Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage-Apple Chicken Meatballs in a Spinach Vermouth Sauce

12265847_779290548826_2173721953493967764_oPumpkin Gnocchi with Sage-Apple Chicken Meatballs
in a Spinach Vermouth Sauce

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Gnocchi
2 Russet Potatoes, skinned, cubed
1 cup prepared Pumpkin
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
1 – 2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Egg

Sage Apple Chicken Meatballs
1 lb Ground Chicken
1/2 cup Sage, finely chopped
1/2 Vidalia Onion, minced
1/2 Granny Smith Onion, skinned & minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper, coarsely ground
1 Egg
Olive Oil for cooking

Spinach Vermouth Sauce
6 cups Baby Spinach
1/2 Vidalia Onion, Sliced
1/2 Granny Smith Apple, sliced
1/4 cup Vermouth
2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/8 tsp Oregano
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper

Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  • Prepare the Gnocchi: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and boil the potatoes until fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and mash in a large bowl.
  • Incorporate the Pumpkin pulp, Spices, & Egg.
  • Start incorporating the Flour into the mixture. You may not use all the flour, or you may need more. What you are looking for is a dough forming that you can handle, and roll. It should be cohesive to itself, but not sticky.
  • Divide the dough into six parts.
  • On a floured surface, start rolling each part into a rope, about 1/2″-1″ thick in diameter.
  • Start cutting into 1/2″-1″ pieces. Think little pillows for the shape. You do not want to saw, you want to come down with your knife.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough. Set to the side.
  • Prepare the Meatballs: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands.
  • Form into 1 1/2″ balls.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the balls to the oil, but do not over crowd them.
  • Let the balls cook a minute and then roll them to a raw side. Repeat until all sides are cooked. Let cook an additional minute so that they cook through. Remove to a plate and repeat until all meatballs are completed.
  • Cook the Gnocchi: Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
  • Add all the Gnocchi. They will sink.
  • As the Gnocchi start to float, they are done, and can be ladled out.
  • Prepare the Sauce: Using the skillet that was used to cook the meatballs, deglaze with the Vermouth, and add the Butter.
  • Add the Onions and Apples, and cook till tender.
  • Add the Oregano and Crushed Red Pepper.
  • Toss in the Spinach until it wilts.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Add the Gnocchi and Meatballs and toss well.
  • Plate and garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Serves 6.

NOTES: Gnocchi are simple to make for scratch. I’ve seen many recipes that exclude the use of Potatoes, but in my opinion, it is the Potato that makes the Gnocchi.
This dish was inspired by a recipe that I found through a cooking club, but I decided to improve upon it and make it in my own way.

Pommes de Terre Gratin avec Chèvre et Emmental

Ingredients:
6 lg Russet Potatoes, clean, skin-on
4 oz Chèvre Goat Cheese, room temperature
6 oz Mozzarella or other mild semi-soft cheese
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 oz Emmental or Swiss Cheese, sliced thin

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Slice the Potatoes in 1/4″ disks slices, discarding the ends.
  • In a sauce pot, bring the Heavy Cream and Milk to a simmer on medium heat–stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not bring it to a boil, and do not let it scald.
  • Break the Goat Cheese up and slowly add it to the Milk/Cream mixture, stirring constantly and allowing it to melt.
  • Do the same with the Sour Cream, Butter, and Mozzarella–not all at once, just in small portions, stirring as it mixes.
  • After all is melted and mixed well, remove from heat.
  • Line the Potato Slices in a 9×13 casserole dish. The slices should overlap like fallen dominoes. You can either put all the potatoes in one layer or divide into two layers–up too you. I prefer one Layer.
  • Sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Cover with the Cheese/Cream/Milk Mixture.
  • Layer the Emmental cheese slices on top, covering the entire surface.
  • Bake covered for 45min to 1 hour, or until the top begins to brown and it is bubbly on the sides.

Makes 6-8 servings

NOTES: So this is really a Cheesy version of Scalloped Potatoes–scalloped referring to the shape of the potatoes and how they are placed in the dish. “Gratin” on it means there is a cheese covering–which is the only way to do potatoes like this, if you ask me. I incorporated two specific mountain cheeses–Emmental from Swizerland and Chèvre from France. In most parts of the US, one will just find them listed as “Swiss Cheese” and “Goat Cheese”. So don’t worry if you don’t find those specific names.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with QuinoaShrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Ingredients
1 lb jumbo Shrimp, peeled, de-veined
4 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups Quinoa
2 cups Andouille Sausage, sliced
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Green Bell Peppers, chopped
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Celery, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Bay Leaf
2 tsp Thyme, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp Oregano, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Ground
Tabasco Sauce to taste

Directions:

  • In a large dutch oven, melt the butter and brown the Andouille Sausage.
  • Add the Bell Pepper, Yellow Onion, and Celery, and saute until it is soft.
  • Add the Garlic and stir for another minute or so.
  • Add all Herbs, Shrimp, and Chicken Stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the Quinoa and cook, covered for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add Tabasco Sauce to taste–some like it hotter than others.

Makes 4-6 servings

NOTES: Jambalaya is a traditional dish from Louisiana made from rice and akin to Paella. I thought it would be fun to try this dish with Quinoa instead since I’m not a big fan of Rice. I must say I was quite pleased with the result.

You can add Chicken to this recipe, as most Jambalaya recipes do include chicken. It would be cooked at the same time as the Andouille. Some Jambalaya, especially that near New Orleans is known as “Creole” vs. “Cajun”. The only big difference I’ve been able to note, other than mild spice variations, is the use of Tomatoes in the Creole version. I chose to go with the Cajun style, lacking the tomatoes since it is the Cajuns that are my familial cousins.

Campfire Chicken Pouches

Dedicated to the men formerly of BSA Troops 354 and 747 of the Yellow River District in the Atlanta Area Council.

Campfire Chicken Pouches

Ingredients
2 Chicken Thighs, bone-in, skinless
2 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
1 small Yellow Onion, diced (Vidalia ideally)
1 1/2 dozen Table Mushrooms, quartered
1 yellow Bell Pepper, diced
6 cloves Garlic, slivered
1 Corn on the Cob, cut in half
4 Sprigs of Rosemary
4 Tbsp Butter, divided in sixteen pieces
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
1/2 tsp Cumin, ground
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed, ground
1/4 tsp Fennel Seed, crushed
1/4 tsp dried Oregano, crushed
Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Prepare Coals or Preheat Oven to 350F. If you have the luxury to be camping and cooking over a fire, you’ll want to create an area of charred wood–like a bed of coals. You could also use charcoal in a grill. You should know that on open fires, it is difficult to gauge the temperature–so be vigilant and have tongs ready to move your goods.
  • Cut four pieces of Aluminum Foil AT LEAST 1 foot by 1 1/2 feet. I recommend getting the extra-wide Aluminum Foil and cutting 4 squares.
  • Season the Chicken pieces with Salt and Pepper.
  • On two of the sheets of Aluminum foil, place on each: one Thigh, one Breast, one half of the Corn.
  • Mix the Mushrooms, Peppers, Butter, and Spices together and divide among the two Squares, keeping everything in the center in a mound.
  • Put a Sprig of Rosemary in each.
  • For each pouch, carefully pull two sides together and fold the seam together. Then fold and roll each side remaining. I recommend then placing in a second piece of Aluminum foil and repeating – helps prevent spillage and tares.
  • Roast for about an hour, making sure to heat evenly. If using an oven, place the Pouches on a baking sheet.

Makes 2 pouches (2 servings)

NOTES: So this takes me back to when I was a Boy Scout in troops 354 and 747 in Conyers. We used to make some variation of this on a camping trip–usually with skin-on chicken and a bag of mixed veggies. Sometimes we would add fresh veggies and potatoes, and rarely any herbs or spices outside of Seasoned Salt. This is my version with real Spices, fresh Rosemary, and Mushrooms instead of Potatoes. The vegetables you choose to use are up to you, and limited only by how many they fit inside a pouch. If you use Potatoes, I would suggest adding more salt and pepper.

It is memories of the times like camping that really stand out to me. Looking back, most of my friends from my later troop are very distant now–probably because we’ve moved on geographically, but also because they’re much more conservative than I am–me being gay probably doesn’t help as a result. Regardless, I dedicate this to those folks.

Baked Mahi Mahi with a Bruschetta Topping

Baked Mahi Mahi with a Bruschetta Topping

Ingredients:
4 10-12 oz Fillets Mahi Mahi, skin-on
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 Tbsp Butter, divided
Olive Oil just a drizzle

Bruschetta Topping
6-8 Plum Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 yellow Onion, minced
1 Tbsp Capers, minced
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
2-3 Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
1 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil on your stove. There should be enough room for the Tomatoes, but they should not yet be put in the pot.
  • Remove from the heat, and place the tomatoes in the hot water for 1 minute.
  • Using tongs, remove the Tomatoes.
  • Carefully remove the skin with a knife; and then cut in half and remove the seeds and juice.
  • Dice the Tomatoes and set to the side in a large bowl.
  • Add the minced Garlic, Onion, Capers, Balsamic Vinegar, Herbs, 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil, and Salt and Pepper to taste; Stir well, and leave to marinate. Chill.
  • Preheat the Oven to 425°F.
  • Drizzle a little Olive Oil on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
  • Place the Mahi Mahi skin-side down, and sprinkle with Salt (liberally) and Pepper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is flaky.
  • Dab each Fish with 1/2 Tbsp of Butter,  and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Use a spatula and to remove the fish and plate.
  • Taking a large spoon, divide the Bruschetta among the four fillets. I recommend draining as much liquid as you can from each spoonful.

Makes: 4 servings.

NOTES: Mahi Mahi is the Hawaiian name for the Dolphinfish, meaning “very strong”. It is a mild fish, similar to a tuna in texture, though the filet is white and usually sold skin-on. Though I’m using a Hawaiian/Caribbean fish, this dish is more of a fusion dish that I came up with when I read somewhere that tomatoes bring out the flavor of the fish.

You may also choose to try this Grilled.  I recommend if you do that, to keep the high heat, but to wrap the fish in aluminum foil or cook it on a closed grill.  Grilling would also provide some smoky flavors to the fish which are amazing!

Braised Rabbit with Dijon Sauce

Dedicated to Tim Mathis, who loved the Dijon Sauce

Ingredients:
1 Rabbit, cut in 6 pieces
1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp Butter, divided
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Shallots, diced
3 cups Table Mushrooms (small is best)
4 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Dijon Sauce
1/2 cup Stock from Rabbit
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Honey
1/4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

Directions:

  • Sprinkle the Rabbit pieces with Salt and Pepper on all sides.
  • Melt 1 Tbsp Butter and the Olive Oil in a Dutch Oven on medium heat.
  • Brown all the Rabbit pieces and set to the side. Do not over-crowd the Dutch Oven–you can do it in batches.
  • Carefully add the Wine, Garlic, and Shallots, and scrape the sides of the Dutch Oven with a balloon whisk.
  • Add the Chicken Stock, Herbes de Provence, and remaining Tbsp of Butter.
  • Add the Rabbit pieces and Mushrooms. The liquid should mostly cover the Rabbit, if not add more Chicken Stock, Wine, or Water.
  • Bring to a Boil on Medium-High heat.
  • When Boiling, lower heat and bring to a simmer. Cover for 45-60 minutes.
  • Remove Rabbit pieces, and then strain the liquid. Reserve the Mushrooms, Shallots, and Garlic for the side. Reserve 1/2 cup of the Broth for the Sauce.
  • In the empty Dutch Oven, combine the Reserved Broth, Heavy Cream, Honey, and Dijon Mustard, mixing well with a balloon whisk.
  • On medium heat bring to a boil and let roll for 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Take the Rabbit pieces and coat them in the sauce, and then plate.
  • Remaining Sauce can be put in a Gravy Boat or bowl. Serve the Mushrooms and Shallots as a side

Makes 3-4 servings.

NOTES: Rabbit cooked this way is very mild, almost like chicken. You should get the Rabbit cut up by your butcher, though it is not hard to do yourself, but if your butcher sells it, then they can cut it. If you have a squeamish friend who fears the Bunny…the same Dijon sauce can be used on grilled or rotisserie chicken. Most folks, honestly would not know they’re eating rabbit unless you told them…just sayin’.  The broth can be saved and used with Pasta or Rice for a nice Soup as well.  You can also add lemon and bring to a boil and add whisked eggs–amazing.

Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with a Balsamic Dijon Sauce

Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with Balsamic Dijon Sauce
And Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 8-10oz Tuna Steaks
1/4 cup Herbes de Provence
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Honey

Directions:

  • Pat the Tuna Steaks with a paper towel and remove excess moisture on the outside. Salt and Pepper both sides.
  • Sprinkle the Herbes de Provence on both sides of the Tuna, and press lightly.
  • Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a skillet until hot.
  • Carefully place the Tuna steaks in the skillet.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on how done you want your Tuna. Do not move them while they are cooking.
  • Using tongs or a spatula, carefully flip the Tuna and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove and let rest.
  • Add the Dijon, Butter, and Vinegars to the skillet, and mix well.
  • Lastly add the Honey, and reduce for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the Tuna, or serve on the side.

Makes 2 Tuna Steaks

NOTES: This is a very quick and flavorful way of making Tuna–and not the overused Miso-Wasabi variations people seem to be leaning on as of late. The herbs crust onto the tuna infusing the flavors into the meat. The sauce has a rich sweet and savory silkiness that complements the herbs and tuna.

Pan-Seared Duck in a Gingered Cherry Glaze with Fried Sage

Pan-Seared Duck in a Gingered Cherry Glaze with Fried Sage

Ingredients:
2 1lb Duck Breasts, with Fat
Salt and Pepper to taste
8-12 fresh Sage Leaves
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Cherry Juice
3 oz Kirschwasser
1 tsp Ginger Powder
1 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

  • Score the fat of each Duck Breast, crisscross.
  • Sprinkle liberally with Salt and Pepper
  • Heat a skillet on medium heat, and place the Breasts fat-side down in the Skillet.
  • Cook for 7-8 minutes, rendering the fat.
  • Flip the Breasts, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes or until Medium Rare.
  • Remove from the pan.
  • In the hot duck fat, place the Sage leaves, and fry for 1-2 minutes, until crisp. Remove to papertowel.
  • Remove the excess fat. You can save it for use in other dishes.
  • On medium heat, deglaze the Skillet with the Kirschwasser and Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Add the Honey, Cherry Juice, and Ginger.
  • Cook for 2 minutes until bubbly, then melt the Butter into the Sauce.
  • Take the Duck Breasts and return them to the Skillet, turning them over in the Sauce to coat.
  • Plate the Duck.
  • Slice the Duck then drizzle some Sauce over the Duck.
  • Garnish with the fried Sage.

Makes 2-4 Servings…each breast is 16 oz, and would make each a very hearty portion. Depending on serving sizes, you could feed up to four people.

NOTES: Duck is a lost poultry to most people. This is probably one of the simplest meals for Duck and it packs an amazing flavorful taste. The Gingered Cherry Sauce compliments the bold flavor of the Duck Breast. The Sage gives an aromatic crispy edible garnish. I would recommend this dish during Christmas, especially a romantic Christmas dinner for two.

Roasted Mushrooms and Cipollini Onions

Ingredients:
1 1/2 – 2 lbs Table Mushrooms, cleaned
12-15 Cipollini Onions, peeled, and quartered
2 Tbsp Corn Starch
4-6 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 1/2 cups Mushroom Broth or Beef Broth
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Place the Corn Starch in a quart-size plastic bag with the Mushrooms and shake to coat them.
  • Place all ingredients into a Dutch Oven with a lid.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, stirring mid way

Makes about 4-6 Servings.

NOTES: So I love these…I love mushrooms in general, but roasted is my favorite. And these are very simple and have a nice Autumnal flare to them. They make a great side item maybe with some crusty bread to sop up the broth–Great with roasts or steak too!

Cipollini onions are like mini sweet onions and have a buttery sweet taste to them. If you cannot find them, use a sweet yellow onion diced.

Mustard and Sage Rainbow Carrots

Ingredients:
8-12 Carrots, various colors
2 Tbsp dried Sage, crushed
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Butter, room temperature
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Cut a 1 1/2″ long piece of Aluminum Foil.
  • Clean the carrots, removing tips, greens, and dirt. No need to skin them, but if there is a knick cut it out. If the carrots are longer than 8 inches, cut them in half.
  • Place them on the center of the Aluminum foil, length-wise.
  • In a bowl, combine the Butter, Honey, Mustard, and Sage
  • Brush the sauce over the Carrots evenly.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Pull the ends of the Aluminum Foil together and form a pocket. Fold the edges in so that the Carrots are sealed into the packet.
  • Place on a cookie sheet, folded edges up, and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: I had not really tried rainbow carrots in the past, opting for the more common orange variety, but there they sat at the local market staring at me and telling me that they would be the best new thing of the fall for me to eat. I will admit, that though I am not a fan of cooked carrots, these are actually pretty tasty. There indeed is a slight difference in taste between the purple, red, orange, and yellow carrots. The Mustard and Sage add a nice autumn flavor to the mix, and the honey retains the sweetness. If you cannot find rainbow carrots, the orange kind work just as well.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Choux de Bruxelles à la Moutarde – Brussels Sprouts in Mustard

Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, halved vertically
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat.
  • Add the Garlic and let it brown about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the Stock and Mutard, and stir well to combine.
  • Add the Brussels Sprouts, and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Makes 4-6 servings (depending on how much you love Brussels Sprouts)

NOTES: This is another super easy, super flavorful recipe to share my love of Brussels Sprouts. The creamy Dijon and Butter play off the Sprouts in an amazing comfort-food way. I recommend only Dijon mustard–no American Yellow, and nothing too spicy brown–takes away from the comfort-food nature of the dish.

Shrimp and Lobster Scampi

Shrimp and Lobster Scampi

Ingredients:
6 Rock Lobster Tails, shelled, meat cut in large chunks
1 lb Shrimp, shelled, de-veined
1/2 cup Butter
2-3 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
6-8 cloves Garlic, sliced thin
2/3 cup Vermouth
Juice of 2 Lemons
2 cups Broccoli, cut in bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Salt
2 cups Water (for steaming)

Directions

  • Bring the water to boil and place the Broccoli in a Steamer.
  • Sprinkle liberally with Salt, and drizzle the Olive Oil over them.
  • Close and steam for 3-5 minutes or until the Broccoli begins to turn bright Green. Set to the Side.
  • Pat the Shrimp and Lobster meat dry, and sprinkle the rest of the Salt, as well as the Cayenne Pepper on all sides of the meat.
  • Melt the Butter in a large skillet, and when the bubbles die down, carefully add the Shrimp and Lobster.
  • Cook thoroughly in the Butter on all sides, about 5-7 minutes on high heat, stirring often.
  • Carefully remove the Lobster and Shrimp to a bowl, leaving the Butter in the skillet. If there are small remnants of Lobster, that is ok.
  • Add the Garlic, Vermouth, and Lemon to the Butter. Be careful in case the flame rises.
  • Cook stirring for about 6 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Toss in the Lobster, Shrimp, and Broccoli.
  • Heat for another 3 minutes, tossing well.
  • Serve as is, or over Pasta or Rice.

Makes 4 Servings, 6 if you use over Pasta or Rice.

NOTES: I love this type of buttery, velvety, lemony, goodness of a dish. I would love to know from where in the world it really came from. In America, we tend to say it is an Italian dish, but so much of our Italian dishes are really in the “spirit of Italy”. In England, Scampi is a bar food made from a Prawn that is battered and fried–nothing like the dish we think of. The name Scampi is Italian in origin, though it refers not to the method of cooking, but rather to a lobster-like curved (ref. scampo) crustacean. The American version of Scampi uses Shrimp, though one often can find “Chicken Scampi”, suggesting that in America, we’ve lost the meaning of the word and use it to refer to the method of cooking it in a garlicky, lemony, butter and wine sauce. Nothing new there.

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with an Apricot Ginger Sauce

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with an Apricot Ginger Sauce

Ingredients:
2 skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts, butterfly-cut
1-2 cups All-Purpose Flour (for dredging)
1 Egg, beaten (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Water (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Honey (for dredging)
1 cup Sesame Seeds (for dredging)
Salt and Pepper for seasoning the Chicken
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Sauce:
1 cup dried Apricots, diced fine
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, julienne cut
1 cup Peach Schnapps
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Soak the Apricots in the Peach Schnapps for 1/2 an hour.
  • Set up dredging stations: 1 tray with Flour; 1 tray with Egg, Water, and Honey; and one tray for Sesame Seeds. Do not put all the Sesame Seeds in the tray, as you can always add more, but after you’ve dredged, can’t use the left overs.
  • Pat the Chicken breasts dry with a paper towel, and season with Salt and Pepper.
  • Dredge the Chicken in the Flour on both sides; then the Egg mixture on both sides; and finally the Sesame Seeds. Set to the side.
  • Turn the Oven on to 200F, and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack over the pan. Set to the side.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a skillet, and brown the Chicken on both sides. Place the Chicken breasts on the cooling rack, and then in the Oven to keep warm.
  • In a Sauce Pan, melt 6 Tbsp of Butter.
  • Add the Garlic and Spices, and let cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the Schnapps-soaked Peaches (liquid and all) to the Pot, and stir well. Heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Plate the Chicken and cover in the Apricot Ginger Sauce.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: This is a recipe I came up with to appease Michael–he loves Apricots. I’m not really a big fan, though from time to time I will eat one. It has a sort of Asian feel to it, though I personally see it as more of a Middle-Eastern flavor. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it.

Blackened Chicken with Grilled Fruit

Blackened Chicken with Grilled Fruit

Ingredients:
3 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless, butterfly cut
3 Tbsp Butter, melted
1/2 – 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Blackened Seasoning
2 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed
3/4 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper ground
1/2 Tsp White Pepper ground
1/2 tsp Thyme dried
1/2 tsp Oregano dried
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds dried

Grilled Fruit
1 Papaya, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1 Pineapple, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1-2 Mangoes, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper ground
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Directions:

  • Prepare the Fruit and place on Skewers.
  • Brush with Olive Oil.
  • Sprinkle with Salt, Pepper, and Cinnamon.
  • Place on a hot grill or in the Broiler for 5 minutes per side. Set to the side, or cook while you prepare the Chicken.
  • Put all of the Ingredients of the Blackened Spice Rub in a Mortar and rub with the Pestle to mix well and open up some of the spices and herbs. Place to the side.
  • Begin heating a cast-iron skillet on high with the Olive Oil. You do not need to use all of it, just enough to coat the skillet. You do not want a puddle of oil.
  • Dredge the Chicken in the melted Butter, and then coat with the Spice Rub on all sides.
  • Place in the Skillet, and cook both sides. They will blacken because of the Butter and herbs. Each side should be about 5 minutes. Because the Chicken was butterfly cut, it will cook all the way through.
  • Plate the Chicken and cover with the Grilled Fruit (on or off the skewers, your choice).

Makes 3 Servings.

NOTES: Blackening is a technique of cooking often associated with Cajun cooking. I have read some places that attribute it however to a modern chef named Paul Prudhomme (who specializes in Cajun cooking). Whether an old technique, or a modern one, it extremely flavorful. I recommend playing with the amounts of spices–some like it hot, some don’t like it as hot–but Blackened is intended to be Spicy. If you are wanting to cheat, pick up some Hot Shot instead of the various types of Peppercorns, but do not skimp on the flavors. A lot of folks seem to want to avoid using Butter in the recipe–it is essential for true Blackened food, as the milk solids are part of the Blackening process. If you want a spicy chicken on the grill with the rub, great, but it’s not truly Blackened… just spicy ;-).  

Also, just a note, this Blackened Spice Rub can be used on Fish (it’s original intention), as well as other forms of protein.

Almaunde Gingyuer Sawse for Capouns Ysode – Chicken in an Almond-Ginger Sauce

Almaund Gingyeur Sawse for Capouns Ysode

Ingredients:
1 Roasting Hen
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 head garlic/top removed.

Bouquet Garni:
2 Bay Leaves
2 Sprigs Rosemary
2-4 Sprigs Parsley

Sauce:
1 cup Almonds, raw or blanched (preferably)
1/2 cup Ginger, diced
3 Tbsp Butter
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup White Wine
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Corn Starch

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F
  • Wash Chicken inside and out, and wipe dry.
  • Stuff the Bouquet Garni and Garlic Head into the Chicken.
  • Truss and tie the legs together.
  • Sprinkle Chicken with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Roast the Chicken, uncovered, breast side up. Baste it occasionally–the more you baste, the juicier the meat. You should allow 30 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer placed in the breast reads 160°F. Be sure not to be touching a bone with the probe.
  • Using a food processor, combine all ingredients of the Sauce.
  • Pulse until the Sauce is smooth
  • On a low heat, cook in a Sauce Pot until a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  • Carve the Chicken and plate.
  • The Sauce may be poured over the Chicken, or used for dipping.

Makes 1 Roasting Hen, (2-4 servings, depending on size).

NOTES: This recipe is one that I came up with reading Medieval English recipes. It is really a hybrid of two recipes, Sawce Gingyeur and Sawce Blaunche for Capons Ysode. Both recipes are below in the original Middle English. The sauce came as an inspiration also from reading the ingredients purchased by a King of France while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London–his “court” served roast chicken and lamb covered in a Ginger and Almond sauce. Unfortunately, that mere reference was not enough for a recipe–so I compared it to what recipes were available to me and came up with this sauce. For the choices of ingredients, I wanted to use fresh Ginger, as that was what was used by imprisoned king’s chef.  I added a few spices that would be commonly used at the time, and substituted cornstarch for the process of straining vinegar-soaked bread for thickening.  Also, as it is not common to find verijuice, I used a combination of White Wine Vinegar and White Wine.  Finally, I did add Butter and Chicken Stock to add a smooth and rich texture and flavor.  Though this may not be a word-for-word rendition of a recorded Medieval recipe, I do feel it is in the style and spirit of one.

Sawce Gingyeur
Take white brede, stepe it with vynegre, and draw it .ij. or .iij. tymes thurgh a straynour; and thanne put ther-to poudre gingere, and serue forthe.

–from Ashmole MS 1439

Sawce Blaunche for Capouns Ysode
Take almaundes blaunched and grynde hem al to doust; temper hit vp with verious and powdour of gyngyuer, and messe it forth.

–from 140. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century

Mango-Glazed Chicken

Mango-Glazed Chicken

Ingredients:
3 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, butterfly cut
1 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp ground Coriander
2 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 Mango, diced
1 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Mango Puree
1 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Scallion, diced

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Place the Chicken cutlets on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and dust with the Crushed Red Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Coriander, and Salt. Drizzle with Olive Oil
  • Place in the oven for 15 minutes, turning after 7 minutes.
  • While the Chicken is cooking, in a non-stick sauce pan, add the Mango, Ginger, Honey, Mango Puree, Allspice and Butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and let it reduce to a jelly consistency, about 7 minutes.
  • After the Chicken has cooked for 15 minutes, remove, and cover with the Mango glaze.
  • Return the Chicken to the Oven and increase to 400°F and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Plate and garnish with the Scallion.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTES: My Michael loves Chicken, so I am always trying to get some new ideas on what to do with Chicken. This one came to me this afternoon, and he loved it! Thus, I thought I’d share it with everyone else.

Ginger Citrus Glazed Salmon

Ginger Citrus Glazed Salmon and Roast Broccoli

Ingredients:
2 Salmon Filets (6-8 oz each)
Juice of 2 Oranges (medium size)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lime
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tbsp Honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 400°F.
  • Combine the Juice, Butter, Ginger, Garlic, Crushed Red Pepper, and Honey in a Sauce Pot on medium heat. Reduce in half.
  • Place the Salmon filets on a greased baking sheet, and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste. Bake for 7 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cover with Glaze.
  • Return to the Oven and cook for an additional 7 minutes, or until desired done-ness.

Makes: 2 Servings.

Notes: This is a simple and flavorful way to do Salmon. You can even toss it up by adding some mango or Pineapple juice to the mix.

Moules Marinière – Mussels Steamed in White Wine

Moules Marinière

Ingredients
2 lbs live Mussels, chilled
3 Shallots, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, sliced in slivers
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup Pinot Grigio
3-6 sprigs fresh Thyme
dash Saffron
Pepper to taste
Lemon wedges for Garnish

Directions:

  • Clean the Mussels: Scrub the shells, remove any “beard” fibers, discard any broken or real heavy mussels, remove any that do not close when you handle them (probably dead).
  • In a dutch oven, melt the Butter on medium heat.
  • Add the Scallion and Garlic, and sweat it until the Scallion is almost translucent. Do not brown–about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the Wine, Thyme, Saffron, and Bay Leaf. Stir well.
  • Add the Mussels and cover. Cook until they open up, about 5 minutes. You can shake the pot and mix them around, but should keep the lid on to retain heat and steam.
  • Remove from heat, discard any unopened ones (they were probably dead).
  • Serve in bowls with the broth poured over top (discarding the bay leaf). Add Pepper to taste, and garnish with Lemon.

Makes 2 lbs or 2 entree size servings.

NOTES: Moules Marinière is a traditional French dish–though I’ve also heard it argued Belgian. This is my first crack at this dish–as I usually buy it out (at my favorite little haunt, Cafe Triskell). The dish is very simple, and should remain so–think of it as a quick dish for a family by the sea. The dish is often served with crusty bread or pommes frites. Also, for those who like it, a glass of beer pairs great.  Now don’t knock it, but a lot of places (like Belgium) even serve this for breakfast!

Cál Ceannann – Colcannon – Mashed Potatoes with Kale

Ingredients:
8 Russet Potatoes, cleaned, chopped
10-12 oz Kale, stems removed
Water for Boiling
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
4 Tbsp Butter
4 Scallions, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste (be liberal)
1-2 Tbsp fresh Chives, minced

Directions:

  • Place the Potatoes in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook till fork tender.
  • Strain and set to the side.
  • Using the same, fill half-way with water and bring to a boil. Add some salt.
  • Place the Kale in the boiling water, and let cook for 1 minute, until just tender.
  • Strain and run through cold water.
  • Roll out some paper towels and place the Kale on it, and let the water drain. You can cover the Kale with more paper towels–just make sure you get as much water out as possible.
  • Remove to a cutting board, and chop fine.
  • In a large bowl, mash the Potatoes with the Heavy Cream and Butter.
  • Mix in the Kale and Scallion to the Potatoes. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with the Chives

Makes 8 servings.

NOTES: Colcannon is a traditional Irish mashed potatoes that incorporates Kale or other types of Cabbage. It is very basic, and very easy to make, though you can add some additional flavor by adding some cubed Ham, or crumbled bacon. The use of Kale specifically rather than a head cabbage suggest it is best for the Winter months–though really you can make it all year.

Colcannon is also a traditional Halloween food in Ireland, wherein the host places a ring, coin, thimble, and/or button. This is similar to finding a “baby Jesus” in a three-kings cake, or a coin in Christmas pudding. The Ring means the person will get married in the year; the coin means the person will come into money; the thimble and button mean the person will be a spinster or bachelor.

Scaloppine di Pollo al Vino Bianco con Limone e Crema – Chicken Scaloppine

Ingredients:
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour (for coating)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp dried Oregano
1/4 tsp dried Basil
1/4 tsp dried Rosemary
4 Chicken Breasts, skinless, boneless, butterfly cut and pounded about 1/4″ thick
4 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Dry White Wine (Pinot Grigio)
1/8 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Heavy Cream

  • Season the Chicken with Salt and Pepper on both sides
  • Dredge the Chicken in the Flour and set to the side
  • In a large skillet, brown each piece of chicken on both sides in the Olive Oil. When each piece is browned, remove from the skillet and place on a cookie sheet in the oven on the lowest setting, just to keep it warm.
  • Add the Garlic, Herbs, Lemon Juice and White Wine to the Skillet and de-glaze. (watch as it may flame up…not bad, just be careful!).
  • Add the Heavy Cream and Butter and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Simmer until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly so to not burn.
  • Place the Chicken on Serving platter and cover with the Lemon, Wine and Cream sauce

NOTES: An easy way to pound the chicken flat is to place it between two sheets of cellophane with a little bit of olive oil. Take the back of a skillet and pound flat (or use a meat mallet if too heavy).

Variations:
Chicken Marsala – similar with Marsala wine, Mushrooms, and Prosciutto; no Heavy Cream.
Chicken Francaise – similar with breaded Chicken and Lemon slices, no Heavy Cream.
Chicken Picatta – similar with caper lemon sauce; no Heavy Cream.

Purée de Carottes – Mashed Carrots

Purée de Carottes

Ingredients:
1 lbs. Baby Carrots
1/2 cup Orange Juice
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 slice Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1 Bay Leaf
2 sprigs Thyme
1 sprig Rosemary
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Place the Carrots in the a Sauce pan with the Orange Juice and enough additional Water to cover over the Carrots.
  • Tie the Bay Leaf, Rosemary, and Thyme into a bouquet garni, and place in the water with the Carrots.
  • Add the crushed Garlic, and the slice of Ginger.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • Drain, and remove the Bouquet Garni, and Ginger (keep the Garlic).
  • Place in a Food Processor and mix with the Cumin, Butter, and Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Place in a serving dish, and garnish with the Parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Carrots are hard to manually mash because of their fibrous nature. Thus, I have employed the use of a Food Processor. You may also choose to cook it with a potato and mash it with it as well.

Variations
Ṽ›Ɣ – Replace the Butter with Margarine.

Brussels Sprouts in Pomegranate Butter Sauce

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and quartered vertically.
1 Shallot, minced
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 tsp Corn Starch
1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  • Melt the Butter in a medium skillet on a medium flame.
  • Saute the Shallots in the Butter, until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Toss in the Brussels Sprouts, and coat with the Butter and Shallots.
  • Drizzle in the Honey, and mix well.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the Chicken Stock and Corn Starch.
  • Add to the skillet, and bring to a simmer, stirring well.
  • Remove to a bowl, and toss in the Pomegranate seeds.
  • Season to taste.

Makes about 4 servings.

NOTES: So this was an experiment that went over well. The tender buttery Brussels Sprouts are a great contrast to the crisp sweet Pomegranate. The colors also are very pleasing–and Christmasy for those who want a little extra festive bunch of Sprouts! Though, I certainly will not be waiting till the Yuletide to eat mine. They’d be great as a side at any Valentine’s day dinner.

Chess Pie

Ingredients
1 Pâte Brisée for 9″ shell
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp Cornmeal
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
5 eggs
2/3 cup Buttermilk

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cream the Sugars, Butter, Corn Meal, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Slowly beat in each egg.
  • Finally, beat in the Buttermilk gradually.
  • Roll out your Pâte Brisée to 1/8 inch thick, and big enough for a 9″ pie. Place in pie pan and crimp the edges as you desire.
  • Pour filling into the shell.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until it has set. The edges may brown slightly.

Makes 1 pie.

NOTES: I cannot find any definitive reason why Chess Pie is called so. Some theories say it is because it came to the Americas from Chester, England. Other theories say it comes from a pie chest (or piece of furniture for pies). All I know, is it is very common in the South, and always made with buttermilk! I highly discourage making this with cream or milk, unless you add a little of vinegar.

Brussels Sprouts in a Maple Butter Sauce

Brussels Sprouts in a Maple Butter Sauce

Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, cleaned, quartered
2 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 clove Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a sauce pan on high heat, melt the Butter into the Chicken Broth with the Maple Syrup.
  • Add all other Ingredients, and coat the sprouts well.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly, or until the sprouts are tender.

Makes 4 servings

NOTES: This is a super simple way of doing Sprouts with a nice Autumn flavor. The Butter and Maple Syrup cut the bitterness of the Sprouts amazingly. I love Brussels Sprouts and finding new ways to eat them is a treat.

Burgundy Pork Tenderloin

Burgundy Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:
Pork Tenderloin, 1lb
12 Pearl Onions, skinned and marked with a deep “x” along the bottom
4 cloves Garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary, coarsely chopped
1-2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp Capers (optional)
2 cups Table Mushrooms, thick sliced (or of small, whole)
1 cup Burgundy
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp Steak Spice Rub
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 350F.
  • Sprinkle the Pork Loin with the Spice Rub, and place into a Dutch Oven.
  • Combine Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Herbs, Wine, and Stock to the Dutch Oven.
  • Mix 1 Tbsp of Butter with the Flour, and form a Beurre manie.
  • Divide the Beurre manie in dollops on the top of the mixture.
  • Do the same with the remaining Butter.
  • Bake, covered for 35-40 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Remove the Roast from the Dutch Oven, and let rest on a plate before slicing against the grain.
  • Cover the sliced Roast with the Mushrooms and Onions, discarding the Bay Leaf.
  • Take the remaining liquid to the stove, and reduce on High Heat, until it can coat a spoon, adjusting Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Pour over the Roast, or serve on the side.

NOTES: This is one of my favorite ways to do Pork Tenderloin. If you cannot find Burgundy, your favorite Red wine will do, so long as it is not too strong and dry.