Archive for February, 2011

February 26, 2011

Chicken Piccata

When it comes to Chicken Piccata, recipes vary a bit on the details, but the basics are simple. Think chicken breasts, lemon and capers. This is absolutely one of my favorites and this is a recipe that has evolved over the years. Some people prefer to bread the chicken while I prefer just a seasoned flour coating. Some people prefer to pan fry the chicken in just olive oil and add butter to the sauce later, I think using both butter and olive oil to fry adds some depth and a lovely golden color. Many recipes choose either chicken stock or white wine, I like to use both. Sometimes I adjust it based on what I have on hand, but this is my favorite combination. I tend to like the sauce a bit more on the tart side. One other note: I buy chicken cutlets that have already been prepared by a butcher to save time, but you can buy boneless breasts and butterfly them or pound them to the thickness you like. Enjoy playing with this recipe!

Chicken Piccata

1 Package Chicken Cutlets (5-6 cutlets)

4 T. Flour

Salt

Pepper

1/3 c. Chicken Stock

2/3 c. White Wine

2/3 c. Lemon Juice (Freshly squeezed, about 2-3 large lemons)

2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped

2 T. Capers

6 T. Butter

4 T. Olive Oil

Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Add flour to a plate and season generously with salt and pepper. Dredge the cutlets in the seasoned flour and set aside, making sure to shake off any excess flour.

In a large skillet, melt 1 1/2 T. butter and 1 T. olive oil over med high heat.

Place two or three cutlets in the pan (making sure not to crowd them) and cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes per side.

Remove from the pan and cover with foil while cooking the next batch.

Wipe out the bottom of the pan before adding another 1 1/2 T. butter and 1 T. olive oil and repeating with the next batch of chicken. When the chicken is cooked, wipe out the pan again and add 2 T. of butter plus 1 T. olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly brown. Add the wine, lemon juice, stock, a pinch of salt and pepper, bring to a simmer.

While the sauce is cooking, make beurre manie by mixing equal parts flour and softened butter (1 T. of each) which will make a paste to thicken the sauce.

Add half of the beurre manie to the simmering sauce and add more as needed. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon when ready, 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken back to the sauce to finish the cooking (about 5 minutes), turning several times to coat evenly.

Add capers. Adjust seasoning as needed. Add the chopped parsley just before serving.

Serve with some good bread to sop up the sauce!

February 22, 2011

Risotto with Orange Juice

Risotto is one of those beautiful comfort foods that can compliment a variety of meals or can be a main dish. Sometimes it can be a little bit rich so it works well with lighter foods. This is a version that has just the right amount of freshness that comes from the citrus. It will definitely be a staple in our house from now on!

Risotto with Orange Juice

(Courtesy of Lidia’s Italy)

3 oranges, with bright, unblemished skins
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup onions, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
2½ cups arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
5½ cups chicken stock, or canned chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt, or as needed
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
freshly ground black pepper

With a vegetable peeler remove the rind from two of the oranges, being careful not to include the white part- it is very bitter. Cut the rind crosswise into thin strips. (There should be about 1/2 cup lightly packed.) Juice the oranges and reserve the juice. (There should be about 1 cup.)

In a heavy, wide 3 to 4-quart casserole or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and shallot and cook them until golden, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Toast the rice until the edges become translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the wine and orange rind. Stir well until the wine is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue to add hot stock in small batches, just enough to completely moisten the rice, and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed. When all the stock has all been added, begin adding the orange juice in the same manner. Stir constantly and adjust the level of heat so the rice is simmering very gently while adding the stock and juice until the rice mixture is creamy but al dente. This will take 16 to 20 minutes from the time the wine was added.

Remove from the heat. Beat in the butter first until completely melted, and then the cheese. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and pepper. Serve immediately, ladled into warm shallow bowls.

February 20, 2011

Homemade Applesauce

Ok, I know you can buy Mott’s applesauce for around $3. Just to buy apples for applesauce will cost more than that. But it will taste as good or better than gramma made! You may save money, based on how much you will yield but that’s not why you want to do it. It’s the taste and a low calorie, low sugar comfort food.

I bought apples at 10lbs for $10 and bought a mix of organic gala and braeburn, but only because those were the sale ones.

6 lbs apples, peeled and cored

½ c cane sugar

½ c water

Juice from 1 grapefruit

Zest from 1 grapefruit or candied grapefruit or other citrus if you have it

½ T Cinnamon

  1. Peel and core the apples. You don’t have to be perfect on this because it will be strained later.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients
  3. Cook on medium low heat for 20 min, stirring occasionally
  4. When tender put through a food mill
  5. Check for the amount of liquid. If it’s too liquidy put back in the pot and reduce. It will absorb a little liquid when it cools.
  6. Serve hot or cold, alone or with grilled meats.


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February 17, 2011

Onions Are Awesome

Really, I mean it. Onions are awesome. They make so many foods better. You can make them sweet or savory. Seriously AWESOME. (Aside from being able to make me cry anytime I am in the same room).

If you, like me, love onions then this Onion Jam is for you! This is something I like to make at least a double batch and keep it on hand. I use it on everything from grilled meats and fish to pizza. If you want something really easy to impress guests, this is it. I have people who mention it for weeks after trying it. Here goes…

Onion Jam with Habanero

(adapted from the Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook)

1 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cups sliced onions

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine

2 tablespoons water

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons Habanero Jelly

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook 5-8 min until soft and translucent.

Add the sugar and cook 15-20 min until golden stirring regularly.

Reduce heat to low and add all additional ingredients.

Simmer on low to medium low for about 20 min until thick and sticky.

Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Serve chilled (or add to anything you love).

Make it. Try it. ENJOY!

Oh and, let me know what you like to serve it with!

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