Monthly Archives: February 2016

Hasselback Chicken

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I had such great hopes for this recipe. It was a clever adaptation of the Hasselback Potato and had a nice combination of ingredients, but it just failed to please. The paprika dusted on top of the cheese is pretty but it doesn’t add anything — in fact, it kind of muddies the flavor a bit. If I make this again, some changes will be necessary. I think that the spinach and ricotta mixture could be improved with the addition of a little garlic and onion — and maybe some bacon to bring it back in line with the original version. Served here with Roasted Five-Spice Carrots.


HASSELBACK CHICKEN (Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • Splash of oil
  • Heaping 1 ½ cups (1 ¾ ounces or 50 grams) fresh spinach
  • Scant ¼ cup (1 ¾ ounces or 50 grams) ricotta cheese
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Heaping ⅛ cup (¾ ounce or 20 grams) cheddar cheese, grated
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the oil and cook the spinach in it for 3 to 5 minutes, until it is slightly wilted.
  3. Stir in the ricotta and cook for a further 30 to 60 seconds. Allow to cool.
  4. Cut slits into the chicken breasts, about 1 centimeter (0.39 inches) apart and 75% of the way through the chicken. You don’t have to be too stressed about the depth of the cuts, so long as you don’t cut all the way through it!
  5. Stuff all of the spinach and ricotta mixture into the cuts.
  6. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese generously on top. Generously sprinkle the paprika, adding color and flavor.
  7. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the juices are clear.

~ from TipHero.com

 

Sauteed Spinach and Tomatoes

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I am always amazed at how a huge pile of spinach cooks down into a panful once it wilts. I spend so much time pinching the stems off of what seems like a million baby spinach leaves, then can’t believe that the mountain of leaves is reduced to just four servings. This recipe is a simple and quick (maybe 10 minutes total cooking time) way to bring a fresh, bright side dish to the table. I have to admit that I used some leftover red onion in this recipe in an attempt to keep things moving in the fridge. It worked well, but I did miss the milder, more delicate flavor of the shallot. Also, larger tomatoes cut into bite sized pieces work perfectly well if you haven’t got any cherry tomatoes on hand. The flavors are wonderful together — Save the leftovers for a fabulous omelet filling!


SAUTEED SPINACH AND TOMATOES (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 bunches spinach (1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed and washed
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (4 ounces)

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until soft and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until tomato skins are split and shallots are golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  2. Gradually add spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, 3 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with Pecorino Romano.

~ from MarthaStewart.com

Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwich

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Well, we thought we knew how to make a great slow-cooked barbecue, but we have been schooled! This barbecue is delicious. A little root beer and some liquid smoke were just the thing to tenderize the pork and impart a lovely flavor as well. However, the critical component is the Sassy Sauce. A bit of a kitchen science project  — a cup of this – a dash of that — created a beautiful, thick, dark barbecue sauce that is sweet, mild, and smoky. If I use this recipe again I will probably add some thinly sliced onion to the crock pot and work to bring a little more “heat” to the barbecue sauce.


ROOT BEER PULLED PORK SANDWICH (Serves 8)

Ingredients

  • 1 port tenderloin or roast (about 2 pounds), cut in half
  •  1 tablespoon seasoning salt
  •  1 can (12 ounces) root beer
  •  1 bottle (4 ounces) liquid smoke
  •  1 cup Sassy Sauce, recipe follows, or your favorite barbecue sauce
  •  8 hamburger buns
  • Spicy bread and butter pickle chips, for serving

Sassy Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Place the pork tenderloin or roast in the bottom of a slow cooker and sprinkle with the seasoning salt. Pour the root beer and liquid smoke over the top. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. Once the pork is done, remove from the pan and shred with a fork. Place into a bowl and add in the Sassy Sauce, as well as 1/2 cup of the juice from the slow cooker. Serve on a bun with bread and butter pickles.
  3. To make the Sassy Sauce, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard and to a medium saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove and serve with pulled pork sandwiches. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

~ from FoodNetwork.com

Bacon & Egg Cups

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WP_20160221_11_58_16_Pro (2)Well, Good Sunday Morning!! We started our day with a breakfast perfectly suited for this beautiful day. The most recent copy of Our State Magazine (March, 2016) had a recipe for Bacon & Egg Cups that I wanted to try and today was the day. I have to say that the only problem I ran in to was in trying to make the bacon fit properly into the muffin tin, but it was not a really serious issue. One large egg, some fresh thyme, a little salt and pepper and some grated parmesan cheese and into the oven it goes for about 15 minutes. This is a really cute way to prepare and serve bacon and eggs for breakfast. It would be ideal for a gathering of families or friends for brunch. Served here with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Semolina Three Cheese Toast.


BACON AND EGG CUPS (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 4 whole fresh large eggs
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 T. grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • 2 green onions, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Parcook the bacon slices by frying them for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
  2. Spray a metal muffin pan with cooking spray. Taking one slice of bacon at a time, wrap the inside of a muffin cup to create a ring. Repeat with the remaining slices of bacon (2 slices of bacon per muffin cup).
  3. Carefully crack one egg into each bacon-lined cup. Sprinkle each egg with thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Bake the egg cups for 10 to 15 minutes, until the centers have set.
  4. Carefully remove the bacon-egg cups to a plate. Sprinkle the tops with green onions, and serve immediately with your choice of sides, such as toast, crispy potatoes, grits, or a green salad.

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~ from Our State Magazine.

Individual Beef Wellingtons

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The first part of the year usually finds my better half working out-of-town. He has been travelling from one coast to the other for the past several weeks leaving very little time for kitchen creations. Luckily, this year Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday, and we took complete advantage of that to try out this wonderful recipe for Mini Beef Wellington. It isn’t a complicated recipe, but it is time-consuming.

Each step must be prepared, and then refrigerated prior to wrapping it all together in puff pastry. It is important to chill the meat and filling in order to work more easily with the puff pastry sheet. The finished product is absolutely worth the effort. A beautiful golden brown pastry surrounds an especially tender, juicy filet mignon that is topped with a delicious cremini mushroom filling. Served here with Sautéed Spinach and Tomatoes.


 

INDIVIDUAL BEEF WELLINGTONS (Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • Two 2 ½-to-3-inch-tall pieces beef tenderloin (filet mignon), about ¾ pound
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces finely chopped baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 sheet (1/2 box) puff pastry
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Egg wash (1 beaten egg + 1 tablespoon milk)

Directions

  1. Heat a stainless steel pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and heat until just starting to smoke.
  2. Rub the meat generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Once the pan is very hot, sear the two filets very briefly on each side. You don’t want to cook the interior of the meat at this point, so it shouldn’t be more than a minute or two per side. Remove the filets from the pan and place on a plate in the freezer while you make the filling.
  4. Let the pan cool slightly and turn the heat down to medium. Add the butter, mushrooms, onion and garlic to the pan, and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms release all their water and the onion is translucent.
  5. Add the sherry and thyme. Cook until the sherry evaporates. Taste for salt and pepper, and season as necessary.
  6. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until cold, then stir in the chopped parsley.
  7. Roll out one puff pastry piece and cut in half, so you have two rectangular strips of dough.
  8. Remove the steaks from the freezer and brush with the Dijon mustard on both sides.
  9. Put a quarter of the mushroom mixture in the middle of one piece of the puff pastry. Top with one steak, then add a quarter more of the mushrooms. Repeat with the other steak, puff pastry piece and mushrooms.
  10. Fold the long sides of the pastry over the steak, tucking in and tightly sealing all the edges so the juice doesn’t escape. Wrapping it all in plastic wrap can help!
  11. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet pan. While the oven preheats, put the wrapped beef in the freezer.
  12. Once the oven is hot, remove the beef from the freezer and put on the lined sheet pan. Coat with the egg wash.
  13. Bake for 25 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak reads 135 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (medium-rare) and the pastry is a deep golden brown.
  14. Cut in half so you can see the intersection of steak, pastry and mushrooms, and serve.

Cooking Tip: You can make this recipe ahead of time by following it up to step 9, then freezing until ready to bake. When you’re ready to cook, just put it in the oven directly from the freezer without thawing, and cook until the interior temperature of the meat is 135 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (for medium rare), which may take longer than the 25 minutes.

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~ from TipHero.com