Thursday, February 18, 2010

Braised Chicken with Lemon and Capers

This recipe is from and is adapted from a recipe entitled Zesty Braised Chicken from Food and Wine magazine.

It's important to use bone-in/skin on chicken parts, thighs and breasts are suggested.

- 3 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
· 3 chicken breasts with skin
· all-purpose flour for dusting (I always use Wondra)
· salt and freshly ground pepper
· 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
· 1 tablespoon extra-virgin 0live oil
· 5 large peeled garlic cloves
· 1 cup dry white wine
· 1 cup chicken stock
· 5 1-inch strips of lemon zest
· 6 thyme springs
· 4 teaspoons capers, drained
· 3 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour. In a large ovenproof skillet, melt the butter in the oil. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned (12 to 14 minutes). Transfer the chicken to a large plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. I used my Dutch oven.

Add the garlic to the skillet and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, lemon zest, thyme, capers and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up. Transfer the skillet to the oven, cover and braise for 30-35 minutes, until the meat is tender.

Remove chicken, then return the skillet to the stove and boil until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme, bay leaf and lemon zest before serving. Serves three to six depending on the appetite.

Chicken browning

In oven prior to covering

Ready to eat

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


This recipe is tweaked from Tyler Florence's Hunter's Minestrone.

2 quarts chicken stock
5 garlic cloves
1/2 pound small rigatoni (Mezzi Rigatoni - Barilla makes it)
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 lbs. loose sweet Italian pork sausage
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
2 cans cannelli beans (drained) or small Mexican white beans (drained)
1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves, finely minced
1 zucchini, chopped
half a bag of baby fresh spinach
1 bay leaf
Coarsely ground black pepper
Locatelli or parmesan cheese for garnish

Combine the stock and 1 peeled garlic clove in a big saucepan and simmer for about 15minutes to give the stock a nice, garlicky taste. Set broth aside.

Meanwhile, pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the sage, rosemary and thyme and warm the oil over medium heat to infuse it with the flavor of the herbs, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the herbs.

Chop the carrots, celery, onion and the remaining 4 cloves of garlic in a food processor or by hand. Add to the saucepan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. In a saute pan, add a small amount of olive oil and sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with the side of a big spoon until well browned. Strain sausage mixture and add to the vegetable mixture in large saucepan. Add the can of tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes. Add bay leaf, broth and lots of coarsely ground pepper and simmer an add'l 10 minutes. Then add chopped zucchini, parsley and beans and simmer another 10 minutes.

Above all can be done ahead.

Prior to serving: Boil water for pasta. Cook Mezzi Rigatoni until al dente, about 6 minutes. The last minute of boiling add the fresh baby spinach. Drain pasta/spinach. Ladle soup into bowls, add pasta/spinach and garnish with fresh parlsey.

This makes plenty. Enough to freeze for future meals. Don't add the pasta/spinach to the leftovers when freezing or refrigerating as the pasta will soak up the broth. When defrosting and reheating in the future, boil more pasta, add spinach if desired. Add to soup in the bowls. This is great with fresh grated locatelli cheese sprinkled on top of the soup.

If you can't find mezzi rigatoni, any small pasta will do (i.e., ditallini, small shells, small elbows). You can also add any veggies/beans you like to's a very hearty meal.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

I got this recipe from a friend on an Internet food forum. It's from Southern Sideboards (Jackson Jr. League cookbook). The glaze recipe is a recipe I had jotted down on a piece of scrap paper from years back. Rather than a tube pan, I used a bundt pan. This is an easy cake to assemble and remove from the pan. I did not read the recipe carefully and put it in a preheated oven. It turned out great with baking time of 1 hour, 15 minutes at 325 degrees.


1½ cups butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups unbleached flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

Grease and flour a large tube pan (I used Baker's Joy of course).
Cream butter and sugar till smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour a little at a time. Slowly add milk, flavouring and salt. Put in the baking powder last. Pour batter into pan and place in cold oven. Turn temperature to 325ºF and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool slightly and remove from pan.


1 cup confectioners sugar
2 T fresh lemon juice

Sift sugar, add lemon juice and mix well. Pour over warm cake.

Out of oven on cooling rack:


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Italian Meatloaf

We are gearing up for our third major snowstorm of this winter season. Its been years since we've had this much snow but I don't mind at all.......good excuse to get some comfort food cooking done.

This recipe for Italian meatloaf is from Michael Chiarello. It's a bit more involved than the everyday meatloaf but so worth the effort. It's a very moist meatloaf which we love. I have substituted ground turkey when making his recipe, but tonight used ground sirloin. Tomorrow will most likely be a snow day so this will be great as leftovers on Amoroso's Italian rolls with perhaps some melted provolone - yum!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, seeded, small diced
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons (about 3 cloves) chopped garlic
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the peppers, onions and garlic. Saute until just soft, remove to a plate and cool.

When the peppers and onions are cool, combine all of the remaining ingredients together except for the marinara. Pack the meat mixture into an oiled loaf pan, if you do not have a loaf pan, form the meat mixture into a loaf shape on an oiled oven tray or baking dish. Top with the marinara making sure to spread evenly over the top.

Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F in the middle of the meatloaf. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Ready to go in oven:

Resting for a few minutes prior to serving:

Ready to eat:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thai Shrimp Curry

This is one of Emeril Lagasse's recipes. The Thai red curry paste gives this dish heat, so if you prefer less heat or more heat, adjust accordingly. The recipe for Thai red curry paste is below but I bought a jar in the supermarket to make the dish even more simple. I doubled the recipe for company we had tonight. Served this with Jasmine rice and stir-fried Asian style green beans.

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 medium carrots, trimmed and shredded
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste*, recipe follows
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons chopped Thai basil leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Cooked jasmine rice, accompaniment
Sprigs fresh cilantro, garnish

In a large wok or saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, bell peppers, carrots, and garlic, and stir-fry until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stirring, add the fish sauce and sugar, then the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and cilantro.

Serve over jasmine rice, garnished with cilantro sprigs.
Veggies sauteing:

All cooked:


Thai Red Curry Paste
12 dry Thai chili peppers or other small red peppers, seeded and soaked in warm water 30 minutes
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped garlic
3 stalks lemon grass, tough outer leaves and tops removed, tender stalks minced
3 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger root, or galanga
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro stems
2 teaspoons chopped lime zest, preferably Kaffir lime
1 teaspoon shrimp paste

In a skillet, dry roast the coriander and peppercorns over low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove and let cool. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Return the pan to medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Drain the chiles, reserving the liquid, and roughly chop.

In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients with about 1/4 cup of the reserved soaking liquid. Process to make a smooth paste, scraping down the sides several times and adding more liquid through the top 1 tablespoon at a time with the motor running.

Transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Paste will keep refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Red Lentil Soup w/Roasted Garlic

We love Red Lentil Soup and this version, courtesy of my fellow foodie friend and neighbor Alan is delicious.

5 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 t minced garlic
1 1/2 cups red lentils rinsed and inspected for stones
2 heads roasted garlic (instructions to follow)
1 cup of cream fraiche or heavy cream (optional)

Heat EVOO in dutch oven, once shimmering add minced garlic and saute over low heat until onions and garlic are soft.
Add chicken broth to simmer (not rolling boil).
Add lentils and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked.
Remove from heat.
Add roasted garlic.
Puree soup with blender, food processor or immersion blender, I used an immersion blender.
Return soup to pot and add heavy cream or cream fraiche (I used half and half).
Continue to simmer until the cream is heated through.
Taste and season with salt / pepper
Garnish w/fresh Italian parsley
About six servings

Another variation:
Reserve 1/2 Cup cooked lentils (remove them from soup before blending)
Add to soup after blending. This will add texture (pureed and non pureed lentils). Adding the cream is optional, the soup has a creamy consistency without the addition but it does kick it up a few notches.

After using immersion blender:

Roasted Garlic:
2 heads of fresh garlic
Cut top off garlic heads to expose individual cloves
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over top
Wrap completely in aluminum foil
Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until garlic is golden brown and smells sweet (I use a toaster oven)
Allow to cool to room temperature
Individual cloves can be separated from head and skin removed by squeezing between fingers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cauliflower with Garlic and Anchovies

A dear friend of mine sent me this recipe which appeared in the Boston Globe. I loved the method of browning the cauliflower florets in a skillet and quickly braising them..............a major thumbs up on this dish!!!!!!!!!!!

Cauliflower With Garlic and Anchovies

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and cut into 1½-inch florets


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 anchovy fillets, chopped (about 1 scant tablespoon)

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until it shimmers. Add the cauliflower and ½ teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring often, until the florets are brown in spots and just barely tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cauliflower to a large bowl and set aside.

Cool the skillet, return it to low heat, add the remaining oil and the butter, and heat, swirling the pan, to melt the butter. Add the anchovies and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until the anchovies darken, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return the cauliflower to the skillet, stir, cover, and cook, shaking the skillet occasionally, until the florets are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, but not mushy, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and serve at once. Serves 4.

In skillet:

Cauliflower is removed and butter, EVOO, anchovies, red pepper flakes and garlic are briefly simmering prior to returning cauliflower to skillet:

Ready to serve: