Thursday, July 21, 2011

Avacado - Corn Chowder with Grilled Chicken

I've got to start using Michael's nice camera for my food. This picture and the last several photos have not done my food justice.

This dish was gorgeous served, took less than 30 minutes to prepare (!!!) and will become a staple in my kitchen. IT'S THAT GOOD. Plus, it's a Mexican dish that's actually HEALTHY. Yay!

Also, since this recipe serves four, and I was only serving 2, I used the remaining chowder toppings to make 2 soft tacos for each of us.

For the Chowder:
2 ripe avacodos, divided
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 small garlic clove, cut in half
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (about three ears for fresh) I used a bag of frozen kernels
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 lime wedges

Place corn kernels in oven on broil lightly coated with EVOO. Add salt and pepper. Watch while preparing the meal and remove from oven once corn is starting to brown.

Peel and coarsely chop 1 avocado, place in a blender. Add water, orange juice, honey, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and red pepper; blend until smooth. Place in freezer to chill while chicken cooks.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush chicken with oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Place chicken in pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; rub chicken with cut sides of garlic halves. Let chicken stand 10 minutes; cut or shred into bite-sized pieces. Reserve drippings and juice from chicken pan for use on the tacos, if desired.

Peel and dice remaining avocado. Stir diced avocado, corn, bell pepper, and onions into chilled avocado puree. Spoon chowder into bowls; top with chicken and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

For the tacos:
I cut 1/4 an onion, 1/2 cup tomato and a green bell pepper. I added the remaining red bell pepper that I didn't use from chowder and sauteed them in a small saucepan on medium high.

I individually warmed four corn tortillas in a small stick-free skillet. Use a basting brush to lightly coat both sides of the tortillas with the sauce remaining from the juice of sauteed chicken. Cook on medium heat for about 30 seconds on each side.

I dressed each tortilla with these ingredients remaining from the chowder:
Chicken, avocado, sauteed vegetable mixture and corn. Drizzle a small amount of the chicken sauce on each taco for extra flavor, if desired.

Serve immediately with chowder. YUMMY!

This recipe was adapted from the Cooking Light August, 2011 issue.

Brining a Chicken

I've always enjoyed chicken salad served on a split tomato. I added salt, pepper, parsley, basil, green onion, paprika, ground red pepper and a hint of EVOO on the tomato.
This is the brined chicken right after I pulled it out of the oven and pulled the legs off to eat hot!

There's no other smell like the smell of a roasting chicken in the oven. But it's hot outside, and the last thing I need is an oven set at 425 for over an hour when constant basting is required to provide a moist bird. So to keep the oven closed while it cooked, I decided to give brining a try. Never done it before... So I was very excited!

I quickly researched brining online. Some people advised brining a whole chicken for just 2 hours, some insisted overnight, while others said overnight is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

I choose to brine mine overnight. Here's the recipe I found on
1 gallon warm water
3/4 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
(I also added about 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce)

I cooked a small bird so I used less of all the ingredients listed above. But I didn't measure anything out, I just kinda winged it... which worked out fine.

I roasted the chicken in the oven for an hour and a half on 425 stuffed with an onion, lemon, fresh rosemary and thyme. (Thank you Katie for the herbs!!!)

Kudzu, the pup, and I shared the legs while they were hot. Yummy!

I allowed the chicken to cool, deboned, and made chicken salad.

For the chicken salad:
3 ribs of celery, processed in the food processor
1 apple, processed
1 tbs grated onion
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 cup veganaise or mayo
and parsley

Combine all ingredients and fold until mixed well.

I like to make my chicken salad basic. When I prepare each serving I can add anything extra I would like. This way I can dress up my chicken salad differently for each serving, if I'd like.

Salmon Piccata

Okay so I bought a fillet of Wild Alaskan Salmon at Publix this week. It was fresh, never frozen, had arrived at the store that day, and was on SALE! So half I cooked one day (see the Salmon Pho post below) and the next half I cooked the following day.

This dish was amazing. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

1 Alaskan salmon fillet, skinned, very thinly sliced into 8 slices (8-10oz.)
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour (I used Gluten Free bisquick)
2 eggs (I used heavy whipping cream)
1 cup panko bread crumbs (I used tempura batter mix)

4 tbs olive oil, divided

1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbs sliced shallots
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp capers

Whisk In:
4 tbs cold unsalted butter, cubed
8 thin lemon slices
2 tbs pine nuts, toasted (I omitted this)
1 tbs minced fresh parsley or tarragon

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs (or cream) in another shallow dish. Place panko (or tempura batter) in a third shallow dish.

Dredge salmon slices in flour. Carefully dip slices into the eggs then into the panko. Place breaded cutlets on a rack set over a baking sheet. Cover cutlets and chill to set crust, 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tbs oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Working in two batches (using additional 2 tbs oil as needed), saute cutlets until crisp and golden on both sides, 4 minutes total. Transfer cutlets to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Deglaze skillet with wine and reduce by half, about 3 minutes. Whisk in lemon juice, shallots, dijon, and capers. Simmer sauce until reduced by half, 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Whisk in butter until melted. Add lemon slices, pine nuts, and parsley. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Divide sauce evenly over each serving of salmon.

This recipe was adapted from the Cuisine at Home August, 2011 issue.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wild Alaskan Salmon Pho

This Asian broth is wonderful. Shrimp would be a good substitute if you don't like Salmon.

For the broth, saute:

1 cup sliced onion
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs vegetable oil

3 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
4 cloves
1 bunch fresh cilantro stems
shiitake mushroom stems

For the soup, season:
1 Alaskan salmon fillet, skinned, very thinly sliced (6 oz)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and black pepper
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup very thinly sliced onion
1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup cooked medium rice-stick noodles

Serve with:
bean sprouts
chopped scallions
torn fresh mint leaves
torn fresh basil leaves
torn fresh cilantro leaves
sliced hot chiles such as serranos or jalapenos
lime wedges

Total cooking time: about 45 minutes

For the broth, saute 1 cup onion, ginger and garlic in oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.
Add water, broth, fish sauce, 1 tbs sugar, soy sauce, cloves, cilantro stems, and mushroom stems; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium-low, and simmer broth 20 minutes.
Strain broth through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Return broth to saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
For the soup, season salmon slices with 1 tsp sugar, coriander, salt, and pepper; set aside.
Add mushroom caps, carrots, 1/4 cup scallions, 1/4 cup onion, and 1 tbs cilantro leaves to boiling broth.
Divide raw salmon and noodles evenly between two large soup bowls. Pour broth over both servings. The hot broth will perfectly cook the fish.
Serve soup with bean sprouts, scallions, mint, basil, cilantro, chiles, and lime wedges.
The first step of the broth before I strained and removed the solids. I used baker's string to tie the cilantro stems together.

It's supposed to serve just two, but they are HUGE portions. The remaining was great the next day.

This recipe was adapted from the Cuisine at Home August, 2011 issue.

Sesame-Miso Cucumber Salad

You must try this if you like cucumber salad. It's delicious, quick and easy.

1 1/2 tbs sesame seeds, toasted
2 tbs white miso
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs honey
1/2 tbs hot water
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp dark sesame oil
4 cups thinly sliced pealed and seeded cucumbers

Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cucumbers and toss to coat.

This is one I will keep in the fridge for snacking between meals. Next time I will double the recipe.

This recipe is from Cooking Light.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Potato Cheese Gratin

Okay, Potato Gratin is a dish I've eyed for years. I've avoided it because I have a natural fear, no, let's call it a healthy respect for the mandoline slicer.

But as I flipped pass the gratin my favorite recipe book for probably the thousandth time the other day, I thought, I can bake the potatoes and then gently slice them into thin pieces. Which is what I did. And it worked perfectly.

I prepared this the day ahead and baked it the following morning just before serving it for breakfast. I took it to my bible study, nervous that the thyme and blue cheese would be too much flavor for the morning. And although I recommend serving this with an entree for lunch or dinner it turned out to be a morning hit and the ladies loved it.

2 tbs butter
2 1/2 tbs flour (Pamela's baking mix)
1 tsp chopped fresh or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled, baked, cooled and sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
cooking spray
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add flour, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in thyme and gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk; cook over medium heat until slightly thick, about three minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in Gorgonzola or blue cheese and cook for 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Stir in salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Arrange one fourth of potatoes in bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray and spoon about 3/4 cup sauce over potatoes. Repeat layers twice, and arrange remeaining potato slices over sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Shrimp Tchefuncte

Michael took me to New Orleans last Saturday to celebrate my twenty seventh birthday.

Our first stop: The Palace Cafe on Canal Street. I had this dish over two years ago - and it's exactly what I came back for.

Every bite was like heavenly goodness... Shrimp with roasted mushrooms and green onions in a Creole meuniére sauce served with rice.

"Meuniére sauce?" I asked the waiter. "Equal parts whipping cream, butter and Worcestershire sauce," was the answer.


So I went home and made it.

I found a recipe online and decided to follow it to begin with. Here's what I did:

For the Rice Pilaf
4 tbs butter
3 cups rice
1 white onion diced
6 cups chicken stock

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions and rice and brown over high heat, stirring constantly. Add the stock, bring to a boil while stirring. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and keep covered until just before serving.

For the Meuniére sauce
8 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbs butter, room temperature
salt and pepper

In a large saute pan combine Worcestershire sauce and whipping cream. Blend with a wire whisk over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes. Add butter and continue to stir. Remove from heat and keep warm.

For the Shrimp

3 cups white button mushrooms
1 1/2 lb medium sized shrimp
3 cups chopped green onion
5 tbs butter
salt and pepper

Wash shrimp in cold water and season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a medium saute pan and add shrimp, green onions and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly until shrimp just turn pink. When ready to serve, add the Meuniére sauce and heat through.

To Serve

Place the rice in ring mold or a measuring cup and invert it on the corner of the plate and lift slowly. Spoon Shrimp Tchefuncte around the rice.

In the recipe I followed lemons, hot sauce and heavy whipping cream were called for. I used the lemons and hot sauce but used regular cream. I did not include the lemons and hot sauce in the recipe above because I don't recommend using them. The turn out was a little too acidic than I hoped for, so I think omitting the hot sauce and lemons will help that.
Also, the heavy whipping cream will help to make the sauce sweeter, so I would use it in place of the regular cream next time.