March, 2005

Main

About me

Cooking for Kids

Cookbooks

Recipe Search

2009
  January
2008
  November
  September
  June
  January
2007
  December
  November
  October
  September
  August
  June
  May
  April
  March
  February
  January
2006
  December
  November
  October
  September
  August
  July
  June
  May
  April
  March
  January
2005
  December
  November
  October
  July
  June
  May
  April
  March
  February
  January
2004
  December
  November
  October
  September
  August
  July
  June
  May

 Subscribe with Bloglines
Chicken Brined with Spices
Mar 31st, 2005

Bistro cooking is not a style I cook very often. I prefer Asian, Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, even Italian flavors over the (to me) heavy flavors of French Bistro food. But the French do have a way with chicken, especially roast chicken, so that's why I picked up this Bistro Chicken cookbook from the library. There are several recipes I want to try, but this was the first to jump out at me (it did, it bit me too!).

Chicken is marinated in a tangy brine of mustard, spices, and wine and then roasted till crispy surrounded by a bed of onions. My only concerns with the recipe are that it came out a bit salty. Generally when you brine meat you rinse off the salty brine solution before cooking. This recipe calls for just patting the bird dry and then rubbing it with salted butter. Next time I would definitely substitute olive oil for the salted butter and really concentrate on getting most of the salt solution off the skin of the bird. I don't think I'd rinse it though as you'd probably lose a lot of the effect of the spices. Slice the onion in thick wedges as well, thin slices will just dissolve in the juices coming off the chicken. To make this on a weeknight, make the marinade the night before and add the chicken to it in the morning before leaving.


Chicken Brined with Spices

1/2 cup coarse sea salt
8 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 cup white wine
One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
1 tbsp salted butter, softened


Put the salt, garlic, mustard, cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Add 5 cups of water and the white wine; stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Rinse the inner cavity of the chicken to remove any pooled blood; place the chicken in a large self-sealing plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Squeeze the bag to remove all excess air, bringing the brine up and around the chicken to cover. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the onion slices in the bottom of a medium-sized, shallow roasting pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade. Rub the chicken with the butter and place on top of the onion slices. Roast for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes or until a thermometer reaches 180F when inserted in the thickest portion of the thigh and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken to a platter, surround with the onions, and serve.

-Mary Ellen Evans, Bistro Chicken
Print Recipe

Comments Closed | Permalink


Wine Blogging Wednesday #8
Mar 30th, 2005

Anyone want to participate in Wine Blogging Wednesday this time? The theme is Sicilian red wines and the date by which to buy, taste, and write up some sort of reaction to a Sicilian red wine is April 13th. (Convoluted sentence no?)

You can post an official entry if you want, or just post something here. Come on, it's an excuse to drink more wine!

See here for more info: Vini Rossi Siciliani


Comments Closed | Permalink


2nd Place Cookies
Mar 30th, 2005

Like most workplaces, my work will come up with any excuse to have more sugar lying around. The most egregious example is the tradition of having treats on every floor for every day of December, but I've whined about that one before. The rest of the year we make do with the random Ice Cream Social or some sort of baking related 'fest'. This week we celebrated the 4th Annual Cookiefest, for the first time being held as a judged event.

I wanted to do something different, although I predicted (correctly) that the winning cookie would be some variation on the basic chocolate chip, because that's really what people like best. So I knew mine wouldn't win, but hey you know me, always the rebel.

So here in all its glory is the recipe for the prize-winning* Second Place finisher in the SDRG CookieFest 2005: Swedish Cardamom Cookies.

*Okay, there was no prize. But I think these cookies got the second most number of votes. Let me indulge my delusions of grandeur.


Swedish Cardamom Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

1/2 pound of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of light or dark Karo syrup
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons of cardamom, freshly ground
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder


Cream together butter and sugar. Add Karo syrup and egg yolk, mixing well. Stir in dry ingredients. Roll the dough into 4 small rolls about an inch thick, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for about half an hour before baking. Then it is easy to just slice the rolls into 1/4 inch cookies. Bake in preheated oven, 375F for approximately 10 to 12 minutes.

-Adapted from http://www.hungrybrowser.com/phaedrus/m0831W05.htm
Print Recipe

Comments Closed | Permalink


Cauliflower Curry
Mar 18th, 2005

I love cauliflower. I'll just come right out and say it. It might not be the most popular vegetable, in fact it may be the band nerd of the vegetable world, but hey, I was in band and you gotta stick up for your people. Even if they are a vegetable.

Cauliflower goes particularly well with Indian spices. Here is a vegetarian curry that makes a great side dish for us meat eaters and could probably be a main dish for a meatless meal if you added some paneer cheese or chickpeas along with some basmati rice.

I found two recipes I liked online and kind of melded them together. I boiled the cauliflower with some turmeric rather than putting it straight into the frying pan because I like that yellow color. Plus you can use less oil.


Cauliflower Curry

1 cauliflower cut into tiny flowerets
2 cups water
pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp almonds, soaked in water for 2 hours
2 medium tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
(could add 1 small onion as well)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
oil or ghee for sauteing


Boil the water with the salt and turmeric. Turn off the heat. Put the cauliflower florets in the boiling water. Close the pan and leave it for 3 minutes. Then drain the water and wash the cauliflower throughly.

Blend the tomatoes, almonds, garlic, (and onions if using) to get a smooth paste. Heat the oil in a saute pan and saute the drained cauliflower until it starts to get a nice browness to it. Add all the remaining spices and cook until the mustard seeds pop, then add the almond/tomato paste and the cilantro. Add water if it looks too thick. Cook covered for about ten minutes on low. Eat hot with chapatis or rice.

-adapted from several internet recipes
Print Recipe

Comments Closed | Permalink


Crockpot Pork Stew with Cider
Mar 17th, 2005

I've been enjoyed exploring the world of the crockpot (or the slow cooker if you want to get fancy). The food you make in it isn't gourmet, or at least the food I've made so far hasn't been, but it's warm, homey and very comforting after a long day at work. There's something about cooking a hunk of meat for a really long time that just tastes like comfort.

This particular recipe is quite easy, although it is a lot to pack into my crockpot. I was dubious as I got to the end that it would all fit, but I did just manage to get the lid on and a fine pork stew was enjoyed by all. (All meaning everyone but Jay).

Crockpot Pork Stew with Cider


Comments Closed | Permalink


Spiced and Hearty Vegetable Soup
Mar 17th, 2005

I actually made this back in January, while recovering from the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's triumvarate of gluttony. This comes from the Splendid Table's Weeknight Kitchen email, but really it's just a variation on THAT SOUP. If you've ever dieted you know what I mean, that giant pot of vegetable soup that you're supposed to live off for days. Now that I've totally torpedoed any chance that one of you might want to try it, it is a really good version. And perfect for those days when you feel like you just might turn into a block of cheese (chocolate, whatever, pick your poison) if you eat another bite.

Spiced and Hearty Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 large cloves garlic, peeled
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 jalapeno chile, stem removed
1/2 tightly-packed cup fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander and sweet paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 medium onions, fine chopped
1 zucchini, cut into small dice
1 medium stalk celery with leaves, diced
1 large carrot, thin sliced
2 cups diced Butternut squash or yam
1/2 small green cabbage, cut in 1/2-inch dice, or 2 branches Swiss chard, chopped
28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
Water


Basically you make a paste out of the garlic, ginger, jalapeno and basil, either by hand or in a food processor, and then cook over medium heat in the warmed oil. Add the spices and cook a bit longer then add the wine and boil it off. Then add all the veggies and some water - she suggests water up to two inches above the vegetable line.

Cook partially covered until the vegetables are tender and it all smells and looks like soup. Adjust seasoning to taste.

-adapted from Lynne Rosetto Kaspar
Print Recipe

Comments Closed | Permalink


Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce
Mar 15th, 2005

I've got this bottle of Pomegranate Molasses in my fridge and I've been looking for things to do with it, as I've only used it in one recipe so far (Salmon with Pomegranate Molasses).

So I perked up my ears (if that metaphor works at the computer) when I saw this recipe for Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce posted on the blog Cooking with Amy. She suggests trying it with country style pork ribs by boiling the ribs for 30 minutes and then baking with the barbecue sauce for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. I thought it might work to just dump the ribs and the sauce in the crockpot and let them do their thing. That didn't turn out so well as the ribs are quite fatty and made a greasy soupy mess, and the sauce never got a chance to get all gooey and caramelized. But the sauce is good, and I will definitely try it again in the oven, either on ribs or chicken.


Comments Closed | Permalink


Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
Mar 15th, 2005

Here is an easy to make soup that kind of straddles the line between Italy and Mexico taste-wise: Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup posted by the fabulous Nic on her blog Baking Sheet.

The recipe calls for 2 cans of fire-roasted tomatoes. Muir Glen Organics makes a fire-roasted tomato that is carried in supermarkets around here - they're a good brand overall for canned tomatoes. Nic suggests roasting your canned tomatoes in the oven along with the bell peppers if you can't find these in your store, but I'm not sure you'd end up in the same place at all. The Muir Glen variety at least are roasted over an open flame and they have a very pronounced smoky taste - I've used these tomatoes unsuspectingly before in Italian recipes and been a bit taken aback at the outcome. Anyway since I was going with cans I went the whole way and used jarred roasted red peppers as well.

The smoky flavor from the tomatoes lends the soup a Southwestern flavor and I think you could jack it up with a bit of chipotle pepper in adobo if you like heat. A cilantro or chipotle sour cream would be good swirled on top as well.


Comments Closed | Permalink


Wine Blogging Wednesday #7
Mar 12th, 2005

Wine Blogging Wednesday is an online event sponsored by rotating blog hosts about once a month or so. The idea is that the blog host proposes a theme and anyone who wants to take part posts their results on the predetermined Wednesday either on their own blog, or in an email if they don't have one. Then the host posts a roundup of the whole event.

The theme for this WBW was Obscure Red Grape Varieties and the idea was to go beyond the Merlots, Syrahs, and Pinots and review a wine made from grapes that are rare, at least in your country. The wine I picked was a 2002 Santa Rita Reserve Carmenere from Chile.

Carmenere grapes are originally from the Bordeaux region of France. They were transplanted to Chile in the mid 1800's. Eventually they were pretty much wiped out in France due to this sap sucking mite called phylloxera. The vines in Chile survived, but they were interplanted with Merlot grapes and over time people pretty much forgot that they were a different grapes and just started calling them all Merlot. Recently the Carmenere grapes were rediscovered and Chilean wineries have started marketing single variety Carmenere wines.

The bottle I got goes for around $10 and is made of 92% Carmenere and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It does taste a lot like Merlot, but with a different finish. Jim said the end taste reminded him of Hawaii, and the winery notes mentioned sweet overtones of vanilla, clove and coconut. It has a big full taste, peppery in the middle with a hint of sweetness at the end. I liked this wine quite a bit, especially for the price. It went well with food and tasted good on its own. The winery suggests pairing it with red meats and cheese.

Santa Rita Winery

Info about the Carmenere grape

Wine Blogging Wednesday #7 Wrapup


Comments Closed | Permalink


© 2006, Kafehaus Consulting | kymmco@excite.com