Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chicken and Mushrooms in Lemon Sauce

I am one of those people who collects cookbooks and along with the cookbooks, come the cooking magazines and newspaper clippings of recipes, but why stop there?  There are a multitude of websites dedicated to cooking....there are cooking show, chef and blogging websites, there are also recipes at brand name websites, and yes, each recipe can be printed.  So along with cookbooks, magazines, and clippings, there is a stack of papers, all of which need to be sorted or labeled in some way so that the special recipe can be found once it has been set aside with the good intention of making it....someday! So the question is:  Why haven't I organized everything?  Do I just enjoy watching the pile grow and the cupboard fill up?  Am I such a pack rat that I cannot make myself toss anything?  Or, has it become so overwhelming that I cannot face looking at any of it?  Is there just not a system?  I wish I could answer the question.  

So, just how are all of the resources managed?  At the moment, I am filing papers horizontally.  (Yes, I know that solves nothing....but it is somewhat tidy.)  And, just when I think I am going to start weeding the cookbooks....I find that one cookbook that is dogeared and stained, with pages falling out and notations here and there.  And, as I page through, I know that this is the one that I will be cooking from this week....I am easily distracted from weeding....

I did pour myself a glass of white wine as I began to gather together the ingredients while the mister pounded the chicken breasts to even them out...just a bit.  This is a recipe that we both remembered for the tender chicken and the wonderful flavor...and, the best part, it goes together easily! 


Chicken and Mushrooms in Lemon Sauce
adapted from Pacific Fresh by Maryana Vollstedt

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced
6 green onions, sliced, include some of the green tops, also
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded slightly to even out
1/4 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic and saute until slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove them to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Mix together the flour, pepper, salt and paprika on a plate.  Dust the chicken pieces with the flour mixture, coating them evenly.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and melt over medium heat.  Add the chicken pieces (be careful not to crowd them) and brown them on all sides, turning frequently, about 15 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on the dish with the mushrooms and onions.

Add wine and lemon juice to the pan and bring it to a boil.  Using a wooden spoon, stir and loosen the browned bits.  Reduce the liquid by one fourth, about 1 minute.

Return chicken and mushroom mixture to the pan.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the parsley and serve immediately.

Note:  Serve the chicken with rice or noodles to absorb some of the delicious sauce.  The original recipe called for 8 chicken breast halves.  I reduced that by half but left the remaining proportions the same.  I love the extra sauce!



As was recommended with the Chicken Marsala, I reduced the number of chicken breasts and kept the amounts the same for everything else....who doesn't enjoy a few extra mushrooms and a little extra sauce with their meal?

This is a dish that can be served to company and you know that they will love it as much as you do. Yes, it is one of those dishes that must be finished just before serving...but, enjoy the wine and the conversation as you finish the sauce!

And.....I have determined to attack the cookbook issue by going back and weeding....and cooking can be the treat when I finish that task!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Buca Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I remember the first time that I had garlic mashed potatoes.  It was in Claremont when my daughter was in college.  We decided to go to Buca Di Beppo Italian Restaurant.  Just walking in the door and I was in love...the aromas were heavenly.  Everybody said that the Garlic Mashed Potatoes had to be ordered regardless of what entry was selected.  I figured if they were that good, then I had to try them.

The potatoes did not disappoint...yes, there was garlic but there was another flavor that I couldn't figure out.  The combination of the two had me convinced that I would be back and that I would eventually figure out the second ingredient.

I found a reference to Buca Garlic Potatoes on Miz Helen's blog earlier this year and knew that I had to try them.  If they were anything like Buca's I was certain to love them.


Buca Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs (8 medium) red skin potatoes, washed (peeled or unpeeled, cook's choice)
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 cup grated Romano Cheese
1/2 cup butter
Milk
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Place the washed potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water and some salt.  Cook the potatoes over medium heat until they come to a full boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and continue cooking until the potatoes are very soft.  Drain the potatoes.

While the potatoes are cooking, mince the garlic.

Transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl or use the pan the potatoes were cooked in.  Use a potato masher to initially crush the potatoes.  Add the garlic, oregano, salt, a couple twists of fresh ground pepper, cheese, butter and about 1/4 cup milk.  With a potato masher or with a hand mixer, mash and mix in all of the ingredients.  Add additional milk to get the potatoes to the desired consistency.

Garnish with chopped parsley.

Notes:  I would reduce the amount of garlic and increase the amount of milk when making these a second time. That amount of garlic was over-powering to us.  I also needed to add more milk to get a better consistency.



While we prefer more of a hint of garlic, these would be great for those who love a strong garlic flavor.  I think that I will play with this recipe just a bit to see if I can get the flavors adjusted. The next time I make them I will use Gruyere cheese instead of the Romano just for fun.

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Crack Dip...Really!

I couldn't pass up a recipe named Award Winning "Crack Dip"........who could?  Sounds intriguing. How did it get its name?  Well, Michaela at an Affair from the Heart, says it is so because it is addicting.  It is one of those dips that goes to the party and folks hoover over it and before the evening really gets started, they are gazing at an empty bowl!


I learned about Michaela's blog because she was my assignment for the Secret Recipe Club this month.   She is a gal after my heart...she too is a believer that the family should eat dinner together and she made certain that the family gathered together for the evening meal and, as was often the case at our house, whomever was there or whomever stopped by was also welcome!   There was always plenty of food.  It is the best way to share the day...

I have to admit that as I paged through her blog, I had a really hard time trying to choose which recipe I was going to make.  I really wanted to make her....."the best" Bloody Mary.  Like me she loves her Bloody Mary spicy with a salad on top!  I did get all of the ingredients and I will be making them...  Then I was distracted by her Frozen Triple Berry Lemonade and the Slow Cooker Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole.  But...the Crack Dip kept calling to me.....much like an addiction I imagine, and I hadn't tasted it yet!

For the recipe to really step up and knock you over, it must sit overnight or all day before serving....Michaela suggests twelve hours.  I, of course, couldn't wait....I had some right away and she is right...to really get the full impact of flavors, it needs to rest.  Mr. T and I had it the next day....oh my goodness, I kept hoping it would have an alarm that said, "Please step away from the bowl."   To help myself, I packaged some up and sent it away so others could enjoy the addiction.  "smile"



Crack Dip

Yield:  About 5-6 cups

2 cans Mexicorn, drained
1 can green chiles, drained
1/2 cup Deli-sliced jalapeno peppers, chopped
Tops of 1 to 2 bunches of green onions, sliced (I only used one bunch of onions and included some of the light green onion, too.)
8-ounce package of Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 cup real sour cream
Tortilla chips for serving

Mix together the mayonnaise and sour cream.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and place in the refrigerator.  Let the dip sit at least twelve hours before serving.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Variation:  Since the recipe makes quite a bit of dip...about 5-6 cups, we had a great deal left after our initial fix.  So Mr. T. thought we should use up the last four slices of bacon and add that to the mix...  He chopped up the bacon and cooked until crisp.  After letting it cool, he stirred it in.  Oh my...maybe it is now Crack on Steroids!

PRINTABLE RECIPE

No, I do not know what it is about this dip that has one scooping up bite after bite.  But I do know that I will take it to the next party.  I will probably add a few crudities to go along with the tortilla chips...that can be my rationale for eating just one more bite...before the alarm goes off!



Saturday, April 11, 2015

David's Chicken Marsala

Sometimes there are dishes that have a broad appeal.  I think that is the way with David Lebovitz's Chicken Marsala  recipe.  I first saw it on his blog, here.   Then Monique at La Table De Nana tried it and said it was worth making again.  That was followed by Penny at Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen who had also seen Monique's post and made a variation.  Well, there you have it...from my perspective, Chicken Marsala was a must to make.  Monique mentioned that she only used two chicken breasts but didn't reduce the sauce accordingly.  That was a great recommendation and as Monique says, "You can't have too much sauce."  That is what I did...and I agree with Monique!


This is one recipe that I can see being repeated for company or just the two of us.  It was delicious and worthy of numerous repetitions!

Chicken Marsala
adapted from David Lebovitz's blog Living the Sweet Life in Paris

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half crosswise
salt and freshly ground pepper
10 oz mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 tsp corn starch
2/3 cup Marsala wine (preferably dry)
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Place the breasts in a ziplock or between sheets of wax paper and pound to 1/2-inch thickness.  Place in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over high heat.  When butter sizzles, add the sliced mushrooms, season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are seared and cooked through, 6-8 minutes.  Add the minced garlic to the mushrooms and cook, stirring for about a minute.

Scrape the mushrooms and garlic onto a plate.  Wipe the pan clean to remove any bits of garlic.

Dredge half of the chicken in flour, shake off any excess.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter.  Add the chicken in a single layer, do not crowd.  If you are using a large skillet and they won't be crowded, all of the breasts may be cooked at once.

Saute the breasts, cooking and turning midway until browned on both sides.  When browned remove them to a plate.  If cooking half of the chicken at a time, repeat the above with the remaining chicken pieces.  While the chicken is cooking, stir the cornstarch into the chicken stock until completely dissolved, then mix it into the Marsala.

When the chicken has been removed from the pan, pour about one-third of the Marsala mixture into the pan, scraping up any browned bits.  Add the remaining Marsala mixture to the pan, then return the mushrooms and the chicken pieces to the skillet.

Cook the chicken and mushrooms with the sauce over a medium heat.  Turn the chicken pieces occasionally to make certain that they are basted in the sauce.  Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened, about 5-6 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, the balsamic vinegar and the chopped parsley.  Taste the sauce and season with salt if needed.

Serve the Chicken Marsala with warm, wide noodles.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


We had enough left over for a second meal.  We were both sorry to see it disappear!

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cowboy Vegetable Scramble, Blogger CLUE

It is April....already.  School will be out in eight weeks, the sun will be baking us with its rays and there will be nary a breeze to enjoy.  Geez, the things I have to look forward to...  Sounds pretty depressing, doesn't it?  But, let's enjoy today...it is breezy, there is a possibility of rain and the sun's rays are a welcome warmth.  That sounds like a much better picture and there is a lot to look forward to...

Today, I am looking forward to the Blogger C.L.U.E. reveal day.  It is the second time that I have participated in this group's recipe exchange.  It is so much fun.  So, here's the deal:  1) a blog is assigned; 2) a clue is provided, 3) find a recipe that matches the clue!  This was dreamed up by Liz at That Skinny Kid Can Bake.  Thank you Liz and thank you fellow C.L.U.E. bloggers for sharing some rock solid recipes!

I was so excited to be assigned Making Miracles authored by Rebekah.  I loved her words to live by:

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
-Albert Einstein

I quickly started sifting through Rebekah's blog.  I landed on a wonderful beverage...a Red Wine Berry Cooler, very sangria-esque she says...I was sold.  But then, I found a recipes for Baked Potato Skins and Pretzel Bites with Mustard.  Those would go with the Sangria.   But wait, I forgot all about the clue....I needed a vegetable recipe!  Sadly, no wine for me today, no pretzels either.  Back to the recipe index......Then, I found it, Cowboy Scramble.  We had just gotten home from vacation and I hadn't done any major grocery shopping.  This matched the clue and the available groceries!

I made a few adjustments as I was only serving two and added two vegetables that were in the frig in need of a recipe.  We usually do not fry in a large amount of oil so we used our method for preparing the potatoes.  I guess this could become a scramble but I took Rebekah's suggestion and added a fried egg on top!


Cowboy Vegetable Scramble
adapted from Rebekah at Making Miracles

Yield 2 servings

5-6 small white or red potatoes
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 - 1 tsp hot sauce (optional), not Tabasco
1/4 - 1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 handful of spinach, trimmed and sliced in strips
4 thin tomato slices
1/3 - 1/2 lb. ground sausage
1 - 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 eggs, fried
1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional)

Place the potatoes in a skillet and cover with water.  Bring it to a simmer.  Cook until the potatoes are just starting to become soft.  Drain.  Add one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil, and hot sauce, if desired.  Continue cooking the potatoes on medium-low heat until soft.  Stirring occasionally.  When soft, remove from heat and set aside.

In another skillet, combine crumbled sausage, onion and pepper and cook until it is no longer pink. Halfway through add the mushrooms and toward the end stir in the spinach.  When the spinach is wilted, add the potatoes and stir to mix. Wipe out the potato skillet.

Top the mixture with the desired amount of cheese.  Cover with a lid and remove from the heat. Allow to sit for five minutes to let the cheese melt and while you fry the eggs in the skillet used for the potatoes.

Dish up the potatoes, sausage and veggies.  Top with two slices of tomato and place the egg on top.
Sprinkle with parsley if desired and serve!



Rebekah, thank you for the great recipe!  We were so jetlagged after our travel, and with our inner clocks so very confused, we had breakfast for dinner.  It was quite filling..it is sure to become a family favorite!  Delicious.  I am still going to make the Red Wine Berry Cooler to go with the potato skins and the pretzel bites!



Join me as I check out the April recipes from fellow C.L.U.E. participants!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Surim or Surum - A Forgotten Food

When it comes to Armenian dishes, I seem to always select the one that is "not authentic".  I say that because my neighbor, whom you will remember is Armenian and a fantastic cook, will ever so politely let me know that this may just be a dish that she has never heard of....and, since it can't be found in any of her numerous Armenian cookbooks either, I could surmise that this dish might be an Armenian-American dish.  Maybe it was dubbed Armenian because the family was Armenian and in the 50s the mom was trying to come up a dish that would appeal to kids when they wanted Mac and Cheese for dinner just like their friends at school were having.  It is a thought.....

While that sounds feasible, I decided to do some more digging.  I do love to research and guess what I learned?  This is a for-real dish!  I found it spelled Surum and it was referenced as a "forgotten food"!!  Wait until I tell my neighbor that I found it.

I was reading a post on the Armenian Kitchen that shared a journal entry by Dr. Carolann Najarian. Dr Najarian was active in establishing medical facilities, assistance and training to various regions in Armenia.  On one of her trips, the guide shared with them that they would be served two local specialties at mealtime.  One of them was surum.  Dr. Najarian was thrilled, she described her childhood memories of the dish:
For years we have enjoyed surum (or serim) in or family, but today, few people are familiar with this dish - it is not in any recipe book or on any menu.  It is a forgotten food!  ...I simply could not believe that surum was here, in this desolate town.  During the summer, on the days our grandmother baked the flat round bread on the sheet of zinc - the sahye - over the outdoor fire, she would make surum for lunch.  Some of the flat rounds of bread would be cooked until thoroughly dried and hard making it possible to store the breads for weeks while others were taken off the sahye while still soft.  These she rolled and placed in a large baking pan layered with garlic, butter, and with her own madzoon (yogurt), and then baked.  This is surum!
The traditional method of preparing this dish is labor intensive and may just "take a village" but today with pasta readily available it is a simple side dish that can be enjoyed often.




Surum - The Forgotten Food
adapted from the Gutsy Gourmet and the Armenian Kitchen

Yield:  4-6 servings

3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 Tbsp. butter
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
1 pound orrichetti or other small pasta that will hold the sauce
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Saute the garlic in butter.  Do not brown.  When the garlic is soft and translucent, add the yogurt slowly so that it does not curdle.

Add the feta cheese and stir to melt.

Boil the pasta in salted water following package directions.  Drain and place in a serving bowl.

Pour the sauce over the freshly cooked and toss.

Sprinkle the top with the chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Note:  There is not normally cheese in Surum.  It is usually served with just the garlic-yogurt sauce. This recipe included Feta among the ingredients.  If you decide to add the Feta, it is recommended that salt not be added as Feta is usually quite salty.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


We really enjoyed this side dish.  It is one that I will definitely make again!  Delicious!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Potato and White Bean Soup with Sage, Blogger CLUE


I am very pleased to be a part of a new recipe exchange group called Blogger C.L.U.E.  Each month members are assigned a blog, a theme and challenged to find a recipe that meets the theme!  How fun is that?!  I love a challenge...I love exploring new blogs....I love to cook....and, I do love to eat new things.  I was so excited to get my first blog assignment:  Anna Dishes.  Anna's blog is packed with "homegrown, flavor-packed recipe creations".  I saw so many dishes that I would prepare that I had a hard time focusing on the theme...and what was the theme for March?  Well, of course, it was the potato!

I tried not to get distracted  by the lovely Salmon with a White Wine Cream Sauce, or the Drunk London Broil...instead I focused on Twice Baked Smashed Potatoes and Balsamic Roasted Fingerling Potatoes.   Then I spied the Potato and White Bean Soup with Sage!  Eureka!


Potato with White Bean Soup with Sage
adapted from Anna Dishes

2 lbs Yukon potatoes
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, rinsed and chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
8-10 sage leaves, chopped
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
4 cans of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1/2-3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
a splash of white balsamic vinegar (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the leeks, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently until they are very soft but not browned, about 10-12 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to cook.  Add the sage leaves and saute until the leaves are softened.

Add the potatoes and bay leaves and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Add the stock.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a gentle simmer and cover.  Cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes.  

Stir in the heavy cream, milk and parmesan.  Stir to blend.  Add the beans and stir to evenly distribute.  Simmer about 10-12 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.

Remove about three cups of the soup and transfer it to a blender.  Puree and add the mixture back into the soup pot.  Stir well to combine.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.  Add the splash of white balsamic vinegar if desired.

Notes:  
1) I only used two cups of dairy as I reduced the amount of heavy cream by one cup.  If you desire more liquid, add the additional cup of cream.  
2) The amount of parmesan is my guesstimate as there wasn't a measurement listed in the recipe. 
3) Instead of removing some of the soup to a blender, I used an immersion blender until it was the desired consistency, being careful to leave some potato chunks and beans!
4) The mister had just finished frying some bacon so I took a few pieces to crumble as a garnish...pretty tasty.  Doesn't everything go better with bacon?  "smile"

Serve hot with crusty bread.



We really enjoyed this soup.  I loved the addition of cannellini beans to the potato soup!  Delicious! We had leftovers the next day and I do believe that the soup was even better the next day.  This soup is worthy of landing a spot on the soup rotation!



Join me to explore the potato recipes that the other Blogger CLUE participants have prepared!

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