Been a little busy. So here’s some Chicken Marsala

Sorry it has been too long since I have posted. Had some different events going on and was also out of the area for a few days, so it’s nice to be back and in the kitchen. This is a non-traditional chicken marsala type dish.

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From growing up, I remember chicken marsala always being the chicken and the mushrooms and then over a bed of rice. In my case, I had made mushroom infused pasta a while back.

For the chicken I kept it fairly simple. Cut it up into small thin pieces put in the pan, seasoned with some curry spices, and added in sliced mushrooms and some oil. I sauteed this combination and then I added some white wine and covered. I lowered the heat and let simmer.

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After simmering, I removed the lid and added some corn starch to thicken it into more of a sauce. Separately I had a pot of boiling water and threw in some of the pasta which took about 10 minutes to cook. I then put the pasta on the dish, threw on the chicken and mushroom mixture and served with a glass of traminer-riesling.

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Enjoy.

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A Nice Quick Chicken Dinner

Sorry for the delay the past few days, was procrastinating with food since I was taking an online course in manual flash photography by Scott Robert Lim (check him out- AMAZING). That went from 12-7 so was busy during the dinner rush. I did come up with a quick chicken dish tonight though.

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It is quite nice when in the morning I go in the freezer, take out a package, and by the evening I have a nice chicken breast defrosted (in this case it was stuffed with broccoli and cheddar). So how to cook it. I went on a slight limb for this after I did a typical flour and egg yolk coating. I was looking around and went “hey let’s try some millet” so that is what I coated it with. I put it in the oven at about 350 (put some oil and some juniper berry balsamic in the bottom of the dish and in it went.

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On to the side dish. Looked to see what vegetables I had and thought since I already had my greens cooking inside the chicken what is something different for the side? Hmm, how about potatoes and leek and make a nice little fried patty- so I did. All it was was potato, the white part of the leek, one egg, salt/pepper to taste and in the processor it went. I then fried it up in some grape-seed oil. A nice quick dish- kind of country style, tasty-juicy, simple. What more can you ask for.

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Enjoy.

Happy Mother’s Day and… Confit Take #2

First for any of my reader’s who happen to be a mom, I would like to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

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Here are some virtual flowers for the holiday.

Now on to the cooking part.

Way back when (I had to check and saw it was April 15th) I had made my initial post from the first time I had made my duck confit. So really from when the confit had first went through the process it has been over a month in the refrigerator so it seems like a good time to try again and see what may be different with the duck itself as well as preparing with different sides.

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In this instance, I had steamed then sauteed a bed of kale with chopped garlic- upon plating it I added some whole coriander seeds and drizzled on some honey. For the potatoes, I went very traditional and fried them in some of the oil from the confit container- I added some extra cracked peppercorn in the process. For the duck itself, I put it in the oven for 10 minutes on 325 and then another 5 minutes at 400 (initial heating up of it and then higher heat to add a little crisp. The meal itself I paired with a nice glass of Pinot Noir from a local winery of the Lehigh Valley.

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Take #1 versus Take #2

In terms of overall tenderness, I did not think there was too much difference from the first time to the second time. Felt in both instances that the tenderness and moistness of the meat were quite similar and very excellent in both cases.

Where there was a difference was in the “accented” flavors. After 1 week of refrigeration, the overall flavor was more on the gamey and rich side and the flavors of the spices and fat did not have much time to ferment and mature with the duck. For the second take (over 1 month maturation) there were distinct accents of varying spices (most notable the cloves and the cardamom) which I felt enhanced the overall flavor and cut into the richness of the meat. Along with the potatoes that were fried in the fat as well as the steamed/sauteed kale the dish overall was full of accenting flavors and having the kale/honey combination was refreshing from the rich duck and potatoes. My opinion, 1 month is definitely worth the wait.

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Take #1 done. Take #2 done. Take #3…TBD

Enjoy.

An Afternoon Affair (or maybe 2)… Macarons

Yes, you read the title right…it is a macaron (not to be confused with macaroon- which my mom had already done on facebook). I wouldn’t say they are excruciatingly hard like some people and blogs have made them out to be (though there is quite some patience needed to get the job done)- I did find it to be a good experience and something of a future project. The flavors and combinations are endless for these bite-sized snacks.

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The first battle was finding the right recipe or using various sources and coming to a determination. The NotSoHumblePie  blog was a great starting point to determine a general recipe foundation.

My recipe is as follows:

130 gram Almond Flour

190 gram Powdered Sugar

100 gram Egg White

35 gram Granulated Sugar

 

The Egg white and granulated sugar are whisked up until a nice meringue is formed with somewhat hard peaks. As my one friend had been told by his “pastry-experienced” brother…you know when it is done when you can flip over the mixing bowl and it stays inside.” So I did this…and it worked so I was happy.

The almond flour and powdered sugar I put in the food processor and then put it through a sifter. If anything such as cocoa powder is added I do it pre-processor. Added dyes are done in the meringue before adding the flour mix.

After those two steps are done, take a quarter of the flour mix, add to meringue and fold in. You do this quarterly until it is all incorporated and you remove the air out of the meringue. Worth noting that too much folding will leave you with a runny batter and then be unable to make nice circles for the individual pastries.

After folding in, put in a pastry bag, and pipe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (if you can get the sheets as the lay out flat-very important for these. Then I let them sit out 30-60 minutes (outer film layer forms and get out air bubbles) before putting in the oven (about 280 degrees) varies on individual ovens for about 16 minutes.

My initial set of macarons (as with everything I do, I go all in), I started with a “dough” that incorporated some cocoa powder in it (flavor and a light brown color). For fillings of these I did a simple chocolate ganache (bittersweet chocolate and heavy cream) as well as other which had a fresh banana-cream I had made up.

Suffice to say however, something went wrong with my first batch as I pulled them out of the oven and they did not look the part (tops were not so smooth). Second time was the charm (and a little extra blending of the almond flour and powdered sugar in the processor).

The next batch, I added some red/yellow dye (turned into a light orange). To these I made a blood orange-Cointreau blend with mascarpone cheese. I also made a mixed berry jam for others in the batch.

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So on to day two (wanted to make some more…nice dessert type of dish for a graduation party this weekend). For the first time since I got it for my birthday like 2 weeks back I got to use my dehydrator. I had some mint leaves/stems so I dehydrated them for about 2 hours until dried out. I then took the leaves off the stems and proceeded to grind them in my mortar/pestle. This was incorporated in the mix pre-processor and then I added a little extra “green” by way of dye.

Upon completion of this set, I decided to fill them with a chocolate ganache as they would be a mint-chocolate combination. For best results, they are kept in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 1-3 days initial (allows the moisture from the fillings to go into the shells). Just take out and bring up to room temperature…time for dessert.

What I love about them is the endless possibilities. Next time around I want to infuse with vanilla and do a butterceam filling with fresh raspberries. There’s just so much to try, so many flavors…

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Enjoy.

Bone-in Strip…Take #2

This is sort of a remake (some variations) from what I had done on Saturday…however when you are grilling for six people (including two hungry ten-year olds), it is quite hard to barbecue steak, potatoes, corn, make everything look nice and plated, and be able to take pictures. For this reason I envy commercial food photographers…don’t have to cook, get whatever supplies you need given to do a shoot, stress free (though I do like the satisfaction of saying “hey I made that”).

Some of these seasonings/sauces are my takes on some of those in the Strip Steak and potatoes with garlic aoli and mojo rojo from Bobby Flay’s new book. All rather simple and quite easy to do.

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In the case of using a grill (like I did over the weekend) or here where I used my stovetop (for the potatoes and asparagus) and oven where I broiled the steak, it is quite simple. The steak was initially brushed with some oil and sprinkled on salt and pepper. Basically just grill or broil to your own liking (I’m more of medium-medium rare). For broiling I had set the oven on about 300, takes a little longer than higher heats but cooks much more evenly and stays nice and juicy. My take on the mojo rojo, I used some oil, hungarian paprika, crushed up some garlic to a paste, some salt, some pepper, a little bit of vinegar (I used apple cider over the weekend and some rice today) and some lime juice. Mix it all together. After removing the steak just spoon a little of this on top.

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For the potatoes on the grill I just took some of the baby reds, lightly brushed with oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary (can do so many variations to your own liking). Garlic aoli is basically some mayo, some lemon juice, pureed garlic and salt/pepper to taste. Mix all together, refrigerate until use.

For over the weekend on the grill I had gotten some corn on the cob. I grilled inside the husks. From Bobby Flay’s book, I had made a smaller proportion of his mango-habanero butter. When the corn is done grilling, instead of using the traditional plain butter, the mango-habanero has a little sweet-citrusy accent and a little kick at the end. However today I did not have any corn, so instead since I had done other asparagus dishes in the past with other citrus type flavors (whether they be juices or peels), I figured why not give it a shot- I pan seared the asparagus in the flavored butter.

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Enjoy.

Brunch…For Dinner

So tonight was kind of a brunch for dinner concept. It is a modified version of a course either once served at (or possibly still on the menu) at JoJo in NYC. The one thing I like about this tart is the capabilities to expand beyond the original dish as even when I was eating it I was coming up with a future meal I will prepare (no hints now…making it for friends and family who read my blog).

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The tart is a nice flaky dough of flour, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some water. For the stuffing, there are two main components: Leeks, and Potatoes. The leeks were diced up very small and sauteed in oil with garlic and pepper (covered on stove) for about 15 minutes until soft and tender. The potato is simple. Pot of boiling water with some salt, toss in potato and leave for 20-30 minutes until soft. I leave the skin on, then semi-mash it, add some cream, some aged cheddar, and the leeks and mix well on low heat.

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Tart dough is rolled out, stuffing put in, wet the edges and fold into middle (don’t fully enclose). Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime I fried up some fresh slab bacon (used some fresh ground peppercorn) and separately sauteed some asparagus in white wine and orange/lemon peel.

Close to the time of pulling the tart from the oven, fry up the egg and put it all together.

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Enjoy.

Sweet Potato…Ravioli

After my brief break, here is my first meal back. I had seen some different variations of doing these and then when I was at the store, figured I’d try making my own version. So here we go, sweet potato ravioli (the store had white sweet potatoes).

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Before I go into the details, it is worth noting to make these you need either a mandolin or a slicer (I have a De Buyer Kobra V-slicer) as the slices need to be almost paper thin. Simple, start off by peeling the potatoes and then utilizing the slicer slice it long ways to have nice large slices. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and wipe with olive oil. Then put the slices on and put in oven for about 5-10 minutes on 400 (DO NOT want them to brown,they are done when they are somewhat pliable).

For the stuffing I used a variety of mushrooms (morel, black trumpet, and bella). I sauteed them with some garlic, oil, and some kale. This was then put in the chopper/processor and done until small pieces (not quite puree).

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The potato slices I then wiped on one side with egg, placed some of the stuffing in and then folded over. They were then pan seared on both sides to cook through.

Separately, I took some Kale added some olive oil, white pepper, and some orange peel and sauteed. I then added on top some honey and crushed almond slices.

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A nice quick vegetarian dish.

Enjoy.