Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata is one of my favorite dishes to order from a good Italian menu. Southern Living provides a great recipe for this classic chicken-lemon-caper dish.  This is an excellent recipe for Veal Piccata as well.

When I can't find thinner-cut breast cutlets, I halve a chicken breast half to make a thinner cutlet. Pound the chicken breast cutlets between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Pound to a thickness of 1/4 inch

Prepare the flour, seasoning with the salt and pepper, and lightly beating an white for dredging

Squeeze your lemon juice. This is the primary flavor and ingredient in the sauce.

You will also need some thinly sliced lemon rounds.

Chicken Piccata is not Chicken Piccata without these briny little flower buds.  I love capers and I prefer the smaller-sized ones. 

Measure your oil and butter for cooking the chicken, as well as butter for the sauce.

Roughly chop the parsley for the sauce.
After dredging in the egg white and flour, brown the chicken, two cutlets at a time. Once the first two cutlets are done, transfer to a plate and wipe the skillet clean. Repeat with the 2 more Tbsp. butter and the remaining olive oil and remaining 2 cutlets.

Transfer the final two cutlets to the holding plate.  After the last two cutlets, don't wipe out the skillet.

Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and capers to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat.  Scrape up the fond on the bottom of the skillet. Add the lemon slices to the sauce. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, whisking occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.  Whisk in parsley.

Spoon sauce over chicken, and serve immediately. I served the chicken with pasta and spinach soufflé

Chicken Piccata
Adapted from Southern Living Magazine
Serves 4 

4 (5 to 6 ounces) boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (or 2 breast halves, sliced to make 2 thinner cutlets)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsps. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
6 Tbsp. salted butter, divided
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. brined capers, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Mise en Place:
  • flatten chicken cutlets
  • prepare flour seasoned with the salt & pepper and egg white in dredging dishes
  • measure butter and olive oil for divided uses
  • measure chicken broth
  • squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • slice some thin slices of lemon
  • drain and rinse capers
  • chop parsley
Place each chicken cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap and flatten to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.  Dip each cutlet in the egg white and dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cutlets and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. Wipe skillet clean and repeat process with 2 Tbsp. butter and remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil and remaining 2 cutlets.  Move the cutlets to the holding plate. discard drippings but do not wipe skillet clean.

Add chicken broth, lemon juice, and capers to skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring and scraping bottom of skillet to loosen the browned bits (fond). add thin lemon slices. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes.  Whisk in remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. Whisk in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately with pasta. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Strawberry Ice Cream

This may be the best strawberry ice cream I have ever tasted.  Pulled it from the current June 2018 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Start it the night before you want to make it.

 Clean and halve a pound of fresh strawberries and put them in a blender or a food processor along with lemon juice and sugar.  Process until nice and smooth.

Press the purée through a fine sieve.  You should get around 1-1/2 cups of purée.

Bring the milk, cream, corn syrup, and sugar to a boil and simmer.

Cool the cream mixture in an ice bath until cool.

Once the cream mixture is cool, add the strawberry purée.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Roughly chop the 8 ounces of strawberries and add to a mixture of vodka and sugar.  Cover and allow to macerate overnight in the refrigerator.

The next morning, process in your ice cream maker according to directions. When the ice cream gets to a soft serve stage, drain the reserved strawberries and add to the ice cream.  Use the drained vodka for another use (like a cocktail).

 Spoon ice cream into a bread pan and refrigerate.

 Strawberry Ice Cream
Makes 1-1/2 quarts
From the June 2018 issue of Martha Stewart Living

Fresh strawberries - 1 lb. plus 8 ounces more; 
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup for macerating
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup vodka

Mise en place:
  • Clean and hull the pound of strawberries and cut in half
  • clean and coarsely chop 8 ounces of strawberries
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • measure out all other ingredients
In a blender or food processor, purée  the halved strawberries with lemon juice and salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve (you should have 1-1/2 cups of purée; reserve any excess for another use).

Combine milk, cream, 2/3 cups sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes. Strain mixture into a bowl, set the bowl in an ice bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold. Stir in strawberry purée. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

Stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and vodka.  Add chopped strawberries and macerate, covered overnight in the refrigerator.

Process the purée mixture in your ice cream maker according to the directions.  When the ice cream is at the soft serve stage (towards the end of processing), drain the chopped strawberries and add the berries to the ice cream.  Save the liquid from the macerating strawberries for another use; most likely for a cocktail 😀

Transfer the ice cream to a loaf pan and freeze, wrapped in plastic, at least 4 hours and up to 1 week. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Crispy Shrimp Tacos

These are goooooood

Here is what you need for your filling.  Tomato, catsup, garlic, lime juice, salt, black pepper and, of course, shrimp. Note there is no jalapeño because Lovey doesn't do jalapeños.

Prepare whatever condiments & toppings you want to use and hold in the refrigerator.

Shred your cheese.

Combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, catsup, lime juice, garlic, part of the salt and pepper.  I left the jalapeño out because Lovey doesn't like the heat.  If I were making these for myself I would definitely add the jalapeño.

 Sauté this mixture until is begins to thicken and the tomatoes begin to break down.

Reduce your heat and add the shrimp.

 Line two baking sheets with parchment and place 6 tortillas on each sheet.  Brush the tortillas with oil.

Divide the cheese among the tortillas

Add the shrimp mixture and bake, one sheet at a time, until the cheese melts and the edges begin to brown.

Garnish with your toppings

Fold them in half and serve them up with re-fried beans and Spanish rice.

Shrimp Tacos
Adapted from Feb/Mar 2018 issue of "Cook's Country"
Serves 4 to 6

2 tomatoes
1 small yellow onion
1 jalapeño
2 Tbsp. catsup
1 Tbsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
 2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
1 pound large shrimp (26-30 per pound count)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
iceberg lettuce
diced avocado
fresh cilantro

Mise en Place:
  • core and chop tomatoes
  • finely chop the onion
  • stem, seed and mince jalapeño
  • juice lime and cut more lime(s) into wedges
  • mince garlic
  • peel, devein and remove tails from shrimp; cut shrimp into 1/2 inch pieces
  • shred cheese (should have about 2 cups)
  • prepare condiments: shred lettuce, chop avocado, chop cilantro
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450° F. Combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, catsup, lime juice, garlic, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add tomato mixture and cook until liquid is slightly thickened and tomatoes begin to break down, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, stir in shrimp, and cook until shrimp are just opaque, about 2 minutes.

Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange tortillas in single layer on prepared sheets (6 tortillas per sheet). Brush tops of tortillas with the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil. Divide Monterey Jack evenly among tortillas, then top with shrimp mixture. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cheese melts and edges of tortillas just begin to brown and crisp, 7 to 9 minutes.

Garnish with lettuce, avocado, cilantro, and salsa, then fold tacos in half. Transfer tacos to platter. Serve, passing lime wedges separately.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is a dish I make more often in the winter months. Night before last we had a wonderful rain storm and it really cooled us down; almost like Autumn. Good night to make this one more time before the 100° + temperatures return and stick around for a couple of months. Classically made with lamb (and what I prefer), the version in our household is made with a lean ground sirloin or ground bison.  Lovey prefers it that way.

It's full of all sorts of wonderful produce.  Instead of the potatoes being a part of the filling they become the topping, or crust, of the pie.

There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe but it is a simple one to put together.  A word on the red wine. Don't use a super expensive wine yet don't use one you would mistake for vinegar. 

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area Burgundy Pasture Beef is a great option for your meats. In Midland I use Midland Meat Company. Seek out a local grass-fed beef source in your area.  It will be well worth the $$$$$$.

Prepare the mashed potatoes for the topping and set aside while you prepare the filling. Put on a pot of water with a Tablespoon of salt to boil.  Peel and chop the potatoes into 1/2" cubes. 

 While the potatoes are cooking gather together the rest of the ingredients you will need for the potatoes.  The mashed potatoes are a little different for this dish than the fluffy, buttery ones I make to eat with, say, fried chicken.  These need to have a little more substance so they stand up nicely on top of the meat mixture.  The egg yolks lend to this, as well as the half and half.  Note in the photo there are two egg yolks. Normally, I use one but the yolks that were coming out of the eggs I had on hand were so tiny!

Whip them up and set them aside until you are ready to spread on top of the pie.

Prepare the rest of your ingredients and have them ready to go.  Here is how I remove the corn kernels off the cob. When you are prepping all of your ingredients for the filling, rinse the frozen peas and combine with the corn and hold in the refrigerator until they are ready to be added.

Sauté the onion, carrots and garlic. Add the ground beef and cook until it is browned then
sprinkle flour over the meat mixture and mix to coat

After the flour has cooked for a minute, add the stock, wine, Worcestershire and the herbs and  bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens. If you don't have a lid large enough for your skillet, use a cookie sheet like I did

Fold in the corn and peas 

and pour into a 2 to 3 quart baking dish

Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture.  Make a good seal between the potatoes and the sides of the casserole dish

With a fork make a decorative pattern in the potatoes.

I normally make this wavy pattern.  The ridges will brown nicely. Bake in a 400° oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

This is another pattern

A great one-dish meal.  We add a small dinner salad on the side.

Shepherd's Pie
Adapted from Alton Brown
Serves 8

2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cups Half-and-Half
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground sirloin or bison
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce 
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 ears fresh corn on the cob, kernels removed
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsps. ground black pepper
1 tsp. Kosher salt

Potato Crust:
In a medium saucepan bring water (enough to cover the potatoes) to a rolling boil.  Add salt to water and add the potatoes. Return to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl. Throw in the butter and slowly begin to dry whip potatoes. Add the half & half and whip until smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolk and mix until incorporated. Set potatoes aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and carrots and sauté for several minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the ground meat and cook until browned and broken up, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the meat mixture with flour and mix to coat; continue to cook for 1 more minute. Add the broth, red wine, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer slowly for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste (you may not need any salt depending on how salty you make your potatoes).

Fold the corn and peas into the meat mixture and spread evenly into a 2 to 3 quart glass baking dish. Using an offset spatula, spread the mashed potatoes, creating a seal around the edges to prevent the mixture from bubbling up. Smooth top then make a decorative pattern in the potatoes with a fork.

Place on a baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until potato crust it golden. If you need you can the broiler in the last  minutes to brown the potatoes more. Remove to a rack and rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.