Creamy Scampi & Chicken (Mild Jambalaya)

I am a Canadian of British heritage, so my stomach can’t tolerate most Cajun dishes, but my mind insists that I try.  Much to my dismay while visiting New Orleans twice in my life, I have found that “hot” spices do not make a dish tastier to my palate; they, in fact, make it intolerable. But the recipe’s are so good otherwise. The solution? A milder version. This creamy recipe uses fresh shrimp and beaten chicken to guarantee the flavor, but I succumbed to the heritage of such dishes and added a dash of Paprika and Cayenne pepper. It does elevate the dish, but for the faint of heart, it is also very, very digestible.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
1 and 1/2 tsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 lb raw shrimp
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 tspn butter
1 large tomato, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup wine
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup half and half cream
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 tspn salt
1/8 tspn pepper

METHOD

  1. Cut both chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Beat chicken until about 1/4″ in thickness
  2. Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper to taste. In a large skillet on med/high heat, add oil. Once hot, add chicken. Saute chicken until fully cooked an browned (3-4 min per side)
  3. Remove the chicken from the skillet, add 1 tbsp butter and shrimp to skillet. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until shrimp is cooked. Remove from skillet.
  4. In the same skillet, sute the onions with 2 tbsp butter for about 3 minutes, stirring as needed until onions are tender.
  5. Add the tomatoes, minced garlic, wine and cook for anothr 5 minutes.
  6. Add the broth, heavy whipping cream, half and half, and the seasonings. Stir and simmer 2-3 mintues, until the sauce starts to thicken.
  7. Add the chicken and shrimp back to pan. Cook until chicken and shrimp are reheated.
  8. Serve with crusty bread for dipping into the sauce

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

Advertisements

Browned Butter Honey Garlic Salmon

Salmon tastes great with very little help, but when you’re tired of the traditional lemon-style seasonings, try this butter and honey variation. It’s sweet and oh, so tasty! The Artichoke Hart uses this as a Friday night “fish” dish. Thanks to Karina at CafeDelites.com
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) honey
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced*
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (or juice of half a lemon)
  • 4 wild caught salmon fillets (about 1/2 pound or 250 grams each), skin off or on
  • Lemon wedges (to serve)
  • Salt, to taste
Method
  1. Arrange oven shelf about 8-inches away from heat element in your oven and preheat your oven to broil

  2. Place butter in a cast iron skillet (or an oven-proof frying pan if you don’t have a skillet). Cook over medium heat, stirring and swirling pan occasionally for about 3 minutes, or until the foam settles; the butter begins to change in color to golden brown and has a nutty fragrance.

  3. Pour in the honey and let it dissolve into the butter. Then add in the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add in the lemon juice; stir well to combine all of the flavors together.

  4. Add the salmon steaks to the butter in the pan; cook each fillet (skin-side down if there’s any skin) for 3-4 minutes or until golden, while basting the tops with the pan juices. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  5. Add the lemon wedges around the salmon. Transfer the pan to your oven to broil / grill for a further 5-6 minutes, or until the tops of the salmon are nicely charred.

  6. To serve, drizzle with the reserved brown butter sauce. Serve with steamed vegetables; over rice or with a salad.

     

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

Multi-Cultre Meatloaf

I call it multicultural because I have taken the best of several meatloaf recipes and come up with what I think is the tastiest, juiciest, exciting meatloaf I’ve ever tasted. It’s a little British, a little American, and a lot Italian. And it’s soooo good!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (italian or herb flavoured is okay)
  • SAUCE
  • 2 tbsp  packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worchester Sauce
  • 1 tomato, sliced

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 5×9 inch loaf pan.
  2. Mix the meat in a bowl with the first set of ingredients (except for sauce) then place in a bread loaf pan. (Some recipes call for forming a loaf on a baking sheet. I find it spreads too easily because of the liquids in this recipe. Stick to the loaf pan or oven proof pot)
  3. In a small mixing bowl, mix thoroughly mix the sauce ingredients
  4. Brush the sauce liberally over the top of the loaf to a level of 1/4 inch
  5. Spoon the marinara sauce over the top
  6. Bake covered in preheated oven for 1 hour or until juices are clear.
  7. 10 minutes before finishing baking, add the sliced tomatoes to the top of the loaf and remove cover.

 

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

Shakshuka…a delightful way to start (or end) the day

My son visited last night. He attends University in Toronto and has been integrating himself with various cultures including the middle east, the Mediterranean, and especially Israel (he lives with a Jewish family).

He offered to make this dish and since having another chef in my kitchen is a rarity, I offered him the stove. What a delight! This simple, tasty breakfast dish was amazing. If you’re a tomato and egg lover, you have to try this meal, served in a bowl with crusty bread…an Englishman’s heaven.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño chile, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and chopped, or spinach
  • 8 to 12 large eggs

METHOD

  1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers and jalapeño and cook just until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  2.  Slowly pour in the tomatoes. Stir in the bay leaf, sugar, salt, paprika, cumin, pepper, and caraway and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes. Layer the Swiss chard leaves on top.
  3.  Crack the eggs into the tomato mixture. Cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are no longer translucent.
  4. Serve in soup dishes with crusty bread and wait for the smiles!

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

Fried Green Tomatoes (aka Winter Caprese Salad)

If you have a bunch of these at the end of the summer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then turn them into this with this proven, basic recipe that I call a Winter Caprese Salad. It was one of the appetizers used at the President’s Address at the end of the summer in “New York Fried” (Chapter 56).

green tomatoes1

INGREDIENTS

4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

METHOD

  1. Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends
  2. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Scoop flour onto a plate.
  4. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper on another plate.
  5. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
  6. In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain on paper towels
  7. Serve with Burrata or semi-soft mozzarella with whatever basil you salvaged before bringing the plant in from the cold. Intermix the tomatoes, cheese, and basil on a plate (as you might with a Caprese) and drizzle with Balsamic Glaze.

 

 

Milanese Chicken Thighs in Red Wine Sauce

This recipe comes from the book, “Great Women Chefs”, by Julie Stillman, published over a decade ago (Turner Publishing Inc.) and features America’s top female chefs of the time. This one is from Teresa Rovito, who at the time had just opened “Le Streghe” in New York (1994), to honor recipes of her Italian youth.

Thighs or legs are preferred to breasts because it’s darker meat and works better when marinated in the red wine vinegar. I’ve added mushrooms and carrots, and used pearl onions instead of shallots (you can leave them in the sauce whole that way). It’s a decadent, tasty gourmet meal that isn’t that tough to make.

INGREDIENTS

chicken thigh packet (8-10)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsps honey
2 tbsps brown sugar
2 cups red wine (cab or pinot)
1 cup beef stock
1 packet golden pearl onions (apx 15)
salt and pepper (to taste)
bay leaves (enough for each thigh)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsps olive oil
10 mini mushrooms (white or crimini)
2-3 small carrots, sliced thinly

METHOD

  1. marinate thighs in a plastic freezer bag with the red wine vinegar, honey, and brown sugar. Place in the fridge for minimum 1 hour, preferably 3-4.
  2. put pearl onions in a pot of water. Bring to boil. Take off from heat and pour cold water over till pot overflows. Drain fully. Put more cold water in the pot to cover onions. When cooled, skins will slide off if you slice one end of each onion.
  3. saute marinated thighs in an ovenproof pan (cast iron is perfect) for ten minutes, till browned on all sides
  4. meanwhile, pour wine and skinned onions into another pot and bring to a slow boil. Reduce by 2/3rds
  5. place a bay leave inside the fold of each thigh and place the pan in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes
  6. in another pan, use 1 tbsp butter to saute carrots (till soft), then mushrooms, till browned. Set aside.
  7. when the wine has reduced, add the beef stock and reduce again
  8. take out bay leaves and place thighs in a deep serving dish. Add carrots and mushrooms, pour sauce over chicken.
  9. serve with roasted potatoes and crusty bread (for dipping)

 

 

A modern approach to a traditional dish

Pierogi has been around for centuries. A staple of Eastern European countries initially, they have been taken up by the French, the Italians, American immigrants, and now modern chefs.

Inspired by dishes created at the Loaded Pierogi in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, this dish is a fusion of Italian, Slovak, and American tastes. My wife says I was ahead of my time as I’ve been “bastardizing” traditional Pierogi recipes for about twenty years (my ex-mother-in-law was a traditional Czech, and my exposure to many European staples emanates from her table). Although the basic potato pierogi done in onions and bacon and topped with sour cream, is exquisite in its simple form, I liked the idea of adding sauces, sauteeing and baking (instead of boiling and grilling), mixing sweet and sour… and the list goes on.

So now that it’s a modern trend and no longer a sin, I don’t mind sharing my own creations. Sorry Bubba!

INGREDIENTS

10 pierogi frozen (making your own is an option, but a time-consuming one) I prefer potato filled to any other. LEave them in the fridge or wrapped on the counter until thawed.

1/2 cup tomato soup
1/2 cup marinara sauce
2 fresh tomatoes (skin removed) crushed
1/4 cup red wine
dash of red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Italian salad dressing (I use Parmesan and Garlic- flavored)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tbsp each pepper and salt
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 tbsp marjoram
1/4 tbsp oregano (if you are missing one, put a 1/2 tbsp of the other)
If you have fresh oregano, use 4 sprigs instead of the dried ingredients

3 rashers bacon, cooked, wrapped in paper towels, and crushed when dried
1/2 onion, chopped

METHOD

  1. Cook onions first, to a golden hue
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes and carrots and cook for 3 min, then add the soup and marinara. Bring to a boil
  3. While boiling add the paste and wine, then simmer for 10 min
  4. Add marjoram, oregano, salt, pepper, and continue to simmer for 5 min
  5. Meanwhile, cook bacon to a hardy crispness. Remove half of the grease
  6. Ensure the pierogi are thawed, not frozen and saute in the bacon grease until they firm up and brown slightly. Add the salad dressing and continue sauteeing for 10 min until pierogi are puffed up and browned

Place pierogi on dish side by side and pour sauce over them. Sprinkle crushed bacon over the sauce and serve. A nice tomato salad (Caprese or feta and tomato work nicely) can be served as a side.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.