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. 🙂

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
½ Tbsp ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 Tbsp kosher salt
½ 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 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. However, the New York Times recommends stirring 1/3 cup grated cheddar into one cup of mornay sauce just before assembling.

LOUISVILLE HOT BROWN
Recipe from New York Times
(Makes four sandwiches)

1 cup warm cream sauce (use any standard recipe)
1/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese
4 slices baked turkey, about 1/2 pound
4 slices toast, crusts removed
8 strips bacon, crisply cooked
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler.

Add grated Cheddar to cream sauce and stir to melt; keep warm.

Place slices of turkey on the toast. Cover each with 1/4 cup sauce.

Place 2 strips of bacon on each sandwich.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan on top of each sandwich; place sandwiches on ovenproof dish and place under broiler

Broil until bubbly and speckled brown.

LEGENDARY HOT BROWN
Recipe courtesy Brown Hotel
(Makes Two Hot Browns):
• 2 oz. Whole Butter
• 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
• 1 Qt. Heavy Cream
• 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
• Salt & Pepper to Taste
• 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
• 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
• 4 slices of Crispy Bacon
• 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
• 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

Can’t forget to post two beef taco recipes for Cinco de Mayo.

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.

——————–
Shredded Beef Tacos

1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds beef (boneless chuck roast)
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Flour tortillas

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl.

Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side evenly. Once the oil is hot sear beef on each side for 2-3 minutes.

Remove the beef from the skillet, and place in slow cooker. Leave the pan on the heat, and add in the beef stock to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and minced chipotle
or adobo sauce, and whisk into the pan sauce. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.

Add the diced onion and minced garlic on top of the seared beef in the slow cooker. Pour the pan sauce down over the onions, garlic, and beef. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Remove the beef from the slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions from the slow cooker, and mix into the shredded beef.