Archive | May, 2011

Funky Chicken

27 May

Battle of the ’80s: Neiman Marcus bacon wrapped chicken breast ($100 a package) Large chicken tenders are stuffed with cream cheese and four asparagus spears and then wrapped with Applewood bacon.

Versus:

CHICKEN BREASTS STUFFED WITH ASPARAGUS
Recipes from Best of Bridge Aces
Ingredients:
4 Whole chicken breasts, halved, boned and pounded
24 medium asparagus spears, lightly blanched
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

Prepare chicken and asparagus. Combine butter, mustard, garlic and wine. Dip chicken breasts in this mixture to coat. Place 3 asparagus spears on each breast and roll securing with a toothpick. Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan and parsley together and roll breasts in this mixture. Bake 30 minutes at 350 F. Serves 4 – 6. Pass the blender hollandaise sauce and hear the raves.

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Trader Joes

26 May

Shiny. Happy. People!

26 May

These luxurious, heavy, lovely goblets caught our eye in Palm Springs, and lo and behold, we found them back home. True, they are not lead crystal, but they are stately and wonderful.

Plus. Dig that bottom starburst. We have been dying to use the bottoms as a cookie stamp: coat with sugar and press into dough.

Voila. Waterford cookies anyone?

That’s what I thought you said. ūüôā

Big Island Goat Cheese

22 May

Spring is stirring some island yearnings. Although Tommy Bahama’s take on “Floribbean” tastes are more Palm Beach than Palm Desert, we stubbornly associate this with our southern California visits to the restaurant’s roof top patio.

UPDATE: We just busted this out, but used chunks of mango to make hors’ doeurvre-size bites.
Behold:

BIG ISLAND GOAT CHEESE
Warm macadamia nut encrusted goat cheese served with mango salsa, flatbread and a sweet soy glaze.

Toast chopped nuts. When cooled, roll goat cheese (rolled into marbles or patted into patties) in nuts to coat. Serve drizzled with reduced soy glaze or President’s Choice balsamic glaze.

We’re thinking this Tommy Bahama rub recipe would make a great coating for fish tacos or barbecued chicken for grilled quesadillas/pizza with gooey jack cheese and chunks of sweet mango or ripe peach.

Here is the restaurant’s rub recipe:
FLORRIBEAN RUB
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp curry powder
¬Ĺ Tbsp ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 Tbsp kosher salt
¬Ĺ Tbsp allspice

Petal Pusher

22 May

We swooned after trying this¬†tasty hors d’oeuvre at a gallery party.

A mille feuille flour tortilla cake of portobella mushroom duxelles and asiago stayed with us. And we finally found the recipe in the newspaper archive from the 1990s.

The steamy tortillas became wondefully noodle like, soft but not floppy.

The finished portobello mushroom tortilla cake with asiago cheese was served sliced into diamonds, arranged on platters like flower petals. Perfect party finger food.

Polkadots of smokey red pepper coulis topped each piece. Beautiful.

The same caterer also served mini duck confit-like tourtiere, topped with sweet spiced pomegranite sauce.

PORTOBELLO TORTILLA CAKE

At Florentine, this many-layered savory is sandwiched together with the most delicious, aromatic mix of portobello mushrooms, asiago cheese and aioli. Serve in a pool of sweet bell pepper sauce.

Serves 8

1    package flour tortillas (about 12 burrito-size)

1 small red onion

300 g (or a bit more) portabella mushrooms

3/4    cup grated Asiago cheese

1/4    cup grated Parmesan

1/4    cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, parsley)

1/4    cup mayonnaise (preferably home-made)

Separate tortillas and set aside so you’re ready for quick assembly. In a food processor, chop red onion and mushrooms into a fine dice; Add fresh chopped herbs.

To assemble, spread one tortilla with a light coating of mayonnaise and sprinkle with mushroom mixture. Cover with another tortilla and sprinkle this layer with grated cheese and more mushroom mixture.

Repeat alternating layers until all tortillas are used up. Weight between two plates, with something heavy on top and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Cut into 8 wedges and bake on a cookie sheet at 400F/200C for 15 minutes or until edges are bubbly and outside, browns.

Red Pepper Reduction

This ”reduction” technique yields a low-fat sauce that’s rich in flavor with more texture than some because one fresh bell pepper is pureed with the cooked mixture at the end.

3    fresh red bell peppers, washed and seeded

1    small onion, chopped (or half a medium onion)

1    cup chicken stock (or more if needed)

1/2 cup white wine

Chop two of the peppers and the onion into small dice. Add to wide saucepan with chicken stock and wine. Simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until thoroughly tender and some of liquid has evaporated.

Toss into blender or food processor with remaining pepper, chopped roughly, and puree until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper. Return to heat to warm to serving temperature. If too liquid, simmer until reduced a bit more.

Kentucky Derby Feedbag

7 May

It is to our credit that we have managed to resist buying honey brown earthenware dishes (round, flat bottomed with a handle). Oh, yes, we’ve seen them on our vintage treasure hunts.

And we know damn well what they’re intended for: beautiful, bubbling Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches.

Thanks to the delightful 2002 PBS documentary, Sandwiches That You Will Like, by Rick Sebak of WQED, we were quickly seduced by the romantic lore of this calorie-bomb.

In the 1920s, The Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests for its dinner dance. In the wee hours, booze-soaked, weary guests would stagger to the restaurant for pre-dawn eats. Bored with traditional ham and eggs, Chef Fred Schmidt created this divine mess.

We hold the Hot Brown in high esteem, in keeping with post-midnight fried chicken and waffles, chicken hash with hollandaise, and midnight cheese toasts (white wine soaked ham and cheese).

Next time you’re facing Thanksgiving leftovers, you can add Hot Browns to your repertoire. But we’re also thinking what a great New Year’s Eve snack this would make in miniature. Washed down with some bubbly, of course.

For purists, the hotel’s printable recipe is at bottom. Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain version here:

KENTUCKY HOT BROWN

Mornay sauce:

2 1/4 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (6 ounces)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Few dashes of hot sauce

Kosher salt

Pepper

 

Sandwiches:

16 slices of thick-cut bacon

2 tomatoes, cut into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon canola oil

Kosher salt

Pepper

Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of day-old white sandwich bread

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 pounds roast turkey breast, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (4 1/2 ounces)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Chopped chives and chopped parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425¬į. Arrange the bacon on a rack set over a baking sheet. Cook until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes.

 

In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderate heat for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in both cheeses until melted. Stir in the nutmeg and hot sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the tomato slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil 
6 inches from the heat until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side; keep warm.

Arrange the bread on a foil-lined baking sheet and spread each slice with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter; season with salt and pepper. Broil until lightly toasted, about 
2 minutes. Flip the bread and toast for 
1 minute. Top each toast with some turkey and a slice of tomato. Spoon the sauce on top and sprinkle on both cheeses. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to plates and top with the bacon. Garnish with chopped chives and parsley and serve hot.

 

 

LEGENDARY HOT BROWN
Recipe courtesy Brown Hotel
(Makes Two Hot Browns):
‚ÄĘ 2 oz. Whole Butter
‚ÄĘ 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
‚ÄĘ 1 Qt. Heavy Cream
‚ÄĘ 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
‚ÄĘ Salt & Pepper to Taste
‚ÄĘ 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
‚ÄĘ 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
‚ÄĘ 4 slices of Crispy Bacon
‚ÄĘ 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
‚ÄĘ Paprika, Parsley
In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Taco de Mayo

6 May

Ode to crumbly tacos of yore.

Beef Tacos
Makes 8 tacos, serving 4.

Tomato sauce is sold in cans in the same aisle that carries canned whole tomatoes. Do not use jarred pasta sauce in its place. cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes are, in our opinion, essential.

Beef Filling
2 teaspoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 small onion , chopped small (about 2/3 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt
1 pound 90% lean ground beef (or leaner)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Ground black pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces), or Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 small diced tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 diced avocado
1 small chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
hot sauce

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally,
until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook, breaking meat up with wooden spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking meat up so that no chunks remain, until liquid has reduced and thickened (mixture should not be completely dry), about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Using wide, shallow spoon, divide filling evenly among taco shells; place two tacos on individual plates. Serve immediately, passing toppings separately.


From Rick Bayless: Remember those taco-in-a-box kits? You know, the ones with spice packets and U-shaped crunchy tortillas? These…aren’t those. Consider these “North of the Border” Tacos a grown-up (and way better) version.

‚ÄúNorth of the Border‚ÄĚ Tacos

1 pound boneless chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes and placed in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to firm OR 1 pound 80% lean coarse-ground beef

1/2 medium white onion, cut into ¬ľ inch pieces

2 tablespoons powdered ancho chile

1/2 teaspoon powdered chipotle chile

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Sugar

Salt

1 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided use

12 warm corn tortillas, for serving

1/2 cup sour cream, for serving

1/2 small head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced, for serving

2 medium red-ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped, for serving Mexican hot sauce (I like Valentina or Tamazula), for serving

If using chuck roast, pulse the freezer-firmed meat in a food processor to a coarse ground beef texture. In a very large skillet set over medium-high, cook onions until golden brown but still crunchy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, spreading it over the entire surface to ensure even browning. Sprinkle in the chile powders, oregano, cumin and black pepper. Mix everything together and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Taste and season with salt and a big pinch sugar to give the classic American chile powder flavor. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle in about 1/2 cup of the jack cheese to the skillet and mix just to incorporate. To make each taco lay a corn tortilla on a plate and spoon on a portion of the meat, sour cream, the remaining Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and hot sauce. Serve immediately.

NYT’s Middle School Tacos

2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola, peanut or grapeseed

1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 pounds ground beef

2 tablespoons chile powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

1 cup chicken stock or beef broth

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the onion, and cook until softened and starting to brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the garlic, and cook for a minute or so to soften, and then the ground meat. Cook until it starts to brown, stirring and chopping with a spoon to break up the meat, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Pour off excess fat, leaving only a tablespoon or two in the pan.

Add the chile powder, cumin, salt, pepper, cornstarch, paprika and red-pepper flakes, and stir to combine.

Add the stock or broth, stir, bring to a simmer and cook uncovered until the sauce has thickened slightly, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

As sauce cooks, place taco shells (on a taco rack, if possible) on a sheet pan, and toast in oven until they are crisp and smell nutty, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve a few tablespoons of meat in each taco, along with whatever toppings you like.

Serve with refried beans on the side, if desired.