Thursday, June 28, 2007

cranberry citrus salad.....

This recipe comes from my former catering boss. I left my job at the caterer almost 2 weeks ago. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders as I haven't been happy there for awhile. I actually dreaded going in to work which is very ironic because I love cooking. The working environment was unprofessional and as they say " when one door closes, another opens. I'm happy to report that I got a much better job that I start next week. I still have my Senior dining job too. My new job will allow me weekends off if I so choose. I actually forgot what it was like to have weekends off and I realized how much I've missed that. Anyway, on to the food.

I'm not sure where this recipe comes from, but its super simple. The dressing is equal parts oj and lemon juice, olive oil, a dab of honey, a touch of mustard, salt and pepper. The salad is red leaf, butter lettuce( or bibb), and raddichio. Toasted pecans, dried cranberries and segmented oranges round it out. Its actually a better salad to make in the winter because the citrus is so much better. I had a catering job last week and I thought it would be good to round out the other two salads they requested.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Jambalaya( cook's Illustrated).....

I've been a bad blogger( doesnt everyone say that when they've been MIA for awhile?). Work was absolutely crazy for a few weeks and then last week I blogged on Eg while trying to work 3 jobs.

I had some shrimp in the freezer and some chicken/turkey andouille sausage in the fridge so this dish was just meant to be. My neice Chelsea helped me make it and she loved it so much that she didnt leave even 1 grain of rice on her plate. I liked it too, but I had a problem. Maybe because I used my oval Le Creuset, but I had a hard time trying to get the rice to absorb all the liquid. It seemed to take forever. We were so hungry, that I finally pulled it off the burner and the rice was still a bit crunchy. Not too much, just enough so I knew that it wasnt cooked all the way. Oh well, live and learn. I think I might try it again with the round Le Creuset.

Robin and I are taking Chelsea to Niagara Falls( Canadian side) on Sunday. I'm having a really hard time trying to find a decent restaurant there. Anyone know of one? My friend from California will be meeting us there as they just live over the border in Lewiston, NY. We'll be spending our time at Great Wolf Lodge( giant water park). Chelsea is beyond excited.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007


My Momma is blogging over at Egullet. Go visit her!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Chicken Bolognese(Wolfgang Puck).........

Last week when I was at the grocery store( a daily occurence), the butcher showed me some lean ground chicken that was on sale for .99lb. He suggested it for the seniors. I bought all 12 packages of it. I kept one and brought the rest over to the agency that is in charge of the Senior dining program. I had NO clue what I was going to make with it, but for that price, I'd do some thinking about it. I decided I'm going to make a chicken, mushroom and onion pie( like a poor mans stroganoff served in a pie shell). My boss makes a beef and onion pie and I'll just sub chicken for the beef. Anyway, I digress.....

So, I remembered that when I lived in California, I used to buy this chicken bolognese pasta sauce at Gelson's Market. I loved it and it was so easy for me to just heat it up and pour if over pasta( I rarely cooked because I was in college and then Law School). I went looking for the recipe and to my surprise I found it on the foodnetwork website.

It was simple to make and had a good flavor. I made it the night before we ate it so the flavors would meld. It wasnt very saucy though. The next day, I added some good quality jarred sauce( one made with san marzano tomatoes) to stretch it out a bit further because I didnt have any of my own homeade sauce.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
Pinch chili flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup tomato juice ( I used V8)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 pound penne pasta( I used some fresh pasta I had in the fridge, penne would have been better)

Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. When the oil is hot, add the ground chicken and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, and chili flakes and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Carefully deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce until the white wine is almost completely evaporated.
Add the tomato sauce and juice and simmer until a thick sauce consistency, about 20 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Cook the penne in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to the sauce. Add the drained pasta to the sauce along with the Parmesan and toss well. Serve in a large bowl garnished with parsley leaves.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Blueberry Boy Bait(Cook's Country)....

This recipe comes from Cook's Country, the sister publication to my beloved Cook's Illustrated. I was perusing the message boards and found this under "America's Best Lost Recipes". Apparently, this was submitted in the 50's to Pillsbury's recipe contest. I guess its so good it can attract teenage boys!! Cook's Country updated the recipe( removed the shortening, etc) and I can vouch that its very good. It had a nice light texture and flavor. I would have prefered more blueberries though. My mother-in-law came over and we had this as a snack. Even my neice loved it.

Blueberry Boy Bait
Serves 12

If using frozen blueberries, do not let them thaw, as they will turn the batter a blue-green color.


2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup blueberries , fresh or frozen, (see note above)


1/2 cup blueberries , fresh or frozen (see note above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

2. Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining 1 teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. For the topping: Scatter blue-berries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)

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