Tuesday, February 17, 2015

chicken pot pie

I came home from work early yesterday in anticipation of an ice storm.

Though we have had very little of what one might call a winter, eight hours of snow and ice and sleet brings this part of the world to a standstill because we don’t have the equipment to clean it up and no one can drive on ice. Since it was early and it was cold, I decided to cook. I made Uncle Milty’s Guinness and Chocolate Chili and then I decided to make a chicken pot pie. I looked at several recipes, but found most of them only had a top crust and I wanted as much flaky pastry as I could get. A search led me to Sally’s Baking Addiction. Thanks to her and Michael Ruhlman’s expert advice on how to roast a chicken, I was in business.

I first got the chicken in the oven, following Ruhlman pretty much to the letter.

1 three to four-pound chicken
1 lemon and/or 1 medium onion, quartered
Kosher salt

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about an hour before it goes in the oven and rinse it. Stuff it with the lemon or onion, or both. Salt it and set it on a plate lined with paper towels/absorbent paper. 

Preheat the oven to 450°. Set the oven on convection if that’s an option. Put the chicken in an oven-proof frying pan and slide it into the oven.  After one hour, check the color of the juices. If they run red, return the chicken to the oven and check it again in five to ten minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for fifteen minutes before carving it.

While the bird was in the oven, I made the crust, following Sally’s recipe. The only thing I did differently was I used pork lard instead of vegetable shortening.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3/4 cup lard (or vegetable shortening), chilled
2/3 cup ice water
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter and shortening using a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You may still see some flecks of butter; that’s okay.

Measure 2/3 cup of water. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 2/3 cup of water (since the ice has melted a bit). Slowly drizzle in the very cold water, stirring with a large spatula after every tablespoon or two of water that you add. Take your time to see how well the dough is coming together and don’t add any more water than you need. Stop adding water when the dough begins to clump.

Roll out the dough on a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Form the dough into a ball and then divide it in half. Flatten each half into a 1-inch thick disc using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and efrigerate for at least one hour.

While the chicken was cooking and cooling and the pie crust was chilling, I began working on the filling.
1 pound roasted chicken meat, pulled from your earlier endeavor
1 cup sliced carrots (about 2 carrots)
2 cups fresh green beans, cut in one inch segments
2 cups small white potatoes, quartered or sliced.
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 and 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 large egg, beaten
In a large saucepan, combine carrots, potatoes, and green beans. Cover them with water and boil for about twelve minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

Cook the butter, onions, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions are translucent and the butter is lightly browning. Whisk in the flour until it makes a bit of a paste and then add the chicken, chicken broth, half-and-half, and salt and pepper. Cook and whisk until no flour lumps remain, then simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture gets pretty thick. This may take eight or ten minutes. You want it to be a very thick gravy. Taste and add more seasonings if you prefer. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Roll out one half of the chilled pie dough on a floured surface. Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle twelve inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Place the chicken mixture on top. Roll out the second half of the dough just as you did the first. Cover the pie and trim the extra overhang off the sides. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork or your fingers. Cut a few small slits in the top crust for steam to escape. Brush the crust and edges with  the beaten egg. Bake for 32 - 38 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. I use a pie crust shield to protect the edges from browning too much too soon. Cool for ten minutes before serving.



Friday, September 05, 2014

eggplant napoleon

This is less a recipe and more a collection of things in the fridge that sounded good together — and they were right.

an eggplant or sevengoat cheesefig preserves
Pull the little hat off the eggplant and cut a small piece off the top and bottom so both ends are flat. Stand the eggplant upright on the large end and cut longwise in 1/4 inch thick slices. (I cut the first to get the rounded part with the peel away so all the slices I use are all eggplant.)  I cut enough where each person had a stack of three slices. You can do more if you like.

Heat a grill pan and brush each side of the eggplant with olive oil and grill for about two minutes a side, until eggplants are marked and softened, but not wilted. Let them cool just a bit and then lay one slice on the plate and spread the goat cheese and then the fig preserves; add another slice and do the same thing; add the top slice and you’re done. (The dots on the plate in the photograph are a balsamic reduction I bought at Trader Joe’s.)




Friday, August 22, 2014

guinness barbecue sauce

Guinness. Barbecue Sauce. 'Nuff said.

4 tablespoons butter
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup molasses
1 can Guinness Stout
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon cayenne
*1 teaspoon cumin
*1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 8 ounce can tomato paste
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple 
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add the garlic sauté until it is tender and beginning to caramelize -- six to eight  minutes. Add the molasses, beer, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and spices; bring to a boil. Lower the heat a bit and let it cook at a simmer for about ten minutes. Stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the saucepan. Mix in the tomato paste and pineapple and lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for thirty minutes, continuing to stir every few minutes. I used my immersion blender to puree the sauce. Let it cool to room temperature before serving.

*The spices are an approximation. I wanted a sauce more sweet than hot. Adjust them to your liking.



creamed corn casserole

4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 eggs, beaten
8 ears corn, kernels cut off of the cob
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13x9 casserole dish.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Cook over medium heat until the flour begins to brown. Add the milk and cream and cook until the liquids are warm, but not boiling; they may even begin to thicken up a bit. Add the cheese, corn, and cayenne. When the cheese has almost melted, slowly pour a ladle or two of the hot liquid over the eggs, stirring diligently, to temper the eggs and then add them back to the cream and corn mixture. Remove from heat and pour into casserole dish. Bake for forty minutes or until set.



fried green tomato po' boys

King's Hawaiian Bread makes a mini-sub roll.

There was an abundance of green tomatoes at the Durham Farmer's Market.
I found a couple of ripe avocadoes at the grocery store.

Talk about your inspiration.
green tomatoes, sliced in relatively thin slices
Torta masa (Mexican corn flour)
Dredge the tomato slices in the flour and then toss them in the buttermilk. Shake them off a little and toss them in the masa. Heat about a half inch of canola oil in a skillet to about 350 and then drop the tomato slices into the hot oil. Cook them until lightly browned -- two-three minutes a side.
King's mini sub rolls
Iceberg lettuce, shredded
avocados, sliced
Sriracha mayonnaise (2 parts mayo to 1 part Sriracha)
Butter the King's rolls and put them butter side down on a hot grill pan or skillet just long enough to brown them. Set them on the plate. Put down two or three tomatoes, a couple of slices of avocado, a handful of the shredded lettuce, and then paint the top of the bun with the mayo.

Make enough for seconds.



peach and cherry tomato caprese

This has been the summer of good peaches and great tomatoes here in Durham. Thanks to

some fresh mozzarella, a little basil, and some balsamic glaze, I came up with this version of the classic salad.
2 peaches, cored and then sliced
slices of fresh mozzarella about the same size as the peaches
cherry tomatoes, cut in half, longways
fresh basil, cut in chiffonade
olive oil
balsamic vinegar(I actually used a balsamic reduction I found at Trader Joe's.)
Lay the slice of peach on the plate. Stack the mozzarella on top and then cover cheese with a handful of tomatoes. Sprinkle the basil across the top and then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.



guinness chocolate sauce

Good ice cream needs a good sauce.

1 cup Guinness Stout (about a half a can)
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it thicken up -- about five to seven minutes. Let it cool before serving.

This went with these cookies and this ice cream.

And I found the original recipe here.



chocolate ice cream

I was trying to think of what should go with the Peanut Butter Sriracha Cookies for dessert

and decided, rather obviously I suppose, that chocolate ice cream would do the trick. I made this recipe in my Cuisinart countertop ice cream maker.
 3/4 cup sugar 
1 cup milk 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 egg yolk, lightly beaten 
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar, milk, salt, and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer. Place the egg yolks into a small bowl. Gradually stir in about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid to temper the eggs and return all of it to the saucepan. Heat until thickened, but do not boil. Remove from the heat, and stir in the chopped chocolate until chocolate is melted. Pour into a bowl and then place that bowl in a larger bowl with ice and put both in the refrigerator for about two hours until the mixture is cold. Once that has happened, whisk in the cream and vanilla. Pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's directions (which will probably include letting the ice cream set in the freezer for a good couple of hours -- this is not a last minute recipe).

We also served it with this Guinness Chocolate Sauce.

I adapted the recipe from here.



Saturday, August 16, 2014

grilled asparagus, cherry tomato, and corn salad with basil vinaigrette

The only thing you cook in this salad is the asparagus.

I use my stove top grill pan. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears and toss them in a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Get the grill pan hot and then put a single layer on the pan. Grill them for four minutes or so, moving them around so they are heated on all sides. You don't want them to get squishy; just cook them long enough to get some grill marks. Set them aside. When they have cooled, cut them into one inch segments. I like to cut on the bias, which means an angled cut to give them a little flair.

Stand the corn cob on one end and, using a serrated knife, cut the kernels off the cob. (You can save the cobs in the freezer and add them to stocks or soups later.)

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Toss everything together in a big bowl and add the basil vinaigrette.
6-8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Blend together using an immersion blender or a regular blender until mixture is emulsified. You may need to add a little more oil. Pour over salad and serve. You also may not need all of the dressing -- your call.



peach and fig compote

It’s fig season, it’s peach season: it’s sauce season!

1 pint fresh, ripe figs, washed6 fresh, ripe peaches, unpeeled, washed1 cup brown sugar1/3 cup balsamic vinegar2 tablespoons bourbon1 teaspoon cinnamon1/2 teaspoon salt
Trim the stems and bottom core off of each fig and then quarter it.

Pit the peaches and then slice them thinly.

Put figs and peaches into large saucepan and add remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat till fruit softens, then stir well to make sure the fruit is covered by the liquid. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken a bit. It works served either warm or at room temperature.