Friday, December 28, 2012

Chicken Paprikas by Colleen

Colleen's Photo of her Paprikas Csirke (Chicken Paprikas)
Hey Barb,

When we were in Hungary, William decided he really liked the food and I promised to make him something when we got home. 

So here is a recipe for one of the most classic dishes: Paprikas Csirke (Chicken Paprikas). 

This is not how my mom and Nagymama made it. 

Their version was much simpler - just onions, butter, chicken, paprika and water. But the original dish was probably made in a pot over a campfire and there would not have been access to fresh veggies. 

This version is a bit more sophisticated, and I think, tastier.


Paprikas Csirke
(Chicken Paprikas)

1 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 red pepper chopped fine
1 tomato, peeled and seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons paprika
chicken (bone in better, but can use boneless chicken breast cut into 3 pieces a piece) about 3 lbs
4 cups water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream

Melt olive oil and butter. 

Saute onions until translucent. 
Add in red pepper and sauté until soft. A
dd in garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. 
Stir in paprika and then put in chicken pieces and coat with onion mixture.
Add in the tomato. 
Pour stock/water over chicken to cover. 
Add salt. 
Simmer gently until chicken is cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.
Remove chicken and use immersion blender in pot to emulsify the broth/onions. 

Cook down for about 5 minutes. 
Add sour cream and whisk until smooth.
Return chicken to the pot and reheat. 
Serve over egg noodles. 
Offer sour cream to top.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas

Wishing you a very merry Christmas
Please have a safe and joyful holiday with your family.  Will be back after Christmas.  Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Grill Pan Gift Idea

Grilling Inside:  Marinated TexMex-style Steaks
If you like to grill but don't want to go outside in the cold, an indoor stove top grill pan is a great gift idea.

They come in cast iron or Teflon coated aluminum.  I chose a Calphalon version because it was lightweight and easy to clean.

We use ours for scallops and salmon, or marinated steaks, like shown above. 

They also work well for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Just be sure to get the pan hot before you put in the meat, then don't move it until time to flip, to get nice grill marks.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese

Elbows for Good Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese

This is a good recipe if you need to feed a crowd of children or adults nostalgic for a childhood favorite.  We made a double batch to have on hand for our grand kids and those carbo-loading the night before for the Pie and Glove 5K on Thanksgiving morning.

I found this good old-fashioned version in the Meat Free Monday Cookbook.  It has bread crumbs on top and requires a roux which is worth the effort.  Three different cheeses make it special.

Good Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
(Meat Free Monday Cookbook, pg. 43.)

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 T. olive oil
4 slices of stale white bread
6 T. butter
6 T. flour
1 t. Dijon mustard
2 3/4 cups organic milk
3/4 cup freshly grated strong Cheddar
3/4 cup freshly grated Monterey Jack
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Start your water for the pasta, then make the cheese sauce. 

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter then stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. 

Beat in the mustard, then stir in the milk, and whisking as the mixture thickens.

Add the three cheeses.  Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

Bring a large pan of cold water to a boil, add plenty of salt, and cook the pasta for about 10 minutes or until al dente, then drain. 

Spread the pasta out in a shallow baking dish and pour over the cheese sauce.

To make the breadcrumbs pulse the bread in a food processor for 10 seconds or grate by hand.  (We put the stale bread in a bag and pounded it with side of rolling pin until crumbly.)

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the macaroni and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden.  (Place on cooking sheet to protect your oven from spillage.)

Serve with a mixed salad.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

P is for Pumpkin Pie - Updated

Note from B on Dec 8 2012:  So, the verdict is in.  It is indeed an excellent pumpkin pie recipe.  However, it's not for beginners. The pie crust is challenging to make.  You have been forewarned, if you proceed. 

Ann, also known as Sphonny, sent me this recipe after I wrote about my search for a great pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving.  (See Thanksgiving Keepers)

So, I am going to use it this year, and I hope she is right ---that it is the best ever!  We'll see.  The recipe calls for sour cream and apricot preserves which makes me wonder. 

 Thanksgiving 2012 Pumpkin Pie
The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie
Bon Appetit, November 1993

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into pieces
3 T. whipping cream

3/4 cup sugar
1 T. packed golden brown sugar
1 T. cornstarch
2 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. (generous) salt
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
3 large eggs, beaten to blend

1/4 cup apricot preserves

To make the crust: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Blend first 3 ingredients in processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. 

Add cream

and process until moist clumps form. 

Gather dough into ball, flatten into disk.  Wrap in plastic, chill 15 minutes. 

Roll out dough on floured surface to 14-inch round.  Transfer dough to 9-inch glass pie dish.  Trim overhang to 1 inch.  Fold overhang under.  Make cut in crust edge at 1/2 inch intervals.  Bend alternate edge pieces inward. 

Freeze 15 minutes.

Line crust with foil, pressing firmly.  Bake until sides are set, about 10 minutes.  Remove foil. 

Bake crust until pale brown, about 10 minutes more.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

For filling: 

Using whisk, mix first 6 ingredients in bowl until no lumps remain. Blend in pumpkin, whipping cream, sour cream and eggs.

Spread preserves over crust; pour in filling. 

Bake until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes.  Be sure to put the pie on a cookie sheet to protect your oven from spillage.  We had to go an extra 10 minutes.

Cool on rack.  Cover; chill until cold.  (Can be made one day ahead.)  

I'd give this pie an A.  It will be an A+ pie once I get the hang of making the crust. 


Friday, December 7, 2012

Cranberry Orange Sauce

My experiment for cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving was excellent. A keeper recipe. It contains orange juice instead of water, and I added orange marmalade at the end. 

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 bag of fresh whole cranberries
3/4 cup of sugar
a pinch of salt
1 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of good quality orange marmalade

In a large, heavy saucepan, add the cranberries and 1 cup orange juice.  Bring to a boil.

Add 3/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt.

Boil for about 15- 20 minutes until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens.  Keep going until you are sure it is going to be thick.

Now for the secret ingredient:  orange marmalade.

Stir in 1/4 cup of orange marmalade.

Pour into your serving dish and cool completely.

Can be made a day or two ahead of time.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Artisan Pasta Splurge

Artisan Pasta Splurge -- Our Shopping Bag of Goodies
We took a trip to Rochester yesterday --- to get Tom's car serviced, a haircut for me, and to do some sleuthing for some genealogy work we are doing.

Getting away from home ---even if it is only a couple hours away ---is always so refreshing and stimulating.  That's why I love to travel.  Gives you perspective as well as a lasting thrill from the adventure.

It is an even better thrill when a food adventure is involved!

Unloading the contents

We were in East Rochester, tracking down locations for Tom's father's history  -- we found the war memorial, and possibly the church they attended, and some of the houses they rented  --- as well as his high school. 

We ran out of light and started looking for a place for coffee.  It was starting to rain.

Up ahead --- in the plaza where the old piano works was located --- was a beautifully lit up tile showroom and what looked like a specialty coffee place next door. 

So, we had to check them both out.  (We are still on the hunt for tile for our backsplash in the kitchen.)

It was a two-fer.  Lucky for us, the shops were connected and owned by the same person, the enthusiastic, very knowledgeable Gary Pino.  The shop is called Rosario Pino's, a specialty foods store, which has a first class cooking demo area in the back. 

Rosario Pino's Artisan Foods, LLC
349 West Commercial Street
in the Piano Works Mall
East Rochester, NY 14445

So what was in our shopping bag?

Our first pick was a bucatini to make with my bolognese (click to see recipe).

And I wanted to try their farfalle, a long flat pasta which will be great with a meat sauce.

And orecchietti to make Tom's  Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe (click to see recipe).  Look at the ridges on that pasta!

They had an authentic pasta from Tuscany which reminded me of the simple, yet fantastic, mushroom pasta dish I had once there, so I am going to try to recreate it.

For the novelty, we are going to try chocolate pasta, which Gary said to serve with just a little mascarpone.

And the sweet potato linguine, which their chef said to cook simply so as to not overwhelm the flavor of the pasta.

Sweet Potato Pasta with Browned Butter and Walnuts
Brown butter until it is foaming
Add a sage leaf if desired
Add the cooked pasta
And a little brown sugar so that it adheres to the the pasta
And toasted, slice walnuts or almonds.
Mix together and serve.

Tom came away with two salumi (Italian style cured meats):  a truffle and a red wine.

Just for kicks, we bought wafers, which are traditionally served with a simple pesto, to serve to certain friends.  Guess who?

This is just a sampling of what they carry.  They also have gluten free products, and Nespresso machines and coffee.  Cheeses, candy, Italian cookies and cakes.

Gary pointed out their large assortment of Italian olive oils, but we proudly said we have our own family connection in Napa.  :)

So, we agreed to have an olive oil challenge.  Longmeadow Ranch against any of his Italian imports. 

I am looking forward to that duel.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Healthy Beets Recipe from Margaret

Margaret's Beets

Ran into Margaret S. in the grocery store a few days ago and she had a big bunch of beets in her basket.  We started talking about beets and how good they are ----and how she steams hers but I roast mine ---which lead to a discussion about the tops which I have never cooked.  She said that she and Jim eat greens just about everyday.  And that she had a great recipe for beet greens.

So, I whipped out a Feast Everyday card, and said "Did you know I have a food blog??"   So, now we have a new contributor!  Thanks, Margaret.  Can't wait to try to your recipe.  And thanks for sending the photos along too. 

Roasted Beets with Greens and Walnuts
(a Weight Watchers recipe)

1 1/2 pounds baby beets with tops
2 t. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 scallions, cut into 3- inch lengths
1/4 t. salt
2 T. chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim beets, reserve tops.  Place beet roots on center of double layer of foil, fold edges together to seal tightly.  Place packet on baking sheet and roast until beets are fork tender, about 45 minutes.  Unwrap beets and let cool.  Peel and cut beets in half.

Coarsely chop beet greens.  Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until golden 1-2 minutes.  Add beet greens, scallions, and salt.

Cook, partially covered, until greens are tender, 8-10 minutes. 

Add roasted beets; cook, stirring often, until heated through, 2 minutes. 

Sprinkle with walnuts.  Serve hot or room temperature.

----Thanks, Margaret


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mushroom Lover's Chardonnay Chicken Stew

Chardonnay Chicken Stew with Mushrooms

If you really love mushrooms, then you will love this chicken stew recipe.  It's from Susan Wyler's one-pot-meal cookbook called Simply Stews.

The stew is rich in flavor from the velvety chicken broth, earthy mushrooms and fragrant tarragon.  It uses porcini, shiitake, cremini, and portobello mushrooms.

We served it over rice, with a side of sauteed French green beans.

I removed the skin before serving, but left it on during stewing for added flavor.

Chardonnay Chicken Stew with Mushrooms
(Susan Wyler's Simply Stews)

4 to 6 servings

1  3-4 pound chicken, cut into parts and back removed
Salt and pepper
2 T. dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
1 t. dried tarragon
4 T. butter
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps halved or quartered
3 medium shallots, chopped (1/4 cup)
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms (or white), quartered
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, halved and thickly sliced
1 1/2 t. fresh lemon juice
dash of cayenne
2 t. cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 T.  chopped parsley (or chervil)

Rinse chicken and pat it dry.  Cut into 10 serving pieces:  2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, and 4 pieces of breast (cut both sides crosswise in half).  Season with salt and pepper.  (I bought a chicken already cut up at the grocery store.)

In a small heatproof bowl (or your Pyrex measuring cup), soak the porcini in 1 cup boiling water until soft, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large flameproof casserole, heat 2 T. of the oil over moderately high heat.  Add the chicken in 2 batches and saute, turning, until golden brown, about 7 minutes per batch.  Remove the chicken to a plate and pour off all the oil from the pan.

Add the wine to the casserole and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. 

Return the chicken to the pan and add the chicken stock, 1/2 t. of the tarragon, 1/2 t. salt., and 1/4 t. pepper.  Bring to a bare simmer, cover the pan, and cook over moderately low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.

Meanwhile, remove the porcini from their soaking liquid and squeeze them over the bowl to catch any remaining juices. Rinse the porcini to remove any sand or grit, then chop them.  Strain and reserve the soaking liquid.

In a large skillet, melt 2 T. of butter in 1 T of oil.  Add half the shiitake mushrooms and saute over moderately high heat for 2 minutes.  Add half the shallots, half the cremini, and half the portobellos and cook, tossing frequently, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.  Scrape the mushrooms into a bowl. 

Saute the remaining mushrooms to the pan.  Season with the remaining 1/2 t. tarragon, 1/2 t. salt, 1/8 t. pepper, the lemon juice and the cayenne. 

Add the chopped porcini and reserved soaking liquid to the skillet and boil, stirring, until the liquid is reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Scrape the mushrooms and liquid into the casserole and simmer for 10 minutes

Blend the cornstarch with the cream until smooth. 

Stir into the stew and simmer for 2 minutes. 

Garnish with the parsley and serve.

We served ours over rice and green beans.  There is lots of liquid with this stew, so you could also serve it with a crusty bread for soaking up the juices.