Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘easy’

Chicken Leg Lollipops

In Recipes on October 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Yield: 24 hors d’oeuvres

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

24 chicken drumettes, skin on

2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 cups panko bread crumbs

preparation

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Stand a drumette on its wide end and, holding the narrow bone at the top, use a paring knife to push and scrape the skin and meat downward to expose the bone and make a plump “lollipop” of chicken at the bottom. Repeat with the remaining drumettes. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a wide bowl or on a plate, season the flour with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dredge each chicken piece through the flour so it’s fully coated, tap against the bowl to shake off excess flour and set aside. Discard the flour.

In a large bowl (big enough to dredge the chicken pieces), mix the buttermilk, mustard, cayenne pepper and paprika. Give each floured chicken piece a good buttermilk bath and then roll in the panko crumbs.

Arrange the drumettes (standing up if you can) on a rack set over a baking sheet. Roast until chicken is cooked and the bread crumbs are golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meringue Towers with Almond Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries

In Recipes on April 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Yield: 6

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

6 store-bought meringue nests (Whole Foods sells great ones)

1 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold

1 teaspoon powdered sugar

1 cup almonds, blanches, sliced

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1 1/2 blackberries

2 tablespoons honey

preparation

Pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl and whip using a whisk or hand blender.  Whip until the cream starts to stiffen.  Add the powdered sugar.  Once the cream forms stiff peaks slowly fold in the almonds using a spatula.

Put the almond whipped cream inside and on top of the meringue nests.  Scatter the fresh fruit around and on top of each.  Drizzle the honey over the top and serve cold.

English Pea Soup with Mint

In Recipes on April 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Yield: 4 servings

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

This is a recipe that I adapted from Chef Russell Moore at Chez Panisse in Berkley, CA.  They are the masters of turning simple, seasonal ingredients into food experiences.  The key to this recipe is using fresh peas from pods.  They have a wonderful sweet and delicate flavor that is worth the work to shell.

2 spring onion, sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups English peas, shelled (about 12 ounces)

12 mint leaves, torn

Salt

Vegetable or Chicken Broth

Creme Fraiche

preparation

Sauté the spring onion in four tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shelled peas, some kosher salt, and enough broth to barely cover. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes, then add half the torn mint leaves. Continue cooking until the peas are tender, a few more minutes. Check for seasoning, and add more salt if needed.

Let the peas cool a bit and use an immersion blender or regular blender the puree the peas.  Continue to mix until the puree is smooth. For a most delicate texture, pass the mixture through a fine sieve.  Thin out with additional broth if needed. Serve warm with a dollop of Creme Fraiche and a mint leaf.


 

 

 

Tip of the Day: Ahhh Avocados

In Tips on April 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm

You’re having eight over for a Mexican themed evening and you’re getting ready to make Guacamole when you realize the avocados are still rock hard. Forget running out to the store and hunting for softer ones, there’s a quick fix.

Pierce the avocado several times with a sharp knife.  Put in the microwave on 50% power for 20 seconds then turn the avocado and nuke for another 20 seconds.  Let rest at room temp for 45 minutes to an hour.  At this point you should be able to cut into it without a problem. You’ve not only saved your guacamole but time and money!

Happy Partying!

Caprese Pasta

In Recipes on March 27, 2011 at 11:21 am

Yield: 5-6 servings main course

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

This is one of my favorite things to make in spring and summer.  There’s something so delicious about fresh tomatoes and garlic together in a light olive oil dressing.  This is a great recipe to experiment with using different ingredients.  Try with heirloom tomatoes or parmesan instead of mozzarella.  No matter what you use, this makes a healthy and easy dinner elegant enough to serve to guests.

1 box Whole Wheat spaghetti

3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes

12 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Olive Oil

Kosher salt and pepper

Red pepper flakes

1 pound fresh buffalo mozzarella, diced

1/2 cup fresh basil, torn into smaller pieces

preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash tomatoes and dry well.  Place tomatoes and garlic in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Season liberally with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes. Bake in oven on 400 for 15 minutes.  Then turn down the oven heat to 325 degrees and cook the tomatoes for an additional 30 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

Remove tomatoes from oven and pour in a large mixing bowl.  Use the back of a fork to carefully break all the tomatoes into pieces.  Add cooked pasta and toss.  Garnish with mozzarella cheese and basil.  Serve.

Parmesan Asparagus

In Recipes on March 27, 2011 at 11:19 am

Yield: 4 servings

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

In early spring asparagus begins to sprout from the cold ground giving us one of the seasons sweetest treats.  This is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of preparations.  For an easy, no fuss side dish try this for your next dinner party or family dinner at home.

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan-reggiano cheese

Fresh ground pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

preparation

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place asparagus on prepared baking sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with parmesan and pepper.  Drizzle liberally with olive oil.

Bake in over for 15-20 minutes until the parmesan is brown and the asparagus looks wilted.

Serve immediately.

Crispy Kale Chips

In Recipes on March 27, 2011 at 11:17 am

Yield: 6-8 servings (as a snack)

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

This might sounds a little strange, but these guys satisfy the salty crunchy craving of potato chips with out the fat.  Even better, they only take 20 minutes to prepare!

1 head of flat leaf kale (plain)

1/4 cup grated parmesan

Kosher salt

Red pepper flakes

Non-stick cooking spray

1 lemon, juiced

preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the stems off each leaf and then remove the leaves from the center stems leaving only leafy greens behind. Toss the stems – they are tough and bitter.

Throughly wash the kale and dry using a dish towel or salad spinner.

Spread the dried kale in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle grated parmesan over the kale. Season liberally with kosher salt.  Add the red pepper flakes based on how spicy you would like the chips to be. Spray the kale with a non-stick cooking spray and place in the oven for 15 minutes until the kale is crispy and parmesan turns light brown.

Remove from oven and lightly drizzle with lemon juice.  Serve.

Wine and Cheese Party

In Celebrations on March 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Throwing a wine and cheese party is fun, casual and doesn’t require much space.  It’s a great way to get a group of friends together without all the fuss of a classic cocktail party.  Here are a few easy tips to get you started:

  • When you invite guests ask them each to bring a wine and cheese pairing (see the chart below for pairing suggestions).  Ask that they let you know what they’re bringing so several people don’t come with the same thing.  It’ll be more fun if you have a variety of cheese and wine with different textures and from different regions.
  • Before the party stock up on crackers, baguettes, and fruit like apples, pears, figs, grapes, melon.  The fruit will bring out the flavor of the cheese and wine and add an extra element for tasting.  You might also consider purchasing a selection of smoked meats like prosciutto, salami, speck and bresola to serve along with the cheese.
  • Have wine glasses, cocktail napkins, hors d’oeuvre plates and large platters on hand.  When guests arrive, plate their cheese selections along with fruit and meat. Use index cards or place cards to label each cheese and wine pairing.
  • If space permits, scatter the platters of cheese and wine pairings around the room.  This way guests won’t gather in one spot.  It will make mingling and tasting easier and more fun.
  • Even though this is a casual shindig don’t forget the ambience.  Dim lights, light candles, and make sure you have some soft music in the background to set the scene.

Cheese

Country Wine Type Fruit
Bel Paese Italy Chardonnay Semi-soft
Blue Varied Strong, Red Hard Apple, Grape, Pear
Brie France Champagne, Merlot Soft Plum, Apple, Pears
Camembert France Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir Soft Plum, Berries, Apple
Cheddar England Cabernet Sauvignon, Rioja, Chardonnay Hard Melon, Peach, Apple
Colby U.S. Riesling, Champagne, Cava Hard Apple, Peach
Edam Holland Riesling, Champagne, Pinot Noir Hard Apple, Grape, Pear
Emmentaler Switzerland Beaujolais Hard Pear
Gouda Holland Riesling, Champagne Semi-Hard Apple, Grape, Pear
Goat Cheese France / Varied Sancerre Soft Apple, Fig, Pear
Feta Greece Pinot Grigio, Sancerre, Beaujolais Soft Apple, Pear, Peach, Fig
Gorgonzola Italy Champagne, Cava, Prosecco Soft Pear
Grana  Padano Italy Barolo, Barbaresco, Hard Apple, Pear, Fig
Manchego Spain Rioja, Merlot Hard Pear, Melon
Mozzarella (Fresh) Italy Pinot Blanc, Light Reds Soft Melon, Peach, Nectarine
Muenster France Zinfandel Soft Melon
Parmesan -Reggiano Italy Chardonnay Hard Fig, Grape, Apple, Honey
Pecorino Italy Chianti Riserva Hard Fig, Grape, Apple, Honey
Swiss U.S. Riesling, Gewurztraminer Hard Apple, Grape, Pear
St. Andre Franch Fruity Rose Soft Apple
Port Salut Denmark / France Chardonnay Semi-soft Melon
Roquefort France Tawny Port Semi-hard Apple, Pear

Must Have Pantry Items for Impromptu Entertaining

In Features on March 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Entertaining is easy if you have a plan and time to prepare, but it’s those impromptu evenings that truly test your chops as a host.  Keeping a variety of pantry items on hand for these occasions will undoubtably take the stress out of entertaining unexpected guests.  If you keep at least a few of these things in the kitchen you can throw together delicious hors d’oeuvres or a meal in no time.

  • Plain breadsticks
  • Jars of olives, stuffed grape leaves, roasted red peppers
  • Mixed nuts
  • Cornichons or dill pickles
  • Jars of your favorite pasta sauce
  • Few types of pasta like penne, linguine, farfalle
  • Good crackers
  • Variety of chips like tortilla, pita, root vegetable
  • Jars of salsa
  • Jars of mustard (dijon, whole grain, honey)
  • Dried fruit like cranberries, apricots, figs, raisins
  • Chutney / honey
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Dried Italian sausage and salami
  • Biscotti / cookies

Seafood Gumbo

In Recipes on March 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Yield: 8

Cooking Time: 120 minutes

There are a million variations of Seafood Gumbo and every from New Orleans will swear their way is the best.  I don’t profess to have the best, so here I’m following one of Emeril’s recipe.  For a Northerner like me, I think his is the absolute best!  This particular version comes from Every Day’s A Party, by Emeril Lagasse, with Marcelle Bienvenu and Felicia Willett, William Morrow and Company, Copyright, 1999.

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup bleached all-purpose flour

2 cups yellow onions, chopped

1 cup green bell peppers, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon cayenne

5 bay leaves

8 cups shrimp stock (or water)

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage

2 dozen oysters, shucked, with their liquor

2 tablespoons green onions (or scallions), chopped, green part only

2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Shrimp and Ham Jambalaya (or steamed long-grain white rice)

preparation

Combine the oil and flour in a large cast-iron Dutch oven or large heavy pot over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, and stir to blend with the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours.

Add the shrimp and crabmeat and cook for 15 minutes. Add the oysters, green onions, and parsley and cook until the edges of the oysters curl, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Serve immediately ladled into soup bowls over Shrimp and Ham Jambalaya, or over steamed long-grain rice.


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