Monday, January 11, 2016

Chicken Breasts with Rosemary, Pine Nuts, and Verjuice

This recipe requires a bit of planning ahead, but the extra effort makes for a delicious and easy weeknight dinner. This simple chicken preparation gives the chicken a rich, brown crust and packs in plenty of flavour. The salsa agresto is delicious with the chicken, but I think you could be equally happy without it. Verjuice is easy to find in Australia, but if it's harder to find where you are, I think a white wine would be easier than playing ingredient sleuth. Serve with some olive oil mashed potatoes and an arugula salad.

One year ago: (on hiatus)
Two years ago: Tamarind Crab
Three years ago: Pureed beets with yogurt and za'atar
Four years ago: Grilled Sausages with Celery Root Salad and Hazelnuts
Five years ago: Pad Thai
Six years ago: Spinach Quiche

Chicken Breasts with Rosemary, Pine Nuts, and Verjuice (from Maggie's Harvest)

1/3 cup (55g) raisins
1/4 cup verjuice
2 sprigs rosemary
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 chicken breasts, skin on
1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts
1 tbsp butter
sea salt flakes
salsa agresto

1. Soak the raisins in the verjuice overnight.
2. Strip the rosemary leaves and reserve for another dish. Place stalks in a bowl with 60ml olive oil and a little pepper. Add chicken breasts and marinate for at least an hour (or overnight).
3. Preheat oven to 220C. Moisten pine nuts with a little olive oil and roast for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
4. Heat butter until golden brown in a frying pan. Add remaining tbsp of olive oil to pan to keep it from burning. Salt chicken breasts and pan-fry skin-side down over medium heat for 6 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Turn and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked through. Set chicken aside.
5. Discard any butter (or olive oil) in the pan and toss in raisins and verjuice. Deglaze over high heat until liquid reduces by half.
6. Remove from heat and stir in pine nuts.
7. Pour sauce over chicken and serve with salsa agresto.

Salsa agresto
1 cup (160g) almonds
1 cup (100g) walnuts
2 cloves garlic
2 3/4 cups parsley leaves
1/2 cup firmly packed basil leaves
1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup verjuice

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Roast almonds and walnuts for 5 minutes.
2. Blend nuts, garlic, herbs, salt, and 6 grinds of pepper in food processor with a little of the olive oil.
3. With the motor running, add the remaining olive oil and verjuice until a pesto-like consistency.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Porterhouse steak with pan-seared cherry tomatoes

This dish showcases the bounty of summer for a quick and easy dinner that's full of flavour. Even my tomato-averse husband enjoyed the sauce paired with the steak. Be careful when digging in as some of the little tomatoes have a tendency to spray everywhere. I added a sliced chili pepper and a bit of balsamic just to give the sauce even a bit more depth, but I think it would be fine omitted as well.

One year ago: (on hiatus)
Two years ago: Peanut-Crusted Lamb Kebabs in the Style of Burkina Faso
Three years ago: Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za'atar and Lemon
Four years ago: Pork Tenderloin in Creamy Mustard Sauce
Five years ago: Minestrina Tricolore
Six years ago: Corn and Black Bean Tamale pie

Porterhouse steak with pan-seared cherry tomatoes (from The Epicurious Cookbook)

3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 porterhouse steaks (1 3/4 lbs each)
4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 (1/2 pint) containers mixed cherry tomatoes
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 - 2 red chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
1 1/2 cups coarsely torn fresh basil
1 - 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Meanwhile pat steaks dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Sear steaks one at a time, turning once, until well browned, ~10 minutes.
5. Transfer steaks to a shallow baking dish and cook in oven until thermometer reads, 110 - 120F, depending on desired level of doneness, ~6 minutes.
6. Transfer to a platter and let steaks rest for 15 minutes.
7. While steaks rest, pour oil off from skillet and add remaining 2 tbsp. Heat over medium-high heat.
8. Add garlic and saute until golden. Remove with slotted spoon.
9. Add tomatoes, thyme, and chili if using. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes begin to wilt, 2 minutes.
10. Remove from heat and stir in any steak juices from the platter. Scatter basil over tomatoes and add balsamic to taste if using.
11. Spoon tomato sauce over steaks and serve.

Stir-fried Chicken with Lemongrass and Chiles

This was the last dish we made before heading off for vacation in Cambodia and Thailand. I had low expectations for it because it was one of those low effort dishes just to have something to eat before leaving. But quick and easy doesn't mean a dish isn't delicious and the sauce on this dish is outstanding with its pairing of onions, lemongrass, and chilies. I have a vague recollection that we added something green to the mix so I wouldn't have to bother with a side dish and that it worked really well, but I don't recall what it was (maybe bok choy). Happy New Year!

One year ago: (on hiatus)
Two years ago: Loin lamb chops with apricot sauce
Three years ago: Boiled Beef Slices in a Fiery Sauce
Four years ago: Spiced Braised Nyonya Pork
Five years ago: Greek Style Penne with Lamb, Parnsips, Cinnamon and Feta
Six years ago: Spinach and Cheese Strata

Stir-fried Chicken with Lemongrass and Chiles (from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table)

2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
2/3 lb boneless, skinless chicken (thigh or breast), cut into thin bite-sized strips
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh chilies or dried flakes
2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped (~1/4 cup), divided
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise (1 cup)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp caramel sauce OR 1 tsp light brown sugar
5 sprigs cilantro, cut into 2" lengths

1. Combine cornstarch, water and chicken in bowl. Toss to coat and marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in skillet over high heat. Add chicken and stir until edges turn white, ~ 3 minutes. Transfer to plate.
3. Wipe pan clean and add remaining 1 1/2 tbsp oil and heat over moderate heat.
4. Add garlic, chiles, and HALF of lemongrass and stir until fragrant, ~10 seconds.
5. Add onion and chicken stock and cook until onion is soft, ~10 minutes.
6. Stir in chicken, remaining lemongrass, fish sauce, sugar, and caramel sauce and cook until chicken is cooked through, ~ 3 to 4 minutes.
7. Transfer to a plate, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Danielle's sweet potato gratin

It's nearly summer here and the mercury is climbing, but for some reason our vegetable box keeps including sweet potatoes. On the one hand, it's given me a new appreciation for a vegetable I rarely seek out. On the other hand, this dish feels more in tune with seasons in the Northern hemisphere than here where it's expected to reach 40C this weekend. Unlike many Thanksgiving side dishes, this recipe doesn't feel the need to add more sweetness to the sweet potatoes. I paired it with balsamic-glazed steak on a bed of rocket (arugula!) which worked beautifully. In a colder climate, some roasted meat would be a great, comforting pairing.

Two years ago: Sole Stuffed with Crab
Three years ago: Galveston Crab Cakes
Four years ago: Quick and Easy Chinese Greens
Five years ago: Goat Cheese and Asparagus Risotto
Six years ago: Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

Danielle's sweet potato gratin (from Ottolenghi)

6 medium sweet potatoes (1.5kg)
5 tbsp roughly chopped sage or thyme
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
250 ml whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 200C.
2. Wash the potatoes, but don't peel. Cut them into disks 5mm thick.
3. In a bowl, mix together sweet potatoes, sage, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Arrange the sweet potato in a deep ovenproof dish by packing them standing up next to each other. Any extra garlic or sage can go on top.
5. Cover dish with foil, place in oven and roast for 45 minutes.
6. Remove foil and pour cream over the potatoes. Roast, uncovered for 25 minutes until tender. Serve.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pork Tenderloin Roulade Stuffed with Herbed Spinach with a Quick Pan Sauce

This recipe is a little bit fussy, but still quick enough for a weeknight dinner and elegant enough for company ... and you can get out some of the frustrations of the day when you pound out the meat! Don't skip on the pan sauce.

One year ago: Pork Vindaloo
Two years ago: Kale Greens in Coconut Milk
Three years ago: Black Pepper Crab
Four years ago: Red Braised Pork
Five years ago: Chocolate Cinnamon Cream Scones
Six years ago: Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad

Pork Tenderloin Roulade Stuffed with Herbed Spinach with a Quick Pan Sauce (from All About Roasting)

1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tsp thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt and pepper
5 ounces baby spinach
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, dill, and/or basil
2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Regianno
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted and chopped
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 pork tenderloin (1 - 1 1/4 lbs)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp finely chopped shallots
2 tbsp brandy or sherry
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp creme fraiche or heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 3 minutes.
3. Add spinach to pan and pinch of salt. Toss until wilted, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
4. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach and stir in herbs, Parmigiano, pine nuts, and nutmeg.
5. Butterfly the tenderloin by making a horizontal incision down the entire length in the center stopping about 1/2" before you cut the tenderloin in two. Open it like a book. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface and use a meat pounder or small heavy pan to flatten it until 1/4" - 1/2" thick.
6. Season tenderloin with salt and pepper and use a spatula to spread the stuffing over the pork, leaving a 1.5" - 2" border along the far edge of the meat. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll into a tube shape and secure with kitchen string ever 2" to 3".
7. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and sear pork, turning with tongs to brown all sides but one, ~8 minutes total. Turn pork onto the last side and transfer to the oven.
8. Roast pork, turning once after 10 minutes, and cook until thermometer registers 140 - 145F, ~ 18 - 24 minutes.
9. Transfer pork seam side down to a carving board and let rest.
10. Add butter to the skillet and return to medium heat. Add shallots and saute until softened, ~2 minutes.
11. Add brandy, scrape pan, and cook until evaporated, ~1 minute.
12. Add chicken broth and simmer until reduced by half, ~ 4 minutes.
13. Add creme fraiche and simmer 1 - 2 minutes.
14. Slice pork into 1/2" thick slices. Arrange 2 - 4 slices on a plate and spoon sauce on top. Serve.

Basil, Anchovy, and Zucchini Pasta

It feels strange to be enjoying the bounty of summer produce in December, but here with are with an abundance of greens and zucchini. I've never tried growing zucchini so I've never felt the pain of garden overload, but our CSA box seems to want to share it nonetheless. I had a zucchini recipe earmarked in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, but when I went to make it, I realized we were out of eggs. This one became the hasty backup and to be honest, I was a bit suspicious of how much I'd like it. I shouldn't have worried though. It's an explosion of cheesy pasta with plenty of umami thanks to the anchovies. It's also a great quick and easy dinner option for those days when you want to minimize cook time and heat in the kitchen.

Note the recipe calls for small zucchini. Ours were big, so I sliced them before boiling. I've also simplified a bit to only dirty one pot.

One year ago: Lemon Rosemary Chicken
Two years ago: Sole Stuffed Crab
Three years ago: Galveston Crab Cakes
Four years ago: Pork Meatball Banh Mi
Five years ago: Baked Green Lasagne with Meat Sauce
Six years ago: Arugula and Cheese Pseudo Frittata

Basil, Anchovy, and Zucchini Pasta (from Maggie's Harvest - a gorgeous Australian cookbook!)

400g (about 12) small zucchini, ~8cm long
sea salt
500g pasta
extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
12 anchovy fillets, chopped
20 basil leaves
100g freshly grated pecorino

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cook the zucchini for a few minutes.
2. Remove the zucchini with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile, add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a bit of pasta water, and transfer to a serving bowl.
4. Slice the zucchini into 2 or 3 pieces, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and grind on black pepper. Add zucchini to pasta.
5. Toss anchovies in pasta with basil, pecorino, and another drizzle of olive oil. If the pasta need moistening, add some of the reserved water. Serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Herb and Garlic Roasted Poulet Rouge

I'm seasonally confused right now. Allegedly, it's spring here, but the calendar month certainly seems like it should be fall. The weather's not a straight-forward indication either: yesterday it was 32C outside and today it's only 15C. Our vegetable box seems to be sharing my seasonal confusion as we keep getting sweet potatoes and kale, so I find my cooking continually veering towards fall. This dish in particular feels like I veered towards Thanksgiving, especially after I paired it with a roasted sweet potato recipe from Ottolenghi and wilted kale from Nopi. Perhaps it's a good thing though that it was a mini-Thanksgiving feast since I'll be spending Thanksgiving in Madrid and this chicken exceeded my expectations for flavor. Crispy skin, bright herbs, plenty of garlic, and oh so moist. Maybe I should've expected that based on the amount of butter? But my immediate reaction was that I need to make this recipe again. That doesn't happen too often, especially with chicken! It does require a bit of planning ahead because ideally you want to brine the chicken the night before, but nothing is terribly complex. If the amounts feel odd, it's because the brine was originally meant for a turkey (multiply by five for a turkey!) and I scaled down to 1 chicken (the original recipe calls for two).

One year ago: Braised Pork Shoulder with Pears and Thyme
Two years ago: Steamed Fish Curry
Three years ago: Chicken Fricassee
Four years ago: Chipped Beets and Beet Greens
Five years ago: Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
Six years ago: Chocolate Layer Cake

Herb and Garlic Roasted Poulet Rouge (from Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey)

8 cups very warm water
7/10 cup salt
4/5 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 sprigs thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1.6 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1/5 cup hot sauce
1.6 tbsp black peppercorns, toasted and crushed
1 whole chicken (3 to 4 lbs)
3/8 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
2 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced mixed fresh herbs of your choice (I think I had closer to 3)
1/2 large yellow onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

1. To make the brine: In a pot large enough to hold the chicken, combine water and salt and stir until it has dissolved. Stir in Worcestershire, thyme, bay leaves, sage, hot sauce, and peppercorns.
2. Remove the giblets from the chicken and submerge in brine. Add more water if bird is not fully covered. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 425F.
4. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry.
5. Mix butter with 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, minced garlic, and fresh herbs. Set 1 1/2 tbsp of flavored butter aside. Rub the rest of the butter under the skin of the chickens (above the breasts).
6. Toss onion, celery, sliced garlic, thyme, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper with olive oil in a bowl. Stuff chicken cavity with mixture.
7. Rub outside of chicken with reserved 1 1/2 tbsp flavored butter and place chicken in a baking dish.
8. Bake for 20 minutes or until skin changes color.
9. Lower heat to 375F and cook for additional 20 minutes or until thigh reaches an internal temperature of 160F.
10. Turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes until chicken is a rich brown.
11. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before carving.
12. Pour cooking juices into a small saucepan and slowly whisk in flower over medium heat until gravy thickens.
13. Serve gravy over roasted chicken.