Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cheddar Herb Beer Bread

It's Girls' Night tomorrow night!!!!  I'm making Panko Crusted Tilapia with New Orleans Red Rice and a salad with oranges and toasted almonds.  I've already provided those recipes on earlier posts so check them out.  I'm also serving my Cheddar Herb Beer Bread so I'll give you the recipe for that.  For dessert, we are having cupcakes and I got a recipe from Martha Stewart's web site.  I was disappointed with them - usually her recipes are terrific but these are heavy and have too much fat in them.  They are still edible and will be delicious when I fill them with strawberry/raspberry wine-infused jam, ice them in chocolate and top with a fresh raspberry (however, I won't share the recipe).

The beer bread takes about 5 minutes to put together...preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried thyme and a pinch of dried dill.

Add 1 to 2 cups of grated Cheddar cheese - depending how cheesy you like it!  Stir all the ingredients together and pour in a bottle of beer - I like to use a bottle of the cheapest beer I can find - taste is not an issue here.

The batter should be wet enough to combine all the flour without being so wet that it sticks to the sides of the bowl.  You often need to add a little water to achieve this - I added 2 Tbsp of water this time.  You can see the consistency below before it is baked in a greased loaf pan.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until it's crusty and brown.  This delicious quick bread truly is delicious and quick!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

I know it sounds crazy - 40 cloves of garlic - but this is a classic French recipe that is easy and oh so delicious.  The garlic tastes creamy and sweet and you would never believe how much garlic is in the sauce.  I used 3 heads of garlic which wasn't quite 40 cloves but this recipe made enough for 4 servings.  I served this chicken with creamy mashed potatoes spiced with some fresh nutmeg and a mash of carrots and turnip.

I used boneless chicken thighs because they cook up quickly and I like dark meat but traditionally I believe, a whole chicken cut into parts is used.  If you use chicken breasts or bone-in pieces, it will take longer to cook through.

Start by heating a couple of Tbsp of olive oil and a couple of Tbsp of butter in a heavy Dutch oven.  Brown the chicken pieces.

 Brown chicken in batches if necessary.  Once the chicken in all browned, add the cloves of  garlic and cook over low heat until browned (but not burned).

Once the garlic browns, add  2 cups of wine and 2 Tbsp of brandy and deglaze the pan.  Stir, scraping up all the lovely brown bits and bring the liquid to a boil.  Then turn down to a low simmer and add the chicken back to pot.

Put on the lid and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  If you are using chicken breasts, I would simmer it for at least 30 minutes.  Once the chicken is cooked through, prepare your thickening mixture.  In a small bowl, stir together a couple of Tbsp of flour with a Tbsp of brandy and 2 or 3 Tbsp of cream.  Make sure this mixture is smooth.  Remove the chicken from the pot and stir the cream mixture in until hot, bubbly and thick.

Add the chicken back to the pot and heat through.  Serve with mashed potatoes so you really enjoy this lovely cream sauce.

Yesterday was my mother's birthday so we are enjoying the lovely flowers she received as a gift......

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cheddar Chive Buttermilk Biscuits - How do you make a bowl of canned tomato soup taste like a delicacy?

I made Cheddar Chive Buttermilk Biscuits for lunch today and served them on a lovely luncheon set of white Fireking that my friend, Deb gave me.  It's a beautiful sunny first day of spring and I have spring fever!  The laundry is on the line and I'm going for a walk this afternoon...
Here's the ingredient list for the biscuits...

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine, diced
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp chives
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients.

Cut the margarine into cubes and process with the flour mixture for about 5 seconds in the food processor.  Then add the cheese and chives (I use kitchen shears and cut into small pieces) and process for another 5 seconds.

Mix one cup of  buttermilk and one beaten egg together and pour into the food processor.

Then process until the mixture forms into a ball...

Then turn out onto a floured counter, roll and cut...

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden.

Serve with soup and sweet butter - Enjoy!!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lemon Chicken Scaloppine with Tagliatelle and Stewed Tomatoes

I tried out a new recipe tonight and it is definitely a keeper! A beautiful chicken scaloppine with a panko crumb breading that is so scrumptious with grated Parmesan and slivered pine nuts. I started by getting the stewed tomatoes going.

I chopped up a slice of onion and a clove of garlic.  I added those to half a can of tomatoes with a pinch of oregano and salt and pepper.  I put it on to simmer and moved on to the pasta.

The sauce for the pasta is simple - just the juice and zest from half a lemon, a Tbsp of grated Parmesan, freshly ground pepper and some Hawaiian Red Rock Salt.  This was stirred together and then I whisked a couple of Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in.   This sauce gets added to the hot cooked pasta and stirred in well.  It coats the pasta and the cheese starts to melt.  Delish!

I put the water on to boil for the pasta while I prepared the chicken.  I pounded the chicken breasts with a meat mallet.

I next prepared the breading.  It was a 3 stage process.  Plain flour, then a beaten egg and a breading mix.

The breading is about half a cup of panko crumbs, the zest from half a lemon, a Tbsp of grated Parmesan and 2 Tbsp of pine nuts chopped.  To this I added pepper and a  large pinch of dried basil.  I would definitely use fresh basil here if I had it.

The pounded chicken breasts are dredged in flour, then beaten egg and then in the crumbs.  I fried it in a pan with a couple of Tbsp of butter and olive oil.  It was quick and easy and very scrumptious!   It will definitely become a standard around my house.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Salisbury Steak - The Economical Answer to What's for Dinner?

I made this because my friend, Sandy wanted to know if I had a recipe for Salisbury Steak.  Well I didn't cause I've never thought of making it.  Kind of strange as I've eaten enough of it when Swanson's made it!  It actually was delicious and definitely something I would make again.

I started by making large homemade beef patties with about a pound of ground beef, a beaten egg, 3 Tbsp of finely chopped cooking onion, half a cup of fresh breadcrumbs and salt and pepper to taste.  I combined all ingredients well and made 4 large patties.  2 went into the freezer for another day and 2 went into  a heated pan with a Tbsp of olive oil.

While I was cooking the beef, I chopped up about 10 mushrooms and half a small cooking onion. 

Once the patties were almost cooked, I added the mushrooms and onion and cooked til they started to caramelize.   I also added a couple of pinches of dried thyme and salt and pepper. If you are cooking all 4 patties, you might want to take them out of the pan while you are cooking the veggies.

Once the vegetables are caramelized, push them to the side and add a Tbsp of flour.  Stir to cook the flour and mix it with the veg.

Once the flour is absorbed, add a cup of beef broth and half a cup of red wine.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Return the patties to the pan now if you took them out.  Let the pan simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

I served my Salisbury Steak with a baked potato with sour cream and fresh chives and some lovely peas.  This was comfort food at its' best and a very economical meal as well and these days - that is something to smile about.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The snow is falling like it's never going to stop.  It's a good night for take-out without going out.  Tastes better to make pizza at home!

Start by slicing up all the toppings you like.  We used shredded  mozzarella, pepperoni, onion, mushroom, red pepper and green olives. 

Then I make the dough.  I use my sister, Cheryl's recipe...

1 Tbsp of yeast
1  cup of warm water
1/4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups of flour

In my Kitchenaid, I mix yeast and sugar with warm water.  Let it proof for about 10 minutes til it is frothy.

Then stir in salt and olive oil and then the flour using the paddle attachment.  Replace with the dough hook and knead til it forms a smooth ball, adding a little more flour if necessary. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Brush a tablespoon of oil onto a round pizza pan.  I have an excellent one that Cheryl bought me for Christmas.  Spread your ball of dough out til it is thin and reaches the edge of the pan.

Then spoon about half a can of pizza sauce over the dough, top with mozzarella cheese and then all your toppings of choice.

Bake for about 20 minutes until browned and bubbly.  Then cut into slices and enjoy!

Lunch is Ready! Broccoli Soup

When we have Broccoli with Cheese Sauce leftover (see recipe for cheese sauce under the Tilapia posting), I always make soup.  It's so fast that you can make it in about the same time it would take to heat up a can of Campbell's!

Chop up a little onion (and maybe some shallot or a clove of garlic).

Cook in a pat of butter until softened and just starting to brown.  Add salt and pepper and 1/4 tsp dried thyme (a sprig of fresh chopped up if you have it).

Add your leftover broccoli and  cheese sauce  and  enough chicken broth to almost cover.

 Stir and bring to a boil.  Then take off the heat, using an immersion blender, blend til soup is thicker but still a little chunky.  Then put back on heat to make sure it's warm through. If it seems a little thin or you would like it a bit richer, add a couple of tablespoons of cream.  I didn't bother today because I had a lot of cheese sauce left. Serve with some shredded cheese on top.