any accumulated juices. Simmer lamb until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato juice, chicken broth, ground cumin and paprika and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Return lamb to a pan and re-heat. Add chopped carrot and cook un-covered, stirring occasionally, until carrot is tender and sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Garnish lamb with almonds and mint.

Barley and Roasted Tomatoes

1 cup pearled barley
2 cups chicken stock
6-8 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine barley, chicken stock and a pinch of salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for approximately 40 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine tomatoes, olive oil, shallot and season with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 20-30 minutes. Stir once or twice.

Serve tomatoes over barley with braised lamb. Garnish with almonds and mint.

This was a wonderful combination, rich and warming, perfect for a cold fall night. This dish benefited from sitting overnight, the flavors melded beautifully. Serve with red wine. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Autumn Chicken Salad

The November issue of Bon Appetit is a treasure trove of recipes and ideas. I'm going to make several things from this magazine. Tonight I started a lamb stew but it will be for tomorrow night. I made the Cider Glazed Chicken Breasts Apple Fennel Salad to eat tonight. Here's the link

Cider Glazed Chicken Breasts Apple Salad my way

skinless, boneless chicken breasts 
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 Granny Smith apple
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
3 tablespoons olive oil oil, divided
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
~4 cups romaine lettuce

Preheat oven to 400°. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper; set aside. Cut 1 small slice from apple and finely chop. Transfer minced apple to a small Pyrex measuring cup. Add shallot to bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and mustard. Whisk in 2 tablespoons oil; season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip chicken and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until cooked through, 13–15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, reserving skillet; set aside. Let cool.

Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add cider, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan; boil until liquid is reduced by half, 2–3 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter. Season cider sauce with salt and pepper set aside.

Thinly slice remaining apple and transfer to a large salad bowl; add lettuces. Shred chicken and place on top of lettuce and apple slices. Pour sauce over chicken. Drizzle some vinaigrette over and toss to coat.

This had wonderful flavor. I left out the fennel because I'm not a fan. Feel free to leave it in, celery would have given the salad a nice crunch. The lamb stew smells wonderful and should be better tomorrow. I'm also making fig preserves for my dad so I'll update my blog soon, Enjoy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I love this time of year - pumpkins, fall, changing leaves, Halloween and the holidays coming. Not to mention the end of Dayight Savings time-I love that extra hour of sleep. I was sick last week and was reminded of pumpkin bread but my lovely admin assistant, Jenny, who sent me a pumpkin cake recipe. I decided to make my favorite pumpkin bread and send some to Abigail, keep some and share some with friends. I got this recipe many years ago from the Pacifc Sun, a free weekly newspaper. I could not find the original recipe so I can not give credit where credit is due so I apologize but here's the link to the Pacific Sun.

Pumpkin Bread my way

8 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons unbleached flour plus 3 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon  cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
~1/2 cup water

5 mini foil loaf pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position racks into the center. Spray vegetable spray in the foil loaf pans and sprinkle with flour. Knock out any excess. Set aside.

Combine remaining 3 cups of flour with the dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the pumpkin and mix.

Add about 1 cup of the flour mixture at a time. After it is incorporated beat in about 2 tablespoons water and repeat until all the flour mixture is well incorporated.

Pour the batter into the 5  mini loaf pans, about 3/4 full. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool.

I like to keep it simple but feel free to add raisins, walnuts or pecans at the end.

Mike loved this bread. I'm thinking of frosting it with cream cream frosting and making it more cake like. It's good toasted for breakfast with coffee or in the evening with a cup of tea. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Home Grown Tomatoes

My friend, Cooper, gave me some of the tomatoes from her garden. We had a wacky summer weather wise and lucky for us we still have delicious tomatoes. I had seen a recipe in Food & Wine magazine that I wanted to try that had tomatoes and fish with pasta. Here's the link

Pasta with Halibut and Homegrown Tomatoes

12 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, cored and pressed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
~12 dozen ripe medium tomatoes, chopped with juice
1 small bottle clam juice
~1 pound skinless halibut fish fillets, cut into 3/4-inch dice
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 8 minutes. Add the clam juice and simmer until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Season the fish with salt and stir it into the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes, until the fish is nearly cooked through.

Add the spaghetti to the sauce along with the parsley and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat the pasta. Serve immediately.

This recipe was from an article entitled Rustic Italian Pastas in the November issue. This was the first recipe in the article and we loved it. I think I'm going to work my way through this article and try a few more of these recipes. Maybe Bucatini with Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts next. Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quick Chicken Stew

I was looking forward to the Sunday paper for new recipes. We get 2 papers, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Marin IJ. I usually find great ideas in the Chronicle and in Parade magazine. This week I found a recipe in the USA Today magazine by Pam Anderson. Here's the link:

I wasn't really excited about this recipe but it sounded like it had potential. Since there was nothing else I wanted to try I put the ingredients on my shopping list. I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe and could see adapting with other ingredients like bone in chicken or pork or beef.

Quick Red Wine Chicken Stew my way

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, extra if needed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 medium carrots peeled and cut into small chunks
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
1 package (8 ounces) baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 ounces prosciutto, minced
4 garlic cloves, peeled, cored and pressed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups dry red wine
1½ cups chicken broth
1 package frozen peas with onions, not thawed (I used Birds Eye® Peas & Pearl Onions in Lightly Seasoned Sauce.")
6 new potatoes, rinsed and halved

Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add chicken thighs to hot skillet. Cook until well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until well browned on remaining side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.

Add onions to skillet and saute until softened. Add the carrots and celery (and additional oil if pan is dry); saute until they start to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently and seasoning lightly with salt and pepper, until carrots and mushrooms are well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in prosciutto, garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about a minute. Sprinkle in flour, then stir in wine and broth, along with frozen peas and pearl onions. Bring to a simmer, breaking up peas and onions as they start to thaw. Add chicken and potatoes; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partly covered, about 20 minutes. Stir, turn over chicken and simmer another 10-15 minutes until flavors blend and potatoes are tender.

As advertised this was a quick and easy dish, good for an evening when you're running late like I was. I always like 1 dish meals and this was a good one. Mike and I enjoyed this, a good fall dish. I would make this again and maybe try pork or beef. The vegetables were delicious and you can do different combos. We finished the bottle of red wine with our meal. Yummy! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Early Fall Brunch

An employee of Mike's gave us some homegrown tomatoes. We used some for BLTs and they were delicious. I needed to use the rest soon before they went bad. I decided to roast them and use them for brunch.

Here's what I made:

~1 dozen tomatoes, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, cored and pressed
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

grated Pecorino Romano

Toss together the first 5 ingredients. Roast in a 425 degree oven for approximately  30 minutes.

Make an omelette or scrambled eggs and use the tomatoes as a filling or to scramble with eggs. Serve with bacon and toast or your favorite brunch dishes.

This was an amazing combination and a special brunch. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Out of this world...

I have been enjoying Parade Magazine Sunday Dinner series. I have tried several recipes including Jamie Olivers' and Salman Rushdie's and this past week's recipe from Rachel Bilson. This is one of her family's favorites called Chicken Sputnik.

Chicken Sputnik my way

4 chicken thighs,  skin removed
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
~1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large red onion, sliced thickly
1 large Russet potato, sliced thickly
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese 
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
3/4 cup dry sherry
1 can chicken stock

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and coat it with flour.

In a heavy skillet, sauté the chicken in butter until it is golden over medium heat. 

Layer the onions and potatoes on top of the chicken. Top with the cheese, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the sherry and chicken broth. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through.

This smelled delicious and tasted better. Mike and I totally enjoyed this and wished we had something to soak up the leftover sauce. This dish was wonderful with white wine. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Soup Night

I belong to a group on Facebook called Facebook Foodies. We've decided to do some theme nights and tonight was Tuesday Soup Night. I saw a recipe in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle called 3 Cs Canellini Beans with Chiles, Chicken and Corn. Here the link

It looked delicious and has some of my favorite ingredients in it, chicken thighs, corn, garlic, onions, cumin and oregano. I didn't get to the store yesterday so I used canned beans. It was delicious.

3-Cs Canellini Beans With Chiles, Chicken & Corn my way

3 14 ounce cans of canellini beans, drained and rinsed
~1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, peeled, cored and pressed
2 large pinches ground cumin
3 tablespoons dry Sherry 
3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1 large Anaheim chile, roasted and chopped
1 ear of corn, (see note)
squeeze of lime juice, to taste
Asian fish sauce, optional to taste

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and quickly brown all over. Transfer to a plate.

Add onion to pot, with a little more oil if needed; cook until softened. Add garlic, cook briefly until aromatic, then add cumin, stirring. Add sherry, chicken broth, beans, oregano and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and add the reserved chicken to finish cooking with the chiles and the corn kernels. Continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.  Taste and add some white wine or water if more liquid is needed. Season to taste with salt, pepper, lime juice and fish sauce.

This note is from the Chronicle and worked well: Remove all but the most innermost leaves from the corn. Microwave the corn at high for 1-2 minutes. This makes it easy to remove the silk and cut the kernels from the cob.

Mike and I had some warm whole wheat bread and butter with the soup. He was raving and had seconds.  I had a glass (or two) of Chardonnay which was delicious with the soup and cut some of the heat. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mom's Turkey Tetrazzini

This dish is one of my family's favorites. We also called it chicken spaghetti, although my mom now prefers capellini. My sister and I always ask my mom to make it. My brother-in-law loves it and so does Mike. Abigail also asks for it when she visits my parents. I don't usually make it because I like it when my mom makes it for me but I had some leftover turkey breast and homegrown tomatoes from a friend and this dish could use up both. Plus it was rainy and cold here and this is the perfect comfort food. Of course I had to California-ize it because I wanted to use fresh ingredients and not canned. My mom will also cook a whole chicken to make this dish but leftovers work great too. This recipe makes alot but you'll be glad for the leftovers or invite your friends and family over.

Mom's Turkey Tetrazzini my way

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups skim milk
5 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6-8 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
6-8 large mushrooms, sliced
1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 pound chopped cooked turkey or chicken
12 ounces capellini
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
~1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bring large pot of salted water to boil.

Bechamel sauce:

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add 3 tablespoons flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Adjust heat to medium and slowly whisk in milk. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Add cheese and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and add 2 tablespoons flour over medium low heat until tick. Add mustard and stir. Mix in tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, bechamel sauce, chicken stock and turkey. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for15-20 minutes.

Cook capellini for about 3 minutes until al dente. Combine pasta and sauce. Top with parmesan cheese.

Thia was delicious and hit the spot but it was not Mom's so something was lacking, maybe Campbell's cream of mushroom soup? Maybe just Mom? Enjoy!