Friday, March 28, 2008

Chicken Thighs with Rice Pilaf & Bonus Recipe

Boneless, skinless thighs are a good thing, but I still prefer the bone-in, skin on variety. They are more flavorful.

What we do for this dish is season trim the excess fat, and season the thighs with salt & pepper. Brown in a dutch oven with a little oil, skin side down until well browned, maybe ten minutes. Don't move the thighs for at least five minutes. Turn and brown the other side.

Remove from the pot and dump out all but a couple of tablespoons of the fat/oil. Brown the vegetables, some combination of peppers, carrots, onions, celery, leeks, tomatoes, etc. The "Cajun Trinity" of onions, bell peppers, and celery is always a good complnation. I always make sure I have some bright red and bright green vegetables. It looks nice.

Remove the skin from the thighs and discard.

Add the rice and saute for about two minutes. Toss in some garlic for another thirty seconds or so, then add chicken stock and thighs, along with any accumulated juices.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest for another 15 minutes. Don't peak!

Fluff & serve.

Bonus Recipe

My brother-in-law Frank sent us this Brussels sprout recipe. It's similar to Laurie's Posh Brussels Sprouts with an added flair. Enjoy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Apples and Onions, with Balsamic Glaze

1 lb Brussels sprouts
6 slices bacon
1 T mustard seeds
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in crescents
1 tart crisp apple (I used a Granny Smith), peeled, cored, cut in crescents
3 T brown sugar
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 C dry white wine
1 T Dijon mustard
olive oil
salt, hot sauce to taste

Trim the root ends of the sprouts, remove dried outer leaves and cut each sprout in half. Toss with a tablespoonful or so of olive oil and roast uncovered in a preheated 325º oven about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove when the sprouts are cooked through and starting to brown and char along the edges.

Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to contain all the ingredients, sauté the bacon until just starting to crisp at the edges and remove to drain on paper towel. Pour all but 1 T of the bacon grease from the pan and discard. Add the mustard seeds to the pan and stir over medium high heat until they start to pop. Add the onions and apples, lower the heat to medium and sauté , stirring occasionally, until starting to turn soft, about 5 or 6 minutes. Stir in the sugar, wine and vinegar, raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring, several minutes until the liquid is reduced to a syrup. Remove from heat and stir in the mustard.

Chop the bacon and add it to the pan, then add the sprouts to the pan and stir and toss to combine. Correct seasoning. May be served immediately or at room temperature.

Note: to make ahead, slightly undercook the sprouts so they will finish cooking when reheated.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Salmon with Agrodolce Sauce

Laurie is not a salmon fan, but I really like it. She wants to like it, and she decided to make this recipe for me since it contains a lot of flavor combonations she likes, viz. balsamic vinegar.

Cut the salmon filet into 1 1/2 inch sections. Sesaon with salt & pepper. Saute in a hot, non-stick pan, skin side down for ten minutes. Turn the fish and cook for another three until down.

For the agrodolce sauce, saute a red onion in a medimum skillet until wilted.

Add 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and a little sugar and reduce to a syrup, about 10 - 15 minutes. Serve over the salmon.

We also had broccoli and somen noodles as sides. It was quite delicious!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Chicken breasts & rice pilaf

Place the boneless, skinless breasts flat on a plastic (because plastic is easier to sanitize) cutting board and put your palm flat on top. Cut the breast in half, parallel to your palm. Season as desired. I used Ruth Ann's seasoning from The Spice House.

Saute in a little oil for about three minutes per side. I use this All Clad grill pan, but any non-stick pan will do.

NB: Don't pre-heat a non-stick pan dry. The coating begins to evolve fumes at about 500F and starts to break down at 600F.

I used red perrer, carrots, and onions in this pilaf.

Were I using thighs instead of breasts, I'd have finished them off in the rice, but that dries breasts out too much.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Corned Beef Hash sans Corned Beef

We ended up eating the corned beef on Sunday and fininsh the leftover meat in sandwiches on Monday and Tuesday. But that didn't stop me from making the hash with the remaining vegetables.

Drain the leftover cabbage, potatoes, etc., well. Saute a green pepper in a pan with some butter. Add the vegetables and cook a little to get rid of most of the remaining liquid. Spread the vegetables evenly.

Take a lid from a smaller pan and push down hard on the mix. Leave the lid on and cook for about ten minutes. Remove the lid, stir the vegetables, and repeat the process.

The mix turned out great! The vegetables carmalized up nicely (remember rule #2).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Corned beef & cabbage

I never corned a beef brisket before and did not this year. Maybe next year I will. I got this excellent piece of meat from Bunzel's butcher shop on Burleugh.

Remove excess fat. Put brisket in a large stock pot and cover with water. Add salt, pepper, allspice, and a couple of bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for two and one half hours.

Dice vegetables, carrots, celery, onions, and waxy potatoes. Add to pot, making sure that there is enough liquid, and continue simmering for fifteen minutes.

Core and cut cabbage in a lagre dice. Add to pot and simmer for another fifteen minutes.

Serve in bowls with rye bread, Guinness, & Irish whiskey.

See all pics here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New York Strip & Potatoes a la Holstein

I was at Bunzel's today to get a corned beef brisket for dinner tomorrow and picked up some New York strips that were on sale. I usually don't have have time to age steaks, and didn't this time, but it's worth it if you can.

Season the steak with salt & pepper to taste. Sear over high heat for about 30 to 60 seconds per side. Turn the heat down and cook until done. Remove from heat, top with blue cheese, tent, and let rest for about ten minutes.

The potatoes are my standard, fried potatoes. Dice, saute over medium heat in a little oil for 30 - 45 minutes. Add diced onion half way through.

This time I added the "a la Holstein" twist: i.e., crack a couple of eggs over the potatoes, cover, and cook until done.

Everything's better a la Holstein!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pork Medallions, Rice Pilaf, & Green Salad

Cut the pork loin into quarter inch medallions and pound flat.
Dunk them in milk and dredge in corn meal. Saute in canola oil over medium high heat, about two minutes per side. Take care to not over-crowd the pan.

We usually get Parmigiano-Reggiano, but I picked up a Wisconsin Stravecchio Parmesan , which is also excellent. A little creamer, but quite tasty. Pick some up if you can; it's worth a try.

It was my brother Chas who first pointed out to me that "Parmesan cheese does not come in green cans." Maybe that should be a Rule.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Moules & Frites

Is there anyone who doesn't like moules and frites?
Get 1 -1.5 lbs of moules per person. Throw out any that don't close when you tap them. Scrub them clean and de-beard them.
Saute some celery and shallots in unsalted butter in a pot until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the moules, about a cup and a half of white wine, some thyme, parsley and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes.
Scoop the moules into a bowl. Add blue cheese to the sauce and stir until melted. Ladle over the moules and serve with crusty bread and frites.

Now doesn't that look delicious?

That's Laurie's famous aioli.

See all the photos here.

Fried eggs

Fried eggs with toast, large curd cottage cheese, and grape juice.
Heat butter in a frying pan. When ready, add eggs. Cook over medium low heat until they almost look done. If they look done in the pan, they're overcooked. I think that's one of the rules of cooking. Plate.

This is a pizza dough blowing up like a football. I had to poke a bunch of holes in it. We made an Italian sausage, onion, and fontina pizza.