Memorable Quotes:

"A Bearnaise sauce is simply an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar and butter, but it takes years of practice for the result to be perfect." Fernand Point

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mississippi Pot Roast




Ingredients:
Chuck or Pot Roast 3-4 pounds
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing powder
1 package of McCormick's Au Jus powder mix
1 stick of butter
5-8 pepperoncini
1/4 teaspoons of pepper

Directions:
Trim any large areas of fat from roast as needed. Some fat is OK. Then place the meat into a large crock pot. Sprinkle the Ranch Dressing powder over the meat then sprinkle the Au Jus powder mix over the meat. Place the stick of butter on top of the meat. Sprinkle with pepper and add the pepperoncini.

Cover and cook on low (in crock pot) for 8 hours then shred the meat with a couple of forks. Place the gravy in a fat separator and drizzle some of the gravy over the "pulled" meat.  Serve with egg noodles and pass extra sauce.

So I have to say that this really did hit the mark for both easy of preparation and being very tasty. We made this for the Super Bowl 50 and it was a big hit with everyone. Allright, so it was just me and the wife but the good news is that my Food-Saver has been put to good use. I made 4 individual meal packs with about a cup of noodles, the roast and a bit of gravy. Looking forward to enjoying this again real soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato and Kalamata Olives

Photo by Chelsea




















Ingredients:
2 tablespoon(s) butter melted
6 skinned and boned chicken breasts
1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup(s) butter
3/4 cup(s) marsala wine
1/2 cup(s) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/8 teaspoon(s) pepper
1/4 cup of sliced sundries tomatoes
1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives (hailed or sliced)1/2 cup(s) shredded mozarella cheese
1/2 cup(s) parmesan cheese
2 green onions chopped



Directions:
Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/8 inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Cook chicken in batches, in 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Place chicken in a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish, overlapping edges. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and butter. Reserving pan drippings in skillet.
Add wine and broth to skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper. Toward the end of the cooking, add the sundries tomato and kalamata olives. Pour sauce over chicken. Combine cheeses and green onions; sprinkle over chicken.
Bake uncovered, at 450 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes until cheese melts.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bouchon Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients
1 3-to-3 1/2-pound butternut squash
2 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs sage
1 cup leek, sliced 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup carrot, sliced in 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup shallot, thinly sliced in 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup yellow onion, sliced in 1/8 inch slices
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons honey
6 cups vegetable stock, more if needed
Bouquet Garni made of 8 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, all wrapped in a packet made of 2 green leek leaves
1/4 cup creme fraiche 
Fresh nutmeg
olive oil
fried sage leaves
Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the neck off the squash and set it aside. Cut the bulb in half and scoop out and discard seeds. Brush each half inside and out with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the canola oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck a sprig of sage into each. Place cut-side-down on the baking sheet and roast until completely tender, about 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool, then scoop out and reserve the flesh (discard sage).
2. Meanwhile, using a paring knife, peel away the skin from the neck of the squash until you reach the bright orange flesh. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch pieces (you should have about 4 cups).
3. Put the remaining canola oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat, add the leeks, carrots, shallots and onions and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes. Add the diced squash, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook gently for 3 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to keep the garlic and squash from coloring. Stir in the honey and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and bouquet garni, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.
4. Add the roasted squash and simmer gently for about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches, and puree. Strain the soup through a fine sieve into a bowl. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Let the soup cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
5. Gently reheat the soup until just hot. If it is too thick, add a little more vegetable stock. Ladle the soup into six serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of creme fraiche with nutmeg and top with a couple of fired sage leaves. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil

Monday, January 4, 2016

White Chicken Enchiladas

















Ingredients

10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (See separate instructions and ingredients)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese ( I like the Kraft Tex Mex)
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream ( I use Greek yogurt)
1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies (these are not hot)
1 small can of sliced black olives to garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan
2. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
4. Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
6. Add olives if using.
7.  Bake 22 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

Shredded Chicken
2 boneless skin-less chicken breast halves
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 onion cut into 4 pieces
1 bayleaf
3 cloves of garlic, smashed

Directions:
Add 2 cups of chicken broth and the two chicken breasts to a medium sauce pan then add the remaining ingredients. Place over medium heat, covered for about 10 minutes then lower the heat to a slow simmer and continue to cook covered for 50-60 minutes.
When done cooking, remove the chicken to the bowl of a stand mixer and with a paddle attachment run at medium/low speed for about 90 seconds to shred the chicken breast meat.
Strain the broth and use for the recipe above.

Tomato Soup (Taste of Yum) - from Colleen

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • half of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth (more to thin out the soup at the end as needed)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • cream (optional - to add at the end as desired)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Fry the bacon in a large soup pot over medium low heat until bacon starts to get crispy and browned, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic to the bacon in the pan; saute for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are very aromatic and tender.
  3. Add the tomato paste - stir for a few minutes until you can see/smell the tomato paste starting to brown and caramelize. Add the flour and stir for a minute or so.
  4. Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a bowl and crush them with your hands. Add the broth, thyme, bay leaf, and tomatoes to the soup pot. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree in batches and return to the pot. Add cream if you want.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Individual Chocolate Souffle (Cook's Illustrated)

















Ingredients
5tablespoons unsalted butter (1 tablespoon softened, remaining butter cut into ¼-inch chunks)
cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for coating the dishes
8ounces bittersweet chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped coarse
teaspoon table salt
½teaspoon vanilla extract
1tablespoon orange liqueur, preferably Grand Marnier
6large egg yolks
8large egg whites
¼teaspoon cream of tartar
2tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Directions:

This technique only works for the individual chocolate soufflés, which can be made and frozen up to two days before baking. For a mocha-flavored soufflé, add one tablespoon of instant coffee powder dissolved in one tablespoon of hot water when adding the vanilla to the chocolate mixture. If you are microwave oriented, melt the chocolate at 50 percent power for three minutes, stirring in the butter after two minutes.
1.Coat eight 1-cup ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter, then coat inside of dish evenly with the 1 tablespoon sugar; refrigerate until ready to use. 
2. Melt chocolate and remaining butter in medium bowl set over pan of simmering water. Turn off heat, stir in salt, vanilla, and liqueur; set aside.
3. Bring the 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons water to boil in small saucepan, then simmer until sugar dissolves. With mixer running, slowly add this sugar syrup to egg yolks; beat until mixture triples in volume, about 3 minutes. Fold into chocolate mixture. Clean beaters. 
4. Beat egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar and beat to soft peaks; add confectioners’ sugar; continue beating to stiff peaks. (Mixture should just hold the weight of a raw egg in the shell when the egg is placed on top.) 
5. Vigorously stir one-quarter of whipped whites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold remaining whites into mixture until just incorporated, (see illustrations below). Fill each ramekin almost to rim, wiping excess filling from rim with wet paper towel. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
6. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until fully risen, about 16 to 18 minutes. (Soufflé is done when fragrant and fully risen. Use two large spoons to pull open the top and peek inside. If not yet done, place back in oven.) Serve immediately.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread (The Italian Dish Blog)
























Makes 2 loaves.  They freeze beautifully. You will need two 9x5 loaf pans.

1 cup milk
¾ cup water
⅓ cup butter
about 7½ cups cups of flour (more or less)
6 Tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons of instant dry yeast (fast acting yeast) or 2 packages of active dry yeast 
(I prefer instant yeast)*
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup of raisins (optional)
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, melted 

Combine milk, water and ⅓ cup butter in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are warm (not hot - it will kill the yeast). Remove from heat and stir until butter is melted.

Place 6 cups of flour, 6 tablespoons sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl. If you're using a KitchenAid mixer, attach your dough hook.  Mix for a few seconds and then gradually add the eggs.  Mix and then add the liquids and mix for a couple of minutes. (If you are not using a mixer, just do this process in a large bowl and use a wooden spoon and then your hands).

Add remaining flour until dough clings to the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl.  Add  just enough flour until the dough gathers into a ball.  Knead for about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and set in a warm location; let rise until double, about 40 minutes.

Combine ½ cup of sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Spray the loaf pans with non-stick spray. 

Punch the dough down and divide in half. Roll each half to a 9"x14" rectangle, Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture.  Roll dough tightly and shape into loaves. Place in the loaf pans. Cover; let rise until double, about  40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 F degrees.

Bake at 375 F for 35 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.
To freeze, wrap tightly.