My Mother’s Day surprise included a new Ninja Blender today, so to break it in, I made my favorite smoothie.
This blender is amazing. We also made a smoothie with extra ice and it came out like gelato. The blades are so powerful that it can pulverize the ice without melting it, and basically make ice cream (or gelato, or sorbet) in one minute.
I also recently discovered White Cranberry-Peach juice, which is to-die-for. I can’t wait to try it with cocktails once summer gets underway. This sweet juice makes any additional sweetener totally unnecessary for the smoothie. You might also like my favorite peach smoothie.
The book, Chicken and Other Poultry, published by the California Culinary Academy in 1986 was a mainstay in my college apartment kitchen in 1992. So much so, that when I took a guy named John P. to the “Screw Your Roommate Dance” at Swarthmore that year, I made this dish for our special candlelight dinner beforehand. The book describes the dish as “elegant enough for guests, looks impressive, but it actually couldn’t be easier to put together.” It was perfect for a food-obsessed, but novice college chef like me. And if I could pull it off at age 20, and remember what it tasted like lo these 21 years later, this dish is worth adding to your repertoire, right?
I’ve adapted the recipe a bit here to account for all of the changes we’ve seen over the last 20 years. For example, when the book was published in 1986, boneless, skinless chicken breasts were not available at the grocery store, so they go to the trouble of telling you to split, bone and skin the breasts. I’ve boosted the flavorings a bit, by increasing the onions and mushrooms, but the the essence of the recipe is the same: a vermouth reduction serves as the foundation for a classic mushroom cream sauce.
Elegant enough for guests, easy enough for novice home chefs.
Author: Adapted from California Culinary Academy's book, Chicken and Other Poultry by Julie Renaud and Jane Horn
Recipe type: Entree
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
¾ cup dry vermouth
½ pint sliced mushrooms
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp grated orange rind
Wedges from leftover orange for garnish
4 Tbsp flat, Italian parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 200˚F.
In a medium sautée pan over medium flame, heat oil with garlic, being careful not to scorch the garlic. Sauté breast halves in the oil until browned on both sides (about 7 minutes per side for thick breasts)
Remove breasts to an ovenproof serving dish, keeping as much of the oil in the sautée pan as possible. Keep breasts warm in the oven while you prepare the cream sauce.
If necessary, add another dab of olive oil and heat through. Then add the shallot and sautée until softened and turning golden brown. Add the vermouth and deglaze the pan, scraping brown pits from the side of the pan. simmer until reduced by about half. Add mushrooms and quickly heat through. Pour in cream and increase the flame to high. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken. Reduce the heat and season with salt and pepper.
To add the egg yolk, beat it in a small bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of the hot sauce. Pour this mixture into the pan and stir to combine completely and thicken. Keep the heat low so that the egg doesn't curdle.
Add the orange rind and simmer to heat through and release essential oils.
Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle parsley over the sauce, garnish with orange slices and serve. I like to serve it with jasmine rice, to have something to soak up all that yummy sauce.
On a recent visit to Salisbury, MD, I had the chance to visit the Perdue Innovation Center where they are secretly developing the next great thing in chicken. Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, you’ll laugh out loud when you watch the vintage commercial.
For my birthday in January, my husband gave me a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new book Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals. At the time, I didn’t realize that it was going to be part of a whole movement he is trying to ignite here in America. A few months ago, when I first looked at it, I thought, ‘These are easy recipes with real food you’d want to eat,” and I put it on the part of my kitchen counter reserved for cookbooks that I actually use. Now that I’ve seen the television show he has created, I’ve been inspired to use it even more. I’ll be blogging the results over the next couple of weeks.
You can pick up a copy of the book at Amazon, by clicking here:
Jamie Oliver hopes to change the way American children eat by helping school systems revamp their lunch programs and families revamp what’s for dinner. It’s a daunting task, but he’s been successful in his native Britain already. I was drawn to this chicken dish, because I love leek and mushroom cream sauces. I also happened to have all of the ingredients on hand. Jamie makes the process easy by keeping the recipe to one pan and the cooking time to about 20 minutes.
¼ cup long grain or basmati rice (I used brown basmati rice)
1 large leek
a big handful of crimini or oyster mushrooms (I used pre-sliced white mushrooms)
2 chicken breasts (I used the equivalent amount of chicken tenders from the butcher)
a pat of butter
a glass of white wine
freshly ground black pepper
a bunch of fresh parsley
1¾ cups heavy cream
Pour boiling water from the kettle into a 2 quart saucepan, place on a high heat and add a pinch of sea salt. Add your rice, bring back to a boil, then turn the heat down slightly. Cook for the length of time given in the instructions on the package.
Cut both ends off the leek, quarter lengthways, slice across thinly, then wash well under running water. Slice the mushrooms. Slice the chicken breasts into little, finger-size pieces.
Put a large frying pan on a high heat and add a good lug of olive oil and a pat of butter. Add the leek to the pan with the white wine, a small glass of water, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Let it bubble away for 5 minutes, covered loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Meanwhile, finely chop the parsley, stalks and al. Remove the foil and add the chicken strips, most of the parsley, the cream, and the mushrooms. Stir, bring back to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain your rice. Just before serving, cut your lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the stroganoff. Season to taste.
Spoon some rice onto each plate and top with the stroganoff. Scatter with the rest of the chopped parsley. Serve with the other lemon half, cut into wedges.
For dinner last night, I made baked chicken breasts coated with bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Since I had leftovers today, I decided to fire up my panini grill. I had fresh mozarella, spinach and mushrooms all on hand, so I figured I’d convert the leftover chicken into a Chicken-Parmesan sandwich.
First, here’s how to make the chicken breasts. This is an easy, family-friendly, relatively healthy dish:
Parmesan and Breadcrumb Crusted Chicken Breasts Serves 4
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup milk
8 Tbsp of bread crumbs
8 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Spray small baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour milk onto a plate or into a dredging pan. Mix bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper and pour onto a plate or into a dredging pan (or use a zip lock bag). Dip a chicken in the milk, then dredge in bread crumb mixture and dust off excess. Place breasts in pan and bake for 25 minutes, (flipping halfway through) or until golden brown and opaque all the way through.
To make the Panini:
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup sliced raw mushrooms
pinch of garlic pepper
1/4 cup Tomato-basil sauce from a jar
A smattering of raw baby spinach leaves
1 chicken breast prepared as above, cut into pieces that fit on your bread
Thick slices of fresh mozarella (I used 3 – 4 oz)
1. Preheat panini press to medium high heat. Heat olive oil is small sautée pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Mushrooms should never enter a pan quietly. There should be a sizzle. Sautée until liquid is released and mushrooms are starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. To assemble the panini: Slice bread in half and smear tomato sauce on both halves of the bread. Add a layer of spinach to the bottom. Then lay chicken breast on top of the spinach, the mushrooms on top of the chicken and the mozzarella on top of that. Top with other slice of bread and put sandwich in the panini press. Adjust the temperature so as not to burn the bread while you are heating the sandwich enough for the mozarella to melt. Because the sandwich was so thick, it took 15 minutes for the cheese to melt adequately.
Tools I used for this dish are available at Amazon.com:
In the US, when you exit the highway for a rest and a bite to eat, you choose from among several fast food restaurants and maybe an Applebees. In France last month, when we exited the A10 to placate a crying toddler during a drive from Paris to the Loîre Valley, we rolled into a quiet, 12th century stone village named Rochefort-en-Yvelines. It was the kind of village that is shuttered and empty at noon on a Tuesday because everyone is home for lunch. But a brief walk up a cobblestone side street yielded a delightful scene. There, behind a courtyard wall were tables and tables of people enjoying lunch outside. We had stumbled upon the Brigandville Restaurant at the base of L’église Saint-Gilles-et-de-l’Assomption, a church built in the 11th and 12th centuries.
At this wonderful little spot (described so well in a blog post by Chocolat et Lavande here), my husband and I both ordered the Steak au Poivre, but it was the dish I ordered for my son that was truly memorable. It was chicken in a creamy tarragon, mushroom and Gruyére sauce served over wild rice pilaf. I’m pretty sure I ate more it than he did, the poor guy. Since returning home, I’ve wanted to recreate this amazing dish. It’s taken me awhile because I have trouble splurging on Gruyère cheese, which is $18/lb at our market, and I forget to buy fresh tarragon. But everything came together this weekend, so here it is.
I used a recipe that I found on the Food & Wine website as the basis for the sauce. Several differences evolved as I tweaked it. They use morels and cremini mushrooms, whereas, I just used regular white mushrooms. I used boneless, skinless thighs instead of chicken breasts. And, the Food & Wine recipe does not call for Gruyère, like mine does.
1 8 oz package of white mushrooms (I used pre-sliced)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8-10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1. Heat a large, deep sautée pan over medium high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. They should sizzle right away. Use tongs to open up the thighs and flatten them out. Sautée for about 4 minutes each side. Remove them from pan to a plate.
2. Add butter and mushrooms to the pan and sautée mushrooms until they just start to release their liquid, about 4 minutes.
3. Add white wine and simmer until reduced to just a couple of tablespoons, about 3 minutes.
4. Add chicken stock and simmer until reduced by 2/3, about 6 minutes.
5. Add the heavy cream and the tarragon and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and blend well. Add the grated Gruyère and stir constantly until melted and blended in. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Return chicken to the pan. (While the chicken was sitting, it sweat out a lot of juices. I did not add these back into the sauce because I felt I had gotten the balance of sauce flavors just right, but I imagine you could add that juice back in to good effect). Stir to coat chicken and simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes.
On the treadmill at the gym yesterday, I caught an episode of Guy Fieri’s“Off the Hook” on the Food Network. It inspired me to go home and make my own version of what he was cooking. He was using crushed pretzels and almonds to coat chicken strips. “Brilliant!” I thought. I had chicken tenders in my refrigerator at home, pretzels in the cupboard, and a four-year-old son who wants to eat chicken nuggets every night anyway. So I adapted his recipe to my liking and gave it a whirl. Guy Fieri’s full recipe can be found here: Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders with Spicy Honey Dijon Sauce.
My version is slightly different. I didn’t have buttermilk on hand nor did I have time to let the tenders marinate for long, but the results were still great and my 4-year old actually cleaned his plate (which I neither require nor encourage, but still).
This was the first time I was truly successful at keeping the coating on something frying. Was it the milk that made the difference or the fact that the coating was made of such granular pieces? I’m not sure, but it really worked.
It’s been Pomegranate Week here at StreamingGourmet, and the finale is this Tyler Florence recipe I found at AOL video and posted to StreamingGourmet. You can view the video at the bottom of this post. He roasts a turkey, but since I was serving only 4 people, I decided to roast a chicken. I harvested the rosemary for this recipe from a huge bush in my neighborhood. Go local!
I’m estimating these ingredients because in the video recipe, Tyler is not very specific, but here’s how I did it:
2 Tbsp Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2-3 large sprig of fresh rosemary
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp butter
1 6 lb chicken, washed and patted dry
Salt & pepper to taste
1. To make the sauce, add the olive oil, garlic and rosemary to a small saucepan over medium heat. Sautée for a minute to release the aromatics and then add the pomegranate juice, orange juice, brown sugar and honey and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes until sauce is thickened. It should cling to the back of a spoon.