Archive | December, 2010

Off to New Orleans

26 Dec

Zak and I will be flying to New Orleans tomorrow morning and returning on January 2nd, 2011, so I likely won’t be posting for the week.  When I return, I’ll probably have lots of food photos to share.  In the mean time, I hope you all have a happy New Year!

Roasted Garlic Hummus

23 Dec

Looking for a super easy holiday appetizer?  You might want to consider hummus.  It can be made with items found in almost any pantry, with the exception of the tahini paste (and that is carried at your local grocer).  You can leave the tahini paste out or substitute with a teaspoon or so of toasted sesame seeds.  If you can work a food processor or blender, you can make hummus … but I’ve found, over the years, people are really impressed by it because they think it’s super exotic and thus complicated.  Win-win.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

1 19 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, liquid reserved

1 head garlic

5 tbs. olive oil, divided

2 tbs. tahini paste

1 lemon, juiced

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

A few sprigs fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Serve with toasted pita triangles, soft pita triangles, 1″ sections of celery, baby carrots, or anything else that sounds good to you

Preheat oven to 400º.

Cut top 1/4″ inch off of garlic head to barely expose the cloves.  Drizzle with 1 tbs. olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Wrap tightly in a piece of tinfoil and place in oven.  Roast 35-45 minutes until exposed garlic cloves are a deep golden brown and very soft to the touch.

Carefully remove garlic from tinfoil wrapping – watch out, some steam will escape.  Reserve any olive oil trapped in the tinfoil.  Allow garlic to cool enough to handle, about ten minutes.  Remove garlic cloves from peel by squeezing at the base of each clove.

Place chickpeas, roasted garlic, lemon juice, and tahini paste in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  If necessary, scrape down sides of food processor.  With machine running, slowly add olive oil (include any reserved garlic-infused olive oil) until hummus is creamy.  If necessary, add reserved chickpea liquid with machine running to acquire desired consistency.

Using the back of a large spoon, make a depression in the center of the hummus and fill with a tbs. or so of olive oil.  Garnish with a few sprigs of parsley.

Mulligatawny Soup

22 Dec

Just like The Pioneer Woman, from whom I adapted this recipe, the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word “mulligatawny” is the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld.  We are big, big fans of Seinfeld in this house.  Both Zak and I have seen every single episode at least a dozen times each.  We grew up watching it – before I understood what the heck was going on, probably.  The Soup Nazi is still one of my favorite episodes, and it makes me laugh out loud just to think about Kramer describing the delicious mulligatawny and how the Soup Nazi is a misunderstood genius who slaves and suffers over his soup.  Well, this soup requires very little suffering on the part of the chef.

The great thing about this soup is that you can throw just about anything hanging out in your crisper in and have an extremely flavorful and healthy meal on your table in less than an hour.  If you don’t like spicy food, add a little bit less tikki masala and skip the crushed red pepper flakes, as this was pretty spicy.  Next time, I think I’m going to dice up a small tomato and add it, because I think it would work really well with this.

Mulligatawny Soup

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 1/2 cup leftover roasted chicken, preferably white and dark meat, roughly chopped

3 tbs. Brummel & Brown

1 medium red onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup potato, roughly chopped

2 tbs. all natural, whole wheat flour

2 1/2 tsp. curry powder

2 tbs. tikki masala

1 tsp. turmeric powder

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

10 cups homemade chicken stock

1 cup water

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cup Jonathan Red apple, cored and chopped (about 1 medium apple)

1 1/2 cup kohlrabi, peeled and chopped (about 1 large bulb)

1 tbs. cilantro, roughly chopped

1 lemon, quartered

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a medium stock pot, add Brummel & Brown and melt over medium heat. Add diced onion and garlic.  Season with freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt.  Stirring frequently, cook 3-5 minutes until soft and translucent.  Add potatoes and cook 10-15 minutes until potatoes and onions are starting to brown.  Add flour to onions and potatoes and stir to combine.  Add curry powder, tikki masala, crushed red pepper flakes, and turmeric powder.  Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add in chicken stock, stirring to combine.  Bring to a slow simmer.  Meanwhile, whisk together water and plain Greek yogurt.  Once chicken stock is at a simmer, slowly whisk in plain Greek yogurt/water mixture.  Taste for seasonings and add kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper as necessary.

Add chopped roast chicken, apples, and kohlrabi.  Cook for another 10-15 minutes until heated through and slightly tender.  Serve with lemon wedges and fresh cilantro.

Dry Rubbed Roast Chicken with Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce

19 Dec

I haven’t posted a roast chicken recipe in a few weeks, so I guess I’m overdue.  We got this chicken from a local kosher butcher, and while the taste was fantastic, it had a TON of pinfeathers still in it I had to pull out and I probably won’t be buying a whole chicken from that particular butcher again.  Keep in mind if you are buying chicken from a butcher (particularly a kosher butcher) that many pre-brine their chickens, as was the case here.  Because of that, I skipped the wet brine and did not use any salt in my dry rub.  The rub turned out fantastic, though – a perfect combination of slightly sweet and slightly spicy.  As always, for a full how-to on roast chicken check out my post for the Perfect Roast Chicken (just be sure not to brine a pre-brined chicken, it will be over-salted and mushy).

The sweet potato fries were also very good, with a hint of heat from the Old Bay and lots of sweetness from the fries themselves.  The cool tang of the Greek yogurt-based dipping sauce worked really well with them (and the chicken).  I only pictured the fries up top, but there is a picture of the whole meal after the jump.

Dry Rubbed Roast Chicken with Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Dry Rubbed Roast Chicken:

1 whole fryer/broiler chicken, rinsed in cold water with neck and giblets removed (save these for homemade chicken stock!) (3.75 lbs)

1 lemon, quartered

1 Jonathan Red apple, quartered

3 tbs. Brummel & Brown

Dry Rub:

1 tbs. brown sugar

1 tbs. freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbs. fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tbs. fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 tbs. Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp. dried thyme

Combine all dry rub ingredients.  Take Brummel & Brown from above and rub all over chicken, including under skin, in cavity, and on reverse side.  Repeat with dry rub.  Dress the chicken with lemons and apples by shoving deep into the cavity of the chicken.  Allow chicken to rest, uncovered, on roasting rack in refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 475°.

Remove chicken from refrigerator and place on a baking dish on top of a roasting rack.  `Place chicken in preheated oven on center rack.  Roast at 475° for 15 minutes or until skin is light golden brown.  After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°.  Roast chicken roughly 20 minutes per pound (rounding up to nearest pound), or until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh reads 185º.  If chicken becomes overly brown, tent with a piece of tinfoil.

When fully cooked, remove chicken from oven and cover with tinfoil.  Rest 15-20 minutes, which will allow juices to redistribute and result in a tender, juicy bird.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries:

3 sweet potatoes, rinsed and cut into 1/4″ long slices and 1/4″ wide strips

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbs. Old Bay seasoning

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

As chicken is resting, increase heat to 450º.

On a tinfoil lined baking sheet, toss sweet potato strips with olive oil.  Season with Old Bay, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until crispy on the outside, shaking pan every 5-10 minutes.

Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce:

3 heaping tbs. plain Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp. garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and let chill in refrigerator at least one hour.

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Crispy Polenta and Braised Swiss Chard with Cod Poached in White Wine

18 Dec

I apologize for the slow-down in posts this week.  I’m finishing up my first set of law school exams on Monday, so I’ve been preoccupied with studying and have been relying mostly on old standbys for dinners.  Thus, not too much to report.

Today, I decided to spend a little bit of time in the kitchen and wanted to make use of a wonderful present from my future sister-in-law: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.  It’s a book I’ve been meaning to buy for awhile now but for some reason never got around to it.  It was a perfect gift and I’ll certainly be using it as a source of inspiration and recipes for many years to come.  Thanks, Abbie!

This dish was healthy, colorful, and packed with flavor.  The instructions look like a lot of work, but it was really very easy.  Other than the cooking and chilling of the polenta, this dish came together in 25 minutes or so.  I made the polenta yesterday, so there was very little work involved in this dish today.  I loved how it had all the classic flavors of a fish fry thanks to the crispy bread-like flavors of the polenta and the bright lemon of the Swiss chard but very little of the cholesterol and fat.  Yum!

Crispy Polenta and Braised Swiss Chard with Cod Poached in White Wine

Crispy Polenta:

6 cups homemade seafood stock

2 1/2 cups polenta

2 tbs. Brummel & Brown, divided

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

3/4 cup coarsely grated very sharp cheddar

3 tbs. garlic hot sauce, divided

1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Non-stick cooking spray

Bring seafood stock to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly whisk in polenta.  The mixture should be relatively soupy.  Stirring occasionally, let simmer 15-20 minutes until polenta is tender and most of the stock has evaporated/been absorbed.

Add 1 tbs. Brummel & Brown, plain Greek yogurt, cheddar and 2 tbs. of hot sauce, whisking constantly.  Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt and other ingredients as necessary.

Spray a  6″ x 10″ casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray (or whatever size you prefer – the smaller the dish, the longer you will need to chill the polenta).  Pour the polenta into the dish and drizzle with remaining tbs. of hot sauce.  Let cool to room temperature.  Transfer to refrigerator and chill until set, preferably overnight but at least 6-8 hours.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and remaining 1 tbs. Brummel & Brown over medium-high heat.  Add a 4″ x 4″ slice of polenta and sauté 4-5 minutes per side until light golden brown.

Place in preheated 350º oven to keep warm.  If you have a sous-chef or don’t mind a mad scramble at the end of a dish coming together, this isn’t necessary.  Simply wait until the fish is about to come out of the oven and begin to sauté polenta.

[Note: This recipe makes more polenta than you will use for the braised Swiss chard and cod poached in white wine presentation pictured above.  A few ideas for how to use the polenta before chilling include Merlot Mushrooms with Lemon Kohlrabi Greens and Polenta, Stuffed Cubanelles with Chipotle Sauce and Creamy Polenta, and Butternut Squash Polenta with Spicy Spinach and Shredded Pork.  After setting, consider Roasted Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Tomato Polenta and Eggs, and Pan Fried Polenta with Chilies, Corn, and a Fried Egg.  Simply substitute the recipe above for the recipe included and you’ll have a nice meal on your hands.]

Cod Poached in White Wine:

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

1 tbs. green onions, whites finely minced and green ends roughly chopped, 2 tbs. green ends reserved

2 fillets Pacific cod, defrosted if frozen (thicker fillets work better for this recipe)

2 tbs. Brummel & Brown, plus more for buttering

1 cup white wine, chilled (I used pinot grigio)

3 tbs. bottled clam juice, chilled

Water (if necessary)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°.

Butter a small  oven proof cast iron sauce pan with Brummel & Brown.  Sprinkle half of the onion whites on the bottom of the dish.  Season the fillets lightly with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper and arrange them on the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle the fillets with remaining onions and dot with 1 tbs. Brummel & Brown.  Pour in the white wine and clam juice.  If necessary, add cold water to barely cover.

Over low heat, bring liquid to almost a simmer.  Poaching liquid should be shimmering but not simmering.  Cover sauce pan with buttered waxed paper (I used aluminum foil, which may discolor the wine, but I didn’t have waxed paper.  It turned out fine nevertheless.).  Place the sauce pan in the bottom third of preheated oven.  Poach, maintaining the liquid at a near-simmer, for 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.  When cooked, a fork should pierce the flesh easily but the fish should not be dry or overly flaky.

[While fish is poaching, begin to sauté braised swiss chard per below.]

Carefully remove the fish from the poaching liquid and place on a covered dish to keep warm.

Remove about 1/2 cup of poaching liquid.  Place the sauce pan with remaining poaching liquid over medium-high heat and add remaining 1 tbs. Brummel & Brown.  Briskly simmer the poaching liquid until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Braised Swiss Chard:

5-6 stems Swiss Chard, leaves removed from stems, all roughly chopped

3/4 cup reserved poaching liquid from above (can also use 1/2 cup of white wine or 1/2 cup of seafood or other stock)

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 tbs. olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Add Swiss chard stems and sauté until slightly tender, roughly 3-5 minutes.  Add Swiss chard leaves and stir to coat with olive oil and disperse garlic.  Sauté 2-3 minutes until leaves are slightly wilted.  Add lemon juice and reserved poaching liquid and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low, uncovered, and cook until Swiss chard is soft and liquid has evaporated/been absorbed, about 5-8 minutes

Assembly:

2 squares crispy polenta (see above)

2 fillets cod poached in white wine (see above)

3 cups braised Swiss chard (see above)

2 tbs. green ends of green onions, reserved from above

Place square of crispy polenta on the plate.  Top with a heaping serving spoon filled with braised Swiss chard.  Top with fish.  Spoon reduced poaching liquid over fillets.  Garnish with green ends of green onions reserved from cod poached in white win

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