Friday, September 14, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu with White Wine Sauce

4 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
4 slices ham
4 slices provolone
1 egg
1 tsp water
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup Heavy cream
1 tsp Chicken broth granules


Pound out the chicken breasts to approximately 1/2" thick, so that it can be rolled.  Season both sides with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.  Place 1 slice of Ham and 1 slice of Provolone on each breast and roll so that the the Ham and Provolone cheese are enclosed in the seam.  Close with a toothpick.

In a separate shallow bowl or pie plate make an egg wash with the egg and tsp water and place the bread crumbs in a separate dish.  Take each chicken breast and roll in the egg wash and then in the breadcrumbs and place onto a plate.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and while that is preheating, heat a medium sized saute pan set at medium heat with the EVOO and butter.  Saute the chicken breasts for approximately 10 minutes rotating so that each side gets browned.  Remove breasts to a baking sheet and finish cooking for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and juices run clear.

While the chicken is baking add the white wine, cornstarch, heavy cream and chicken broth granules to the pan that you browned the chicken in.  Whisk for several minutes to all the flavors to marry together and the sauce to thicken.  Pour sauce over the breasts and served with your vegetable of choice.

Bon Apetite

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut up
3 tablespoons shortening, chilled
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 egg yolk
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

3/4 packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup dark corn syrup (Karo)
2 tablespoons bourbon (Jim Beam)
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 oz semisweet chocolate chopped or 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Pulse flour, sugar and 1/2 tsp salt in food processor until combined.  Add 6 tbsps butter and shortening; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces.  Add lemon juice, egg yolk and 2 tbsp of the water; pulse just until dough begins to clump slightly, adding additional water 1 tsp at a time as needed (dough should not form a ball).  Shape into flat round; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chill.  You can make the dough ahead a day if desired.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12 inch round about 1/8 inch thick.  Line 9 inch pie pan with dough.  Trim overhang to 1/2 inch; fold overhang under.  Flute edges.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes until dough feels firm.  Meanwhile heat over to 425 degrees.  Line crust with foil; fill with pie weights or dry beans.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool and reduce oven to 350 degrees.

Beat brown sugar and eggs in a large bowl at medium speed until blended.  Beat in melted butter, corn syrup, bourbon, molasses, vanilla and salt.  Scatter chocolate over crust; top with pecans;

pour filling over pecans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out moist but clean.  Cool completely on wire rack.  (I doubled the recipe to make 2 pies).  If you do not want to make the crust from scratch you can purchase frozen ready made pie crusts.  Marie Callander makes a wonderful crust (I've used it in a pinch.)  I hope you try this recipe, it truly is to die for!!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

(we didn't add the cheese and cilantro and wished we had)

Whole Chicken about 5 to 6 lbs
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can kidney beans
1 can green chilies
2 cans chicken stock (I use reduced sodium)
1 can cut corn
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 flour or corn tortillas (your choice)

Take whole chicken and simmer in a pot for about 40 to 60 minutes (depending on size of chicken).  Let cool.  De-bone.

In a dutch oven coated with 2 tablespoons oil cook onion until tender.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in the broth, tomatoes, beans, corn, chilies, tomato sauce and tomato paste and seasonings.  Shred chicken and add to soup.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes.  Meanwhile cut tortillas into strips and place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until crisp.

Garnish soup with tortilla strips, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro and sour cream.

This soup is even better the next day!!  Hope you enjoy, let me know if you make it and if you changed it at all. I would love to hear from you.

Mocha Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache filling

5 eggs, separated
1 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
3 cups cake flour (or 3 cups all purpose flour minus 6 tbsps of flour)
4 teaspoons baking cocoa (I prefer Ghirardelli premium chocolate)
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk**

Ganache Filling:
1 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped fine or chips
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

5 1/2 to 6 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon baking cocoa
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons strong brewed cofee
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

Let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in coffee and vanilla.  Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  In another mixing bowl and with clean beaters, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.

Pour into 3 greased and floured 9 inch round baking pans.  Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.  (I use Wilton's large round baking pan.  If you use this you need to use the bake even strip and I also place the flower nail in the center; this helps the cake bake evenly.  Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  You will also need to them cut the cake into layers after it has cooled.)

For the ganache heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until it boils and pour over the chocolate.  Let sit for a minute, add the confectioner's sugar and stir completely.  Let cool.

For the frosting, combine confectioner's sugar and cocoa.  In another large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar mixture.  Beat in coffee and vanilla.  

Take a decorators bag with a tip #12 and pipe a dam of icing on the edge of the layer.  Pour your ganache inside the dam.  

add your top layer and frost.  Be careful not to apply to much pressure so that the filling seeps out the sides.  Decorate with any other embellishments you wish or leave undecorated.

** if you do not have buttermilk put 1 tablespoon in 1 cup of milk and let sit for 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore
2 1/2 pounds chicken (breast halves, thighs and drumsticks)
1 1/2 cups mushrooms sliced fresh
1 each onion (medium) sliced
4 cloves garlic minced
14 1/2 once Diced tomatoes undrained
6 once tomato paste
3/4 cup Dry white wine
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rosemary dried, crushed
1 teaspoon thyme dried, crushed
1 teaspoon oregano dried, crushed
1 teaspoon basil, dried, crushed
1/8 teaspoon Black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley snipped fresh
Fettuccine or Linguine cooked

1) Skin chicken. In a 12in. skillet cook chicken in hot oil about fifteen minutes or until light brown, turning to brown evenly. Remove chicken from skillet, reserving drippings in skillet; set chicken aside.

2) Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic to drippings in skillet. Cook and stir about five minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Return chicken to skillet.

3) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, sugar, salt, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and pepper. Pour over chicken in skillet. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink 
(170F for breasts; 180F for thighs and drumsticks), turning once during cooking. Sprinkle with parsley. If desired, serve over hot cooked pasta

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 1/4 c Sugar
1/4 c Cornstarch
1/4 ts Salt
1 c Water
1/2 c Fresh lemon juice
3 lg Egg yolks
2 tb Unsalted butter
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 ¼ cup flour
¼  teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons water

I use my food processor to mix the dough up until it looks like small peas.  The roll into a ball and on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough, forming a 12 inch circle.  Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll the crust into the pie plate.  Ease pastry into the pie plate, being careful not to stretch the pastry. Trim to a ½ inch beyond the edge.  Fold under extra pastry and flute it or pinch it to form a scalloped edge.  Prick the bottom and sides and bake in an oven preheated at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or till golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

6 lg Egg whites; at room
1/2 ts Cream of tartar
1/2 c Plus 2 tablespoons sugar

For the filling, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a nonreactive saucepan. Gradually add the water and lemon juice, stirring to make a smooth mixture. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, still stirring, as it turns thick and clear, then remove from the heat. Pour half the hot- mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly, then pour the mixture back into the pan, stirring to keep the eggs from scrambling. Cook over low heat, stirring, a few minutes more. Stir in the butter and lemon zest. Pour the lemon mixture into the baked pie shell and smooth with a spatula. Preheat the oven to 350F. To make the meringue, beat the egg whites in a large clean bowl with the cream of tartar. When they make soft peaks, gradually add the sugar and continue until the meringue becomes stiff and glossy and the sugar crystals are dissolved (rub a little between your fingers to feel). Spoon the meringue over the lemon filling, making sure the edges are covered and sealed (otherwise the filling will bubble out). Smooth the meringue, then make peaks (or whatever design you wish) with the back of a spoon. Bake until the surface is lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool before serving; refrigerate if not serving right away. 

Winter Wonderland Cookies

Makes 8 dozen

40 Individually wrapped peppermints
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup Hershey's or Ghirardelli cocoa
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven is preheating, unwrap mints and place in a ziploc bag, use a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to crush into fine pieces.  The mints should fill 1 cup after being crushed; set aside.

Mix sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and cocoa in a large bowl or your Kitchenaid Mixer.  If using a handmixer put on medium speed and mix until well blended, scraping sides of bowl if necessary.  Set the chocolate mixture aside.  

Tips and Tricks:  If you are using a Kitchenaid or similar mixer, when adding dry ingredients to the wet, place a dishtowel over the top to prevent any of the dry being spilled out.

see the powder on the counter, if you use the towel it will prevent this from happening.

Mix flour, salt and baking soda (I usually sift together so there are no clumps and a good blending) in a medium bowl; set aside.  Slowly add the mixed dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture a little at a time until they are completely mixed.  Add the crushed mints, white chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, mixing until everything is well distributed and well blended.  Chill dough for 20 to 25 minutes.

Using a small cookie dough scooper (or regular spoon, if you don't have a scooper.  I love my scooper, keeps the fingers clean and less dough in my mouth...LOL) get a scoop of dough and place on cookie sheet, fill cookie sheet leaving enough space between cookies for expanding; place remaining dough back in the refrigerator.  Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cookies cool.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Eat and enjoy.  If you make these at Christmas time and give as presents you will be loved by all.  Trust me!