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Archive for February, 2011

Polenta!

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

I’ve never been a huge fan of polenta, but when I came across this recipe, I wanted to give it another shot.  The original recipe called for medium grain polenta, but I happenend to have a box of instant polenta in my cabinet.  I used that instead, and I was quite pleased with the result.

Golden Corn and Saffron Polenta (adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

5 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1 pinch saffron threads, chrushed

1 package instant polenta

1 package frozen corn kernels, thawed

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, cover, and cook until the onion is translucent.  Do not allow the onion to brown.  Add the broth, salt, and saffron.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and add the instant polenta.

Using instant polenta, this mixture will cook cookly.  Cook for 2 minutes covered.  While this is cooking, add the corn to a food processor and blend until it forms a coarse puree.  Mix into the polenta.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

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Chicken with Black Bean Chipotle Sauce

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The following dish is really easy and pretty darn good for you.  The original recipe called for whole chicken breasts, but instead, I cut the chicken into small cubes.  I served this with polenta, and it was delicious!

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

14 ounce can blackbeans, rinsed

2 teaspoons ground chipotle pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon minced cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons chili powder

4 chicken breasts, removed of excess fat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Spray a saucepan with cooking spray and saute the onions until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 45 seconds.

Add the black beans, chipotle, chicken stock, tomatoes, cilantro and salt.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until thickened.  Remove from the heat and cool.

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Place the black bean mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.

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Combine the olive oil and chili powder in a small bowl.  Add the chicken and combine until the chicken is covered in the chili powder mixture.

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Heat a skillet, coated with cooking spray, over medium high heat.  Add the chicken, and saute until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the black bean sauce.

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Salt-Baked Chicken

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

When I was 17, my family went on vacation to southern Spain.  One night, my mom and I split salt-baked fish at a restaurant on the beach, and it was delicious.  Ever since then, I have been obsessed with the concept of salt-baking, so when I saw the following recipe, I knew I had to try it.

The chicken that resulted from this recipe was perfectly cooked and was so moist.  While the following recipe is a Chinese preparation, I am curious about trying this method with other roast chicken recipes.  More to come on that experiment!

Salt-baked Eight Flavor Chicken (Adapted from Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking)

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

3 pound whole chicken, rinsed

3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine

2 teaspoons hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon five spice powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/3 cup sliced shallots

3 tablespoons chopped ginger

4 chopped green onions

4 lbs of Kosher salt (1 1/3 boxes of Kosher salt)

Combine the soy sauces in a small bowl.   Rub the mixture into the skin of the chicken and let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.

Combine the rice wine, hoisin sauce, sugar, sesame oil, five spice powder, and salt together in a small bowl.

Heat a wok over high heat.  Add the oil and swirl to coat the sides of the wok.  Add the shallots, ginger, and green onion.  Cook for about a minute and then add the rice wine mixture to the wok.  Stir to comibine.  Remove from heat, and remove the contents of the wok to a small bowl.  Allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spoon the contents of the bowl into the cavity of the chicken, and wrap the chicken in parchment paper.

Cover the bottom of a covered casserole dish with half of the Kosher salt.  Placed the wrapped chicken over the salt layer.  Cover the top of the bird with the remaining salt.  Cover the casserole dish and bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Check the temperature in the thigh and the breast.  Once both are above 160 degrees, remove the dish from the oven and serve.

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We enjoyed this dish as part of a Chinese New Year celebration including fried rice, spicy green beans, lo mein with pork, and whole salmon.  Delicious!

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Chocolate, Almond and Raspberry Tart

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Now that we’re halfway through February, I think it’s time to get started on one of my New Year’s resolutions:  to post some more recipes this year!  The following post is long overdue.  This was our Christmas dessert, and it was a big hit!

Chocolate, Almond, and Raspberry Tart (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

Picture 0482 cups ground chocolate wafer cookies

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

6 oz almond paste

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup whipping cream

3 half pint containers of raspberries

2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

2 teaspoons kirsch

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the cookie crumbs and butter in a bowl and stir until everything starts to stick together.

Press the crumb mixture into a tart pan, covering the bottom and sides of the pan in an even layer.  Bake the crust until it begins to crisp, about 20 minutes.  (Due to the amount of butter in the crust and the structure of a tart pan, I would recommend placing the tart pan over a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.  I didn’t do this, and I almost had a major kitchen disaster on Christmas!)

Cool the crust completely on a rack.  Once it is cool, press the almond paste into an even layer over the crust.

Put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to simmer.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the almond layer.  Chill the tart until the chocolate is set, about 4 hours.

Arrange the raspberries over the chocolate layer.  Mix the jam and the kirsch in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Brush the glaze over the raspberries.

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I served this with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  One of my finer baking efforts!

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