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.

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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.

How do you reheat steak without cooking it further?

If you’re like me, having left over steak leaves a lot to be desired. If you cooked it perfectly the first time, then any further cooking will turn it into charcoal or thereabouts. If you try pan frying but that just turns even the best medium-rare steak into well done in seconds, especially if you slice it.

Here are two methods I’ve used to achieve the above and stopped me from ruining a great steak the next day:

  1. IF THE STEAK WAS KEPT IN THE REFRIGERATOR  Place the leftover steak in a freezer seal plastic bag and immerse it in a pot of boiling water. After 20 minutes or so, the steak is warm enough to eat and the temperature hasn’t risen enough to change the “state” of the steak as it was originally cooked. The only problem with this method is that you recognize you’re not cooking to 160 degrees and so risk that some bacterial matter may have been introduced during the refrigeration stage.
  2. IF THE STEAK WAS FROZEN (OR REFRIGERATED OVERNIGHT) Place leftover steak in about 1/8 inch of warm water inside a slow cooker (preferably a small one) and turn the dial to “warm”. After about 1/2 hr, the steak is heated through and hasn’t changed it’s “state”. If you’re concerned about bacteria, dial it to low and the steak will cook slightly further (turning a medium rare into a medium, etc.), but you’ll still have a decent-tasting steak that has likely reached close to 160 degrees.

I find that whenever I reheat a steak, it loses a little of its original flavour, so I usually serve with a tomato/onion/feta salsa, or at the very least, a little A1 or HP sauce on the side. Even a little heated gravy or aus jus poured over the steak will not only add flavour but keep the warmth in.

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.

 

 

 

 

Baked Haddock with Creamy Crab Sauce

I had an urge for a creamy crab sauce. That’s what started it. Then, I realized I had to have the sauce with something. Enter the Haddock. Brushed lightly with lemon olive oil and baked at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, the Haddock is a perfect vehicle for the Crab sauce to enhance. You can put it on top of anything really (preferably fish) but I like the consistency of baked haddock to that’s my choice. The sauce is 296 calories per serving alone, so that’s why a light fish is necessary to keep those numbers down.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsns butter
2 tbsns flour
2 green onions with about 2″ of green, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon parsley leaves chopped (or 1/2 tspn dried)
4 ounces lump crabmeat (I use canned but fresh would, of course, be better)
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 cups heavy whipping cream (or half and half if you think that’s too rich)
1/2 tspn cajun or creole seasoning. (sometimes I use a 1/4 tbsn of chili-flavoured olive oil)
1 tbsn tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat; stir in flour, onions, and parsley. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes
  2.  Add the sherry and crabmeat to the flour mixture; gradually add the cream, stirring constantly. Stir in Cajun seasoning and tomato paste. Simmer for 5 minutes to reduce slightly.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper, if necessary.
  4. Arrange the haddock (or whatever) on a plate and pour sauce over top. Serve with rice or small baked potatoes. Garnish with parsley.

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.

Lemon Chicken Scallopini with Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

In my bestselling novel, New York Fried, various international delegations visited the complex in Oswego, N.Y., to experience the new technology that would revolutionize internet around the world. While there, Chef Artichoke Hart (also an ex-CIA trainer), was tasked with feeding the visitors. His idea was to offer a traditional dish native to their country but with an American twist.

When the Italians came, this was the dish he prepared. Though later we find that some were indeed Sicilian, not Italian, the dish was still a big hit. The American twist? A creamy garlic sauce instead of a straight lemon sauce, and the incorporation of Sorrento’s famous lemon-based liqueur: limoncello.

INGREDIENTS (for 4 people)

FOR THE CHICKEN:
2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts, halved and smashed to 1/8 inch in depth
1 tspn garlic powder
1 tspn salt
cracked pepper
juice of half a lemon
4 tblsn flour

FOR THE SAUCE:
1 tbls butter
2 tspns olive or lemon-infused oil
1 medium sized brown onion
2 tbsn minced garlic (or 6-8 garlic, minced)
1 and 1/4 cup chicken broth (stock)
2/3 cup light cooking cream (I use 1/2 and 1/2)
1 tspn cornstarch mixe with 1 tbsn water
2-3 tbsns limoncello liqueur (lemon juice if liquor isn’t available)
2 tspn dried Italian mixed herbs
2 tbsns fresh parsley chopped
lemon wedges or slices to serve

METHOD

  1. Season chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice of half a lemon over each fillet, rubbing it into each fillet. (remember, you’ve already halved and smashed them so they are thin and wide) Add the flour to a shallow bowl and dredge each fillet in the flour; shake off excess and set aside.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan over medium-high heat until butter has melted and pan is hot. Fry the chicken until golden on each side, cooked through and no longer pink (about 4-5 min). Transfer to a warming plate.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry until onion is translucent (about 3 min). Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the broth. Season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook to reduce down slightly (about 6 min). Add in the cream and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer for about 5 min until it begins to thicken. (If the sauce is too runny for your liking, add the cornstarch/water mixture into the center of the pan and mix through fast to combine into the sauce. It will begin to thicken immediately).
  4. Pour in the limoncello (lemon juice), allow to simmer gently for a further minute to combine. Stir in the Italian herbs. Add the chicken back into the pan, cover with the sauce and serve over rice, pasta, steamed vegetables or noodles. Garnish with lemon slices or wedges and parsley.

Calories per serving: 228

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.

Turkey scallopini in lemon sauce

This dish was inspired by our new friend, Chef Massimo Zingaro Fidale, on our recent visit to Italy. His simple but oh-so-delicious Veal Scallopini in Lemon Sauce was so tasty I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

However, as usual, I changed it; Canadianized it if you will. In my version, I use turkey scallopini and make the sauce a little heavier with the introduction of Greek yogurt. I also add a little twist with the use of Limoncello (brought home from Italy).  ‘Twas a totally new and mouth-watering experience.

INGREDIENTS

4 strips turkey scallopini
4 slices back bacon (pork loin)
2 tbsn sesame seed oil
2 tbsn plain greek yogurt
4 tbsn lemon juice
2 tbsn limoncello
1 tbsn capers (dried)
1/2 tsp fresh oregano (1/4 dried)
pepper to taste

METHOD

Brush turkey strips with lemon and saute over low heat in sesame seed oil, till browned both sides and white inside (about 4 min per side) then add the lemon and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cover.

Simultaneously saute the back bacon to desired crispness. Don’t burn as it will alter the taste of the dish immensely.

While these are cooking, slowly begin heating the yogurt and (very slowly) pour in the limoncello. It may curdle but keep mixing. Add the capers, oregano, and pepper.

Place turkey in centre of plate and pour remaining lemon juice over them. Then pour the sauce on top.

I served with roasted garlic potatoes and thin slices of fresh tomatoes from our garden.

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.

 

Veal with Olives and Grape Tomatoes

At this time of the year, I get an abundance of small grape tomatoes. They are delicious as a snack but I get so many, I have to think of dishes to prepare with them. (The larger tomatoes don’t ripen till late in August here).

This is one I hadn’t tried before and since we were in the mood for a little meat, worked out really well. The topping alone would be good on any meat.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
4 slices of top round of veal for scallopini
2 tsp oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp cold butter
1 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives (halved)
1/3 cup chopped parsley (fresh if possible; less if dried)

METHOD

Mix flour, salt and pepper in a large plastic food bag. Add veal, 1 piece at a time, and toss to coat.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add veal and cook 4-5 minutes, turning once, until golden (center should be opaque). Remove to a warm plate.

Add wine to skillet; simmer 1 minute. Reduce heat to very low. Stir in butter until melted, then the tomatoes, olives and parsley. Spoon over cutlets.

I served with sauteed carrots and roasted small potatoes in rosemary.

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.