Thursday, December 11, 2008

BB: Coq Au Vin

This weeks choice was brought to us by Bethany of this little piggy went to market. She chose Coq Au Vin. I have never had this before, but had always heard that it was so complicated and took so long to prepare. Like a 2 day process, which seems a little ridiculous. But anyway, this one was simple and delicious! I did a few things different than what the recipe called for, but is that a suprise to anyone?!? I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, I forgot to get carrots when I went shopping, and I omitted the alcohol. I am not a fan of cooked red wine and I didn't have any brandy.

Plus, I ate all the pancetta while I waited for the onions to cook. Oops! Hey, it is on my diet! I served the Coq Au Vin on top of garlic mashed cauliflower. Seriouly...such a good dish. Great choice Bethany!!!!

Olive oil
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions.

In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

BB: Better late than never!

Made it....just by the skin of my teeth! At least on the west coast it is still November 30.

This month's selection was brought to us by Kelly from Baking with the Boys and Judy from Judy's Gross Eats.

Kelly chose Herb-Roasted Onions. I love onions! Michael however does not. Boy is he missing out. Since I waited until the last minute, I thought I would add the onions to the soup that Judy chose. I left out some of the herbs that the recipe called for. Still, I snuck a few before I put them in the soup and they were delicious!

Herb-Roasted Onions

Ina Garten

2 red onions
1 yellow onion (I used all yellow)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (I ommitted this)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves (I ommitted this)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.
For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.

Judy chose Mexican Chicken Soup. I am a big fan of this kind of soup. I was hoping this would live up to my expectations. It fell a little short. I liked it, but it was missing something. I didn't use the cilantro, but that wasn't what was missing.

Mexican Chicken Soup

Ina Garten

4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (I used boneless skinless and I poached them)
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

I liked the flavor that the roasted onions brought to the soup. Overall it was a good mexican inspired chicken soup, but not something I would probably make again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BB: Vegetable Pot Pie

This weeks choice was brought to you by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen. She chose a yummy Vegetable Pot Pie. Now, I have to be honest, I have always been a little suspicious of pot pies. What are the trying to hide under that yummy crust? When it is a chickenor turkey pot pie I always think they are trying to sneek in dark meat. I do not like dark grosses me out to no end.

But this one I had control over. I got to pick what went into it...and believe you dark meat went into this recipe!

Vegetable Pot Pie
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties
Serves 4
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise (I ommitted this)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
1 tablespoon Pernod (I ommitted this)
pinch saffron threads
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound) (I ommitted this)
1 1/2 cups asparagus tips (I ommitted this)
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (4 carrots) (I ommitted this)
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash (I ommitted this)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound) (I ommitted this)
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

I subbed out the veggies for what looked good at the farmer's market that morning. I used broccoli and cauliflower.

For the pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

I made one large pot pie. I didn't have large enough dishes to do individual pot pies. I also added

chicken. And, I cheated...I didn't make the crust. I had 2 pie crusts in my freezer that were about to expire, so I wanted to use them up.

Michael loved it! Woo hoo!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

BB: Easy Cheese Danishes

This is a bonus recipe! Val of More than Burnt Toast referred most people to the Barefoot Bloggers website in October. She chose a dish that I knew Michael would LOVE! Most times when we go to Starbucks he gets a cheese danish. Now that I know how easy they are to make, I will start making them at home! Save $2.50 a trip!

I didn't alter these in any way. I had to take Michael's word for it on how good they were.

Easy Cheese Danish
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 T ricotta cheese
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 - 1 T grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese & sugar in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and cream together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don’t whip!

Unfold one sheet of pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it’s a 10×10 inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters.

Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares.

Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold two opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together.

Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.

Bake the puff pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

Makes 8 Danish

Thursday, October 9, 2008

BB: Butternut Squash Risotto

It was my turn to pick a recipe! When I first joined the Barefoot Blogers, I counted out the weeks to see when I would get to choose a recipe. I was so excited when I saw that I would be in October. I knew right away which recipe I was going to use. Now, this contradicts every low carb thing I have been doing for the past few months, but it was worth it!

Butternut Squash Risotto
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

I followed the recipe exactly (very rare for me!). I didn't feel that the saffron added much, or maybe it was so subtle that I couldn't even taste it. I also would have cooked the pancetta much longer. I like my bacon extra crispy (almost burnt) and the pancetta was stil a little stringy for my taste.

If you are looking for a good comfort food this is it. I love risotto and how easy it is.

Monday, September 22, 2008

BB: Cream of Wild Mushroom soup

Mmmmmmmmm...if it were actually a little bit cooler I think I would have enjoyed it more, but it was warm today. It was delicious, don't get me wrong...creamy and mushroom-y and leaky...mmmm!

This recipe was decided on by Chelle of Brown Eyed Baker. And it was a great decision. This is one of my favortie kinds of soup. I was excited to see that I wouldn't have to do any modifications to make it low carb, either! I got some flack (from my family) for the last recipe not even being close to the origianl recipe. Hey, I have to pick and choose which recipes I want to splurge on. I figure there are going to be some baked good coming up and I know I won't be able to alter them enough to be low carb.

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved
Show: Barefoot Contessa
Episode: Mystery Guest

5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I omitted this)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don't wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.

I cheated and didn't make the stock. I used 1 quart of chicken stock instead. It was still good! I will be making this again during the fall and winter.

Happy birthday to you...happy birthday to you...

...happy birthday dear hubbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuu

So last week was Michael's b-day. It was a milestone one. I think we had about 5 different parties or dinners or weekend trips. On his actual birthday we took the day off work and hung around the house. We went to his favorite pizza place for dinner and then we came home and had cheesecake. It is one of his favorite desserts (he is not a huge sweets fan). I made a plain cheesecake with chopped up peanut butter cups on top.

I went off my diet for this dessert. It was soooooooo worth it!


Adapted From Cooking by James Peterson

Makes one 10-inch cake

Room temperature butter, for preparing the pan
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
8-10 mini peanut butter cups, chopped

Not in the original recipe
1 pkg graham crackers, crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter (melted)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toss the graham crackers, cinnamon and butter in a bowl until combined.
Pack into the spring form pan
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown
Once browned, take out and cool on the counter
Once cool, wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil (to prevent leaks from the water bath)

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar and beat on medium spped with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon until smooth. This should take about 5 minutes by mixer and 10 minutes by hand. With the mixer on low to medium speed, or with the spoon, beat in the lemon juice and the eggs and egg yolk one at a time beating well after each addition. Then beat in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt until incorporated. Transfer the batter to he prepared pan and mooth the top with an offset spatula

Place the springform pan in a baking pan or roasting oan that is at least as deep as the cake pan. Pour the hottest tap water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until only a 1 inch-wide bull's-eye at the center of the cake moves when you jiggle the pan. Remove the cake from the water bath and let cool on a cooling rack for 1 hour. Remove the foil, cover the cake, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours before serving. To serve, release clamp, lift off the sides, and place on a serving plate.

We both loved it. We each had 2 pieces on Tursday. I brought it into the office the next day. They all loved it to. It was rich and creamy and not too sweet.