Saturday, September 21, 2019

Cheesy Corn Chowder

Cheesy Corn Chowder

When Nancy and I were just starting our life after graduate school, we met several nice couples. One was Art and Rita Crotzer. With job changes and life happening, we lost track of them. But from time to time, I remember them. I remember them every time I make Cheesy Corn Chowder from Rita's recipe. I've made very few changes to the written recipe she gave us.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

4 Ears of corn, kernels removed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 quart plus 1 cup of chicken stock
2 carrots, peeled and sliced in 1/8” rings
2 potatoes, peeled and cut in ½” cubes
4 slices bacon, cut in 1” rectangles
2 cloves garlic minced
10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste




Method

Melt the butter over medium heat and when bubbling, add bacon pieces and sauté slowly to half done.

Add the onion and carrot and continue to slowly sauté until onions turn translucent.

Add the stock, corn, Worcestershire sauce, potato, nutmeg, pepper (but not salt). Simmer until potatoes are just done.

Coat shredded cheese in flour, shaking to remove excess flour. Add to simmering stock. Do not boil soup after adding cheese. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to cook out flour and allow soup to thicken.  Taste and adjust salt.






Friday, August 2, 2019

Savory Chicken and Vegetables Bread Pudding



Ingredients


Stale bread or buns, sliced or torn into rough ¾ inch pieces (sufficient to mostly fill your baking vessel)
1 to 1.5 cups diced chicken (dark meat is my preference, but it does not matter)
One carrot, peeled and sliced thin
One onion, diced
One large stalk celery, halved lengthwise and then diced
One handful diced green pepper
(Optional) One large handful sliced mushrooms
Any other vegetable you desire (if peas, do not saute with the others)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 loose cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere, or provolone)
1 cup chicken broth (plus more as needed)
1 cup half and half (plus more as needed
4 eggs
1 or 2 splashes Worcestershire sauce
(Optional) 1 or 2 splashes sriracha sauce
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, minced (do not be shy on the amount) (Simon and Garfunkel, right?)
Salt and pepper
Butter for sautéing and for dotting the casserole


Method


Spray grease your cooking vessel. (a loaf pan works great)

Saute the vegetables in butter on medium low heat until the onion turns translucent and the remainder begins to soften.

Add the garlic and saute one more minute.

In a large bowl mix the bread, the chicken, the cheese, the herbs, and the vegetables
Salt and pepper the mix and turn the mix out into the cooking vessel. Do not pack down.

Crack the eggs into the same bowl and beat them lightly. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Add the broth and the half and half plus the Worcestershire sauce and sriracha if using. Mix well until uniform in color

Pour the custard over the bread until it almost covers the bread mixture. If more liquid is needed, mix chicken broth and half and half in equal proportions to supplement.

Cover the vessel with cling film and refrigerate 1 to 24 hours for the custard to infuse the bread.

Preheat the oven to 350. Set the rack to low middle.

Remove the casserole from the refrigerator, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and dot the surface with butter. Place the casserole on a sheet pan and put it in the oven. Bake 50 minutes or until the custard sets.

Note: Leftovers reheat quickly in the microwave.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mediterranean Chicken and Potato Stew (Poulet et Patate a la Provencal)


At the farmers market last Saturday I bought Cherokee Purple tomatoes. I used much of those in a tomato gallette that was the subject of my last post. I diced the parts of the tomatoes not suitable for the gallette. I also bought some fingerling potatoes at the same market. I have thyme, rosemary, and sage in my herb pots and I have bay leaf in the pantry. If you add Nicoise or Kalamata olives, capers, anchovy paste, white wine, and chicken stock to a braise, what is not to love?

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs with or without skin and bone
2 or 3 fingerling potatoes for each piece of chicken
1 onion diced (about 1 cup)
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced sweet bell pepper
a rounded handful of pitted Nicoise olives or Kalamata olives.
1 Tbs. capers
1 rinsed anchovy or its equivalent in anchovy paste
1 Tablespoon flour plus more as needed for dredging
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 sprig rosemary and 1 large sprig thyme (2 tsp. each of rosemary and thyme dried herbs)
1 large sage leaf
1 bay leaf
3 large cloves garlic roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sufficient chicken broth to half submerge the chicken.
salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Method


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Small dice the onion, celery, and sweet pepper.


Large dice the tomatoes (You may substitute Muir fire roasted diced tomatoes with juices)


Rough chop the garlic.


Measure the olives and capers


Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces.


If bone in with skin, salt and pepper well. If boneless and skinless, salt and pepper well and dredge in flour. In a heavy bottomed skillet or in the bottom of a dutch oven brown the chicken pieces well on both sides in a Tablespoon of olive oil and a large pat of butter. Set the pieces aside. Note: if using bone in with skin pieces, remove the crisp skin. It has served its purpose and will only turn rubbery in the braise.


Empty all but a Tablespoon of the fat from the pan, but do not wipe the pan. Saute the onion, celery, and pepper in the hot pan. As the  vegetables soften add 1 Tablespoon of flour and mix well into the vegetables.

Add the garlic, olives, tomato paste, capers, and anchovy to the pan. If using anchovy paste add the equivalent of one anchovy.

Add the wine to the pan and simmer until reduced by half. Nestle the browned chicken and potatoes among the vegetables (or place in the braising vessel and add the vegetables over them) and add a tied bundle of the herbs in the middle.



Add enough chicken stock to have cover the chicken and potatoes. Cover and set on the middle rack in the oven. Bake 50 minutes. Remove the cover and bake an additional 30 to 50 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Serve in warmed bowls with a blanched green bean salad.



Monday, July 15, 2019

Cherokee Purple Tomato with Pesto Gallette - Summer's Finest



Last week the wife and I dined at an excellent farm to table restaurant, The Reserve at Groggs Green. If you are in Tulsa on the weekend, we urge you to try it.

We were served a truly excellent wedge of summer tomato gallette as a part of the superb meal.

I checked the internet for recipes and found a good looking version in the Cooks Country. That is a sister publication to Cooks Illustrated.

I took that recipe, and my memory of the restaurant dish, and added pesto. Why? Because the basil needed thinning. I used tomatoes I found at the farmers market. I love Cherokee Purple tomatoes. They a very delicate and go bad from bruising so quickly. You will never see them in grocery stores. However, they are juicy and loaded with summer tomato flavor.

Ingredients

3 softball sized Cherokee Purple tomatoes, cored and sliced in 1/4 inch slices and halved (substitute Big Girl or Better Boy tomatoes as necessary)
1/2 cup prepared pesto (see recipe below)
1 large shallot, halved and sliced thin
2 cups finely shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan Reggiano
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
egg wash

Ingredients for the Dough

7.5 ounces of all purpose flour
10 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch cubes and chilled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6-9 Tbs ice water
flour to dust

Ingredients for the Pesto

2 Tbs pine nuts, toasted until fragrant
1 large clove garlic, sliced thin
1 large double handful of fresh basil
5 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 healthy pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Method for Tomatoes and Cheese

Thin slice the shallots.


Slice the tomatoes, salt them heavily, and put them in a colander to drain for at least 30 minutes.


Shred the cheese.


Method for Making the Crust

In a food processor combine the flour and salt. Pulse three times to blend. Add the cubes of butter on top of the flour and pulse until the mixture looks like very small peas in the flour. Turn the mix out to a bowl and add 6 Tbs. ice water. Use a spatula to mix and press the dough together. If the dough will not come together, add another Tbs. of ice water. Continue and repeat until the dough comes together. Quickly compress the dough, form a ball and flatten that ball into a disk. Wrap the disk in cling film and refrigerate for 30 or more minutes. 

Method for the Pesto

While the dough rests in the refrigerator, make the pesto. Put the pine nuts in a hot dry non stick skillet over medium high heat and toast while shaking until the pine nuts are fragrant. Add the nuts, the garlic, and 4 Tbs. of olive oil to the food processor bowl. (No need to wash the processor bowl after the dough, just tap the residue out). Pulse the garlic/nut/oil until the chunks break up a bit. Add the basil, small stems and all. Pulse four or five times. Add a pinch of salt and the desired amount of pepper. Process the mixture while streaming in more olive oil. Continue until you have a runny paste. Do not over process.

Assembly 

Put the rack at the middle of the oven and set the temperature for 375 degrees.

On a floured sheet of parchment lay out the disc of dough. Flour the top. Roll from the center of the disc away from you, turn 1/4 turn and repeat. Lightly dust the disc with more flour if needed. Repeat and continue until you have a rough 12 inch circle approximately 1/8 inch thick.


NOTE: Look at the picture of the rolled dough. You will see small chunks of butter. This is GOOD. Those chunks assure the dough will be flaky and light. If you process until everything is perfectly blended, your dough can be used to side a house.

Use the parchment to slide the crust into a sheet pan.

Use a small spatula to spread the pesto on the crust. Leave about 1.5 inches on the edges.


Spread the gruyere evenly over the pesto.

Dry the tomatoes between layers of kitchen towel. 


Starting in the center, shingle the tomatoes in a spiral until all the pesto is coverd. Use pies of slices to cover any gaps.

Sprinkle the sliced shallots evenly over the tomatoes.

Sprinkle the shredded parmesan over the assembled stuffing.



Starting at the edge farthest from you, pull the crust edge up and over the stuffing. Do the same about two inches around the edge and pinch the fold that forms together. Continue around the edge until the dough has become a tart crust.

Drizzle more olive oil evenly over the stuffing.

Beat one egg with a bit of water. Use a pastry brush to paint the crust which shows. You will not need all the egg wash.


Bake the gallette 45 to 50 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the interior bubbling.

Remove the baked gallette from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Use a spatula to move the gallette to a wire rack to cool further without steaming the bottom crust.

Slice in wedges and serve warm with a tart green leafy salad.







Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Pan Roasted Chicken and Asparagus with Spicy Sesame Lemon Tahini Sauce


 
This dish is a blend of several news articles and a blog entry.

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs with bones and skin.
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 inch bundle asparagus, woody ends broken off
5 baby bella mushrooms, quartered
salt and pepper


Sauce Ingredients

Juice of one lemon
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Roasted Sesame oil
2 rounded Tablespoons Tahini paste
1 Tablespoon unsalted chicken broth
1 large splash Sriracha or preferred hot sauce (or to taste)
salt

Method

Use a whisk, stick blender, a regular blender, or a food processor to turn the sauce ingredients into smooth, silky sauce. Add additional chicken broth if required. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.


Trim the excess skin and fat from the thighs, leaving only the skin on one side of the thighs.

Liberally season the thighs on both sides with salt, pepper, the cumin and the paprika.



Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet to just below the smoke point. Place the thighs skin side down in the center of the skillet. Do not move the thighs until the skin has crisped and turned mahogany. Turn the thighs over and brown the other side. Remove the chicken to a separate plate and tent with foil.



Pour most of the fat from the skillet, but do not wipe.

Add the asparagus and mushrooms to the skillet and cook two minutes.



Add the tahini sauce to the asparagus and mushrooms. Carefully nestle the thighs skin side up in the sauce and cook until the sauce boils to finish cooking the chicken and vegetables.



Test the taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

 Garnish with the chopped mint and serve.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Mediterranean Lentil Bowl


Recently the wife and I have begun to enjoy "bowls." Rice bowls, farro bowls, and even quinoa bowls. Well, alright, maybe not quinoa bowls, but we will defend the right of others to make that choice.

The first such dish I ever had was a lentil stew with vegetable condiments.  Now, people would call it a bowl. Whatever the name, lentils remain my favorite.

For this dish, I read several lentil bowl recipes and discovered the ingredients and spices lie all over the map. Paprika,  Cumin, Nutmeg, Cardamon, Turmeric ... the possibilities were amazing. Recipes named cucumber, fried potatoes, brown rice,  cheese, and kale as possible toppings. I think the bottom line turned out to be that you can use anything that appeals to you. So I did.

To justify the addition of Mediterranean to the title, I stole a tahini based dressing recipe and made it. Then I changed it to improve it.

NOTE! The ingredients below are out of whack! The dressing amounts are for four "bowls." The bowl ingredient measures make two large servings. To come out even, half the dressing or double the bowl ingredients.


Bowl Ingredients

1 small sweet bell pepper, seeds and pith removed and thin sliced in strips
1 large Roma tomato, seeds and pith removed and thin sliced in long strips
1 medium carrot, peeled and thin sliced at an angle
1 double handful fresh spinach leaves, stems removed, thin sliced in strips
6 Kalamata olives, pits removed and sliced
3 white button mushroom, stems removed, cut in half and thin sliced
1 peeled and sliced avocado
1 cup of green or black lentils
3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbs.+  minced dill leaves

Dressing Ingredients

3 Tbs. Tahini
3 Tbs. Rice Vinegar
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. dark sesame oil
2 Tbs. boiling water
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large clove garlic, minced and turned into a paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large pinch salt
3 grinds black pepper
1 large splash sriracha (or to taste)

Method

Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk thoroughly to blend. Set aside to allow the flavors to meld.



Place the lentils and broth in a medium saucepan, add a large pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes with the lid mostly on. You want the lentils done but not mushy. Keep an eye on the lentils and add additional broth if needed.


Rinse and process the vegetables.







Assembly

Drain the lentils and mix in the spinach and dill. Toss to wilt the spinach. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Allow to cool until merely warm.

Make a small mound of the lentils in the center of the service bowl. Arrange the remaining vegetables around the edge of the bowl, leaving the lentils visible. Ladle the tahini dressing over the vegetables and enjoy.