Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicken with Mushrooms

Cooking has been consuming my life. If I'm not cooking, I'm reading cookbooks. If I'm not reading cookbooks, I'm watching Food Network. If nothing good is on Food Network, I'm watching other peoples' food blogs. One of my favorites is called Economy Bites. It's hosted by a chick named Allie, who, like me, cannot cook very well. She invited me to blog one of her recipes - so here it is! Chicken with Mushrooms a la Jenny a la Allie.



Again, this is not exactly Allie's recipe - it's a mixture of Allie, Julia Child, and whatever was on my spice shelf. To see her version of this dish, Click Here!

Ingredients:
4 Chicken Cutlets (Or two breasts, pounded and halved)
1/2 Cup Flour
4 Oz Mushrooms, sliced
A small Shallot, minced
1/2 Cup White Wine
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1-2 Tb Cream
1 Tsp Dried Rosemary
Olive Oil and Butter for sautee-ing
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parsley and Parmisan Cheese for garnish


Put Flour on a small plate and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken cutlet lightly. Heat up a large sautee pan and drizzle in Olive Oil and Butter. When the butter has stopped foaming, put in chicken.

Let chicken sit until it turns white halfway up its side, then flip. Let sit again until entire side of chicken is white; it will not be cooking all the way, but they will simmer later in the sauce. Remove chicken to another plate.

Put Mushrooms in the pan and salt, then sautee until browned. Throw in the shallot and let soften for a minute.

Deglaze the pan with Wine. Scrape browned bits of chickeny goodness off of the pan. Add Chicken Broth, Cream, Salt, Pepper, and Rosemary. Mixy mix. Put the chicken back in - they should be almost covered; if not, add more broth. Let this sit for a few minutes until the sauce is reduced so it covers the back of a spoon and the chicken is cooked through. Garnish with Cheese and Parsley, tuck a napkin into your shirt, and eat.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tomalito

I had been meaning to do this recipe for a while. Whenever I go to Chevys, I HAVE to order something that comes with Tomalito - or Corn Pudding. I always eat it last and in teeny, tiny fork fulls because it's torturously fantastic, but they give you about a tablespoon of it. Meanies. So now I have a pan full!



Ingredients:
5 Tb Buttah, softened
1/4 Cup Masarepa or Harina Masa or Masa Harina... if anyone knows the actual name, please share.
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
1 Cup Corn, buzzed to mush
1/2 Cup Corn, let to live another day.
1/2 Cup Corn Meal
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tb plus 1 tsp Milk. Stupid amount. Just do it.

Preheat oven to 250.

Smoosh the butter, masarepa, and sugar together until it's fluffy. Blend the water and mushy corn together, add to the mixture. Add everything else, stir together and pour into a small baking dish.

Create a water bath by filling a large roasting pan with about an inch of water. Cover the smaller baking dish with aluminum foil, put it in the bath, and put the whole thing in the oven. Rubber ducky optional. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Gobble it up.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Coconut Macaroons

My dad is insane over anything to do with nuts (grow up.) When we get ice cream, he has to cover his in wet walnuts. If we get chocolate anything, his has to be cashew bark. Going with this theme, I crossed my fingers, and ventured into the world of Coconut Macaroons.



And an update on how he liked it - he loved them. *breath out*

Can I say one more thing? These things are FRIGGIN EXPENSIVE around Passover. But seriously folks? An egg, some sugar, some flavorings... nothing in there is expensive. Stop being so lazy, people! Buy a bag of coconut make it yourself. Ok, off my soap box.

INGREDIENTS: (for one batch. I tripled this, those numbers will be in parenthesis.)
3/4 Cup Sweetened Coconut (2 1/4 Cup)
1 Egg White (3)
1 Tb Sugar (3 Tb)
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract (3/4 Tsp)
1/8 Tsp Almond Extract (1/4 Tsp)
A pinch of salt (3... pinches... of salt...)

Preheat oven to 300.

Mix everything but the coconut together. Then mix in the coconut. (Seriously, how easy?) Form into ballies in whatever fashion you wish - I'm sure there is a neater way to do it than I chose. Bake for 35 minutes, or until edges are light brown and the macaroons keep their shape when poked, but they will be a little jiggly. Let cool for 20 minutes before prying off the baking sheet.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Successful! Leek and Potato Soup

Forget the last one happened. Call it intelligence, call it talent, or call it my new Le Creuset Dutch Oven, but I figured out Leek and Potato soup. It's actually a really simple formula, and kinda makes me feel dumb for not figuring it out the first time.



Ingredients:
Leeks
Potatoes
Heavy Cream
Salt to taste

The formula is:
1 cup solids to 1 cup liquid to 1 Tb Heavy Cream

Therefor, if you have like a potato and a leek, you would do 1/2 cup Potato, 1/2 cup Leek, 1 cup water, 1 Tb Heavy Cream.

Or, if you're feeding a huge Italian family, you would use 50 cups Potato, 50 cups Leek, 100 cups Water, and 100 Tb Heavy Cream. Or just go to a restaurant because no one has a pot that big.

Cut up and clean veggies, put them in a pot with water. Boil until mushy gushy in your tushy. Buzz it with an emersion blender or in a food processer or a food mill or between your teeth if you're EXTREME. Add cream and salt to taste.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Leek and Potato Soup

According to Julie Powell, this is the "simplest" recipe to make in Julia's book, but "simple" isn't the same as "easy." Now, when I first read this, I thought she was just trying to sound philosophical. But she was right. Witness me mess up a three ingredient soup.



Now to my credit, her directions say "2 quarts of water." Who thinks in quarts? I then ran to Barnes and Noble and read another of her books that fixes that measurement and calls it 6 cups. Uhm. Thanks Julia. There will be a retry on this one.

Ingredients:
2 Lbs Potatoes
2 Lbs Leeks
6 Cups Water
6 Tb Cream
Salt to taste... or the salt from my disappointed tears.

Peel and cut up potatoes, cut up and clean leeks. Throw everything in a pot and boil until soft. Buzz it with an immersion blender, or in a food processor or food mill. Add some cream, season with salt. Hopefully enjoy it more than I did.

Or if you're Steve, suggest adding bacon and cheddar cheese and make Jenny cry.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Arepas

This is by far the easiest and most rewarding recipe ever. And it comes free on the back of the bag!

PS - After venturing down the Hispanic Foods aisle at Shoprite, I was feeling dangerous and bought some cayenne pepper. I then proceeded to make the spiciest Arroz con Pollo in the history of... well, my mouth at least. And this is bad considering up until now, I had lived on bland Jew food, and black pepper out of a grinder was the devil. But I ate it. I will like spicy food, someday!



Ingredients:
1 Cup Masarepa (I used white, they also have yellow. I don't know the difference.)
1 Cup (ish) Water
1/2 Cup Mozzerella Cheese (or whatever you want. The Masarepa is a pretty plain palette to play with)
1 Tsp (ish) Salt

Mix everything together and fry it in a nifty pan until goldeny brown and the cheese is melty.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Coq au Vin

I asked Jessica what she wanted to make this week, and she said "Coq au Vin." But I thought it would be too expensive because there are two kinds of booze in it. I suggested a few more things - some French, some German, some American - and it always came back to Coq au Vin. So, we went to the liquor store, bought the crappiest six dollar jug of Burgundy we could find, and proceeded to light my dutch oven on fire. Enjoy.



Ingredients:
3-4 Pounds Chicken (we used boobies, you can use whatever you want.)
4 oz Bacon (about 5 strips.)
A shallot (in place of Pearl Onions... read Julia's recipe if you're confused.)
1/4 Cup Cognac
3 Cups Burgundy
Chicken Stock to cover
A bay Leaf
2 Cloves Garlic, mashed
1 Tb Tomato Paste (the recipe says 1/2 Tb, but Jessica made me put more. Peer pressure.)
3 Tb Flour
8-10 Oz Mushrooms (we used baby bellas)
A shit ton of butter... I think we finished off a stick by the end of it.
Salt and Pepper

Boil the bacon for 10 minutes to get rid of the smokey flavor. Saute in a dutch oven with butter until crispy. Remove. Try not to eat too much of it.

Salt and pepper your chicken and sear both sides in the bacon fat. Add bacon back in, throw in a diced shallot. Cover and cook for five minutes. Turn the chicken to its other side and cook for five more minutes.

Grab a lighter and your Cognac, laugh maniacally, and set the chicken aflame. Then freak out and shake the pan around until the flames are gone. Add your wine and chicken stock, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Saute up some mushrooms, fo' shizzle. You can probably do whatever vegetable you want, but Julia said mushrooms. So it has been written, so it will be done. Make a paste of butter and flour.

Take chicken out of the pot and reduce the sauce to about 2 cups or until you're sick of waiting. Throw in paste and whisk vigorously. It'll be thick and saucey now.

Add everything in - chicken, mushrooms, whatever else - and let stand for a few minutes to baste in its majesty. Eat.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Biscuit Battle Concludes! "Joy" Biscuits

I still have more buttermilk left, and I swear I will USE IT ALL!!!

This biscuit recipe is from "The Joy of Cooking." You'd think Irma would be the authority on Biscuits. I actually do not own the book (shame on me), and found this recipe at Hilah Cooking. She gets drunk in the episode. Too hilarious. Here's my shot at Irma's biscuits.



ALTON'S THE WINNER! Of course a Southern boy would win out the biscuit battle. And I still have buttermilk left... now what?

In case you like your biscuits on the drier, cloudier side, here's...

Irma's Biscuits - Ingredients:
1 3/4 Cup Flour
1 Tb Baking Powder
A sprinkle of salt
5 Tb Buttah
3/4 Cup Buttahmilk

Mix it together. Cut it. Bake it at 450 for 12 minutes. Eat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pork Dumplings and Chicken Fried Rice

When I was in high school, we had a German exchange student for a year. We were sitting in choir, and the teacher asked if she understood something, and said something to the effect of "not really," and the teacher asked me to translate for her. And now we're buds. In honor of my friend coming halfway around the world to visit us Jerseyans, we're making... Chinese food. Whatever.

Again, this video is a little wonky... we chose the recipe in the car on the way to Shoprite, so neither of us had much time to mentally prepare ourselves for the undertaking we... undertook. But, nevertheless, here are Pork Dumplings.



Ingredients:
Frozen Wonton Wrappers (Don't make the mistake we did. Please. Don't do it. The angels will cry.)

1 lb Ground Pork
1 lb Napa Cabbage
1 Tb Ginger, grated
2 Scallions
4 Tb Soy Sauce
2 Tsp Sesame Oil
Salt

Put on a pot of water to boil.

Grate the ginger into a tiny bowl and cover with water, let steep like tea while you're doing everything else.

Blanch the Cabbage for a second until wilted - not cooked. You kind of want to feel a little crunch in the dumpling. Unless you're into soggy dumplings, but that's completely your business. Put the cabbage in a colander set over a bowl and smoosh all of the liquid out of the cabbage. Keep for later. Dice up the cabbage into whatever size you want.

In a bowl (we used my Dutch Oven because I had run out of bowls.), throw in the Pork, chuck in the diced Cabbage, minced the Scallions and juggle them in, glug in the Soy Sauce, squirt in the Sesame Oil, sploosh in the Cabbage water, drizzle in the Ginger "tea," and plop in half the grated Ginger for good measure. (Or pick neater ways to do each of those things. Generally you want the ingredients in a bowl.) Mix.

Wrap up in your wrappers and put in boiling water. They will immediately ploop to the bottom of the pot. You know they are done with they float back to the top like they found their swimmies.

Eat with soy sauce or hoisin sauce or make a fancy schmancy sauce of your own.

REALLY QUICK! Explanation of fried rice... I may make a video some day. But here's the gist.

Chicken Fried Rice

Ingredients:
Whatever vegetables you want. I used carrots and celery. Cut into little cubes.
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
4 Chicken Strips (or like a breast), cubed
2 Cups Rice, cooked (obvi.)
Eggs
Vegetable Oil
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Sesame Seeds

Heat up a pan (I used a Cast Iron Skillet... I've read that's the best for stir fries because it doesn't cool down every time you add an ingredient.) and put in some Vegetable Oil. Sear the chicken for about a minute on each side. Yes, they will be raw, but they'll be done by the time everything else has joined the party. Move to the edges of the pan.

In the center of the pan, add in whatever Vegetables you chose and the Garlic. Stir it around until it's lovely and brown. I don't like to overcook the veggies - I want the centers still with a bite. Can you use the term "al dente" with vegetables? Move to the edges of the pan.

Throw in the rice. I've heard it's actually better to use day old rice because it's less sticky, or the stuff you get in a box from a take out place, but I never think that far ahead. Mix everything around.

Make a well in the middle of the pan and crack two eggs in. Scramble the eggs about 3/4 of the way done, then mix everything together so there's a mixture of egg clumps and other ingredients coated in egg.

Sploosh in Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, and Sesame Seeds to taste. I've never measured it before. I'd say about a tablespoon of Sesame Oil, and just keep adding Soy Sauce until its the color you like your fried rice to be.

Food Jammers Review

The Cooking Channel is here... and so far it doesn't look that great. I've only watched a few episodes, but so far it looks like they were attempting to look indie and thrown together and failed dismally.

Food Jammers
This is where the "indie" theme fails dismally. The set up is simple: three (totally not gay) college guys sit around in their eclectic mish mash of an apartment, and cook things in their oh-so-chillaxed way. The problem is that it's completely contrived, lacking energy, and there is absolutely NO chemistry between the three roommates. They literally look like they're annoyed by each other. And one of them keeps looking at the camera to update us after commercial breaks, but his eyes are unfocused... it's more painful than watching kindergardeners on stage dressed as vegetables.

The episode opened with "We're out of beer." You can almost hear the echoes of the writers brainstorming -

Brainstormer 1: Ok, so we have three hip dudes in a totally chickless room, but they're totally not gay. What would they be thinking about?
Brainstormer 2: Boobs.
Brainstormer 1: No, not food related...
Brainstormer 2: Sorry. Breasts. Legs. Boston butt?
Brainstormer 1: Enh...
Brainstormer 2: Alcohol.
Brainstormer 1: Brilliant!

The totally-not-gay-but-really-thirsty roommates then decide they're going to make "pop" because beer isn't sweet enough. They start pondering the problem of thinking up a recipe, all while using a guitar amp as a metaphor for flavor components - volume of flavor, fade of flavor, blah blah blah, I get it, "Food Jammers" is a play on words. For the rest of the episode, they play mad scientists trying to make "pop." (It's Soda, people. Not pop.)

My question - if these three guys are so poor that they're rooming together, own a foosball table, and talk about food in musical metaphors, why do they have so much scientific knowledge? Did they watch too much Mythbusters?

My final verdict - even their friendship wasn't forced and contrived, the hosts are boring. They're not even eye candy. And that's just a sin.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Drop Biscuits

As I mentioned in my Buttermilk Biscuit post, I had to buy about a half gallon of buttermilk. That's all they had. And I only needed a cup for Alton's recipe. The only thing that can remedy this? Have a Biscuit-off. I'm going to try to find as many Biscuit recipes as I can and try to make them all before the buttermilk goes bad. Or I die of a heart attack and diabetic coma.

This recipe is from the book "The Complete America's Test Kitchen Cookbook." Huge title, huge book... I'm addicted to it. I've been reading it like a novel. It's a problem.



While I was filming I couldn't decide which one I liked best, but afterwards Steve brought up a good point. These biscuits are great by themselves - they have so much butter in them that you don't need to top them with anything. But if you want to spread things on them, the others are better. These also are more like dumplings than biscuits, and I feel like for something to be a "biscuit" and not just a "roll," it has to have horizontal flakes that kinda peel into one another. So Alton, I apologize for ever doubting you.

1st Place: Alton's Recipe
2nd Place: America's Test Kitchen's Recipe
1489082349809809857489th Place: Those crappy ass biscuits I made the first time.

Ingredients:
2 Cups Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Sugar
3/4 Ts Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup Buttahmilk, cold
1 Stick of Buttah, melted, plus more to paint on later.

Preheat oven to 475.

Sift dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, cold Buttahmilk and hot Buttah until little clumpies form - I think it's just the butter re-cooling and solidifying. Whatever it is, it's good. Mix wet and dry ingredients together, but don't overmix.

"Drop" the biscuits onto a cookie sheet with an ice cream scoop (The recipe actually says with a quarter cup, but that seems unnecessarily difficult.) Bake for 14 minutes, paint on some butter, and let cool for five more minutes. Try not to stuff more than three in your mouth at a time.

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