Saturday, October 29, 2011

Newsflash - Roast Chicken in the Fireplace

Pictures and technique to follow either later tonight or tomorrow.  Roasting a chicken that is hanging from a string rotating around.  In the 1720's fireplace which is appropriate for this cooking technique.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chicken with Capers

This one I just dreamed up.  I love the tart saltiness of capers preserved in salt.  The carrots are sauteed and sprinkled with dill.  Chicken served on a bed of arugula that has been lightly tossed with olive oil.

2 thinly sliced pieces of chicken breast dredged in flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1 medium shallot finely diced
2T capers.  If using the large ones preserved in salt run them under cold water and then run a knife through them a few times
1/2c Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2c dry white wine
Arugula to taste

Put a saute pan on medium heat.  When hot, add the butter and olive oil.  When foam subsides, add the chicken and saute on both sides.  You can remove the chicken and keep warm...but I don't bother.  Add the shallots cook until softened, add the capers. Swish around a couple of time and add the white wine.  Boil until reduced to about half.  Add half of the cheese and stir.  Add the chicken back, if you removed.

When serving sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Happy eating!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mushroom Duxelles

I dreamed this one up this week.  Serves two. You need to plan on some time to saute the mushrooms to the desired doneness.
This is eight ounces of crimini mushrooms brushed off and chopped very fine.  Below is what they look like when finished.
Maybe 1/5 to 1/4 left and they are "browned" very nutty flavor.
The rest is pretty straightforward.

Four boneless chicken thin cutlets
Stuff and roll cinching up with a toothpick
Roll in flour, dip in egg and roll in plain breadcrumbs.  I try to let them sit for 15 min or so and then re roll them in breadcrumbs.
Saute in olive oil with one tablespoon of butter

For the sauce

1T butter melted in pot
1T flour
Let them cook a little but you want them to stay whiteish
Add some white wine
Add some cheese
A few grates of nutmeg
Stir constantly until pulled together

Served it with an acorn squash that was roasted with some butter, brown sugar and a couple of grates of nutmeg.

Was really good!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Toaster Oven

I love my toaster oven!  It's the one essential electric that I have to have.  A few times in my life my toaster oven became my main oven.  It's happened again!  For the past few weeks I've been oven-less....but my gas cook top is still working.

I've made Delmonico Potatoes, roasted veggies, Aunt Jackie's Meatballs and tonight it's baked acorn squash.

Oh, and btw, it's more energy efficient than my on-the-fritz electric oven.

On Friday, a GE Cafe range is being installed.  It's the floor model from my favorite appliance store.  But hey, full warranty.  Two ovens!  A big gas oven and a small electric "drawer" oven.  Five burners and a convertible griddle.  Can't wait!

Happy Eating!

Sunday Brunch Photos

As promised pics from the Sunday brunch with the Gravlax, Spicy Sausage Omelet and Arugula with Goat Cheese, Toasted Pine Nuts and Pear.

Gravlax in the making

Served with the supporting cast
My bagel decorated
Omelet a la Julia w/salad

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stacking firewood

What does stacking wood have do to with cooking?  Lots of hearthside cooking this fall and winter.  All to be explained.  For a good background the book "Magic of Fire" by William Rubel is great.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Brunch

An old friend is coming for brunch today.

Bagels and Gravlax with condiments
Arugula Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts, Goat Cheese & Pear
Spicy Sausage Omelets
Bloody Marys, of course

Pics and recipes to follow.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I've made this recipe many times.  Always delish.  Check my comments for quantities.  I'll post pics when it's finished.

Gravlax – from


1 - Eight lb salmon cut into 2 filets skin on (I use about two 1lb filets w/skin on, but keep the rest of the ingredients the same.
1/4c whole anise seeds, toasted - I use fennel seeds.  Anise seeds too expensive.
1/4c caraway seeds toasted
1/4c fresh ground pepper
1c sugar
1/2c kosher salt
5 large bunches of dill - I use 2 for the smaller quantity
1/4c vodka, aquavit or gin 

Instructions: Remove any bones from the filets. In a medium bowl combine all but the dill and liquid.

On large piece of plastic wrap place one filet skin down cover with spices, dill, liquid and top with the other filet head to tail.  Close plastic wrap tightly and place in a glass baking pan.

Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap.  Put brick on top and place all in fridge. Every 12 hours or so, turn the fish over and tightly recover.  Do this for 3 - 3.5 days. At 4 days remove. I take it out at 3-3.5 days.  Take off spices and dill.  Rewrap in new plastic tightly. 

Can be refriged for up to 4 weeks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Roux Who?

A roux.  It's a thickening agent for stove top cooking.  It's the basis for many sauces and gravies.  You can thicken almost anything with a roux.

In a small to medium sized saucepan over medium heat melt 1T of butter.  When foamy whisk or blend with spoon 1T of flour.  You need to cook the flour for a minute or so to get out the floury taste.  From here add 1C of your liquid.  I like to add in three or so pours until it's all incorporated.  I like taking a little time to see how thick it's going to get and depending on the application I might add a little less or more.  Reduce heat and let it bubble.  Correct seasoning.

Some tips: 
  • The longer the roux cooks the darker it gets and it can take on a little bit of a nutty flavor.  Your resultant sauce will be darker as well.  This is helpful when you are making beef gravy.
  • Some people say the liquid should be hot as well.  ie.  Adding hot to hot or cold to cold.  In the case of a roux, it would get lumpy.  I don't heat my liquids....a few more spins of the whisk or spoon.
Simple, quick and a must know for all cooks!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Adobo Chicken and Rice

I really have to post each day...that helps to get the blog indexed more often by Google.  I'll take suggestions...;)

Chicken and Rice in the latino community is a staple and every cook has their own version.  Well, with my oven on the fritz, I had to go stove top.  This one sounded good and was delish!  There is a bit of prep involved.  I didn't use the chicken breasts, only the thighs which I did half.  I halved everything else but the spice rub...which is what makes the whole dish.  I also left out the olives.

If you make, send me pics!

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 4 chicken thighs, with skin, cut in 1/2
  • 4 chicken breasts, with skin, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
  • About 1/3 cup tomato powder or 1 to 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 cups long-grain rice
  • 4 3/4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas (not thawed)
  • 3/4 cup pimento stuffed green olives
  • 3/4 cup pitted picholine olives
  • Freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • Freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • Squeeze lime juice


Mix together the salt, granulated garlic, cumin, granulated onion, paprika, black pepper, turmeric and oregano in a small bowl. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and then season with the adobo seasoning mixture.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Place the chicken in the oil skin side down, in batches, if necessary, and saute until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook until the second side is golden brown. Transfer the chicken to into a separate pot with all cooking juices, cover and allow to cook through over medium heat. Keep warm.

Place the browning pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil back over high heat. Add the onions, green and red peppers and cook until soft. Add the tomato powder, garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the rice to the pan, stir to coat the rice in the mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir well, cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes add the peas to the pot, cover and continue cooking until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let sit 5 minutes covered. Remove the lid, fluff the rice and gently fold in the olives, cilantro, parsley, oregano and squeeze of lime juice. Add the chicken and stir to combine.

It was a lot of labor but the result was awesome.  Here are some pics from the different stages:

Mis en place...very important in this dish.  There are so many ingredients.

Here are the thigh pieces with the rub on them.
Parts in the pot.  Don't crowd!
Once again, I forgot to take the beauty shot...leftovers instead

A little bit of work, but totally worth it.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Drying chiles

When I get my hands on lots of red long, thin chilies I love to string them up.

It's really easy.  I try to pick chilies of different lengths.  You can also use different types of chilies on the string.  To string, get a needle (I used an upholstery needle - a little larger).  I used regular ole' thread, making sure that I knotted the end five or six times.  Push them on one at a time.  I prefer to poke them near the center from smallest to largest.  But it's all your choice.

In a month or two they are dried and when I use them, I break them apart with my fingers.  Great in enchiladas, tomato sauce.  Try some in scrambled eggs.

Happy Eating!