Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chicken Sausage Manicoti( cuisine@home). and NYC!!...

Oct 13th was Canadian Thanksgiving. Because I cooked a big turkey dinner for the Seniors the previous Thursday, I went a little untraditional with the meal.

The dessert was the Black Forest Cake I'd previously blogged about. The main dish was this wonderful chicken and sausage manicotti. The recipe uses those Barilla no boil noodles. You do boil them though and they act like fresh pasta. You roll those around the flavorful filling of diced chicken breast, sausage, red pepper, mushrooms, garlic and ricotta cheese. The whole thing gets covered in a bechamel sauce. My MIL has a red sauce aversion( she gets an upset stomach) so I looked for a recipe using a white sauce. Robin and I both love my marinara sauce( using San Marzano tomatoes) so the next day we covered ours with the red sauce and it was spectacular!!

Speaking of Red Sauce, we're off to NYC on Monday. Before NYC, we'll be spending the night in Lewiston at my friend Stephanie's house. I see some Buffalo wings in Robin's future( not mine, I abHOR chicken wings).

There wont be any high end dining on this trip to NYC. I planned a self-led walking tour of the Lower East Side( where my grandparents grew up and grampa worked). The LES is home to most of the great Jewish culinary treasures such as Katz's, Yonna Shimels, Russ and Daughter's etc. We'll be eating our way thru these shops on this tour!!

I also have a self-led walking tour of the Upper West Side where thanks to Anna, we'll be visting some bakeries and other shops. We'll also be taking a GreyLine 2 day hop on, hop off tour where we hope to eat many a Slice and find some fabulous Red Sauce Italian restaurants.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Black Forest Cake( Cuisine @ Home).....

I spent the majority of the weekend cooking as today is Canadian Thanksgiving. We celebrated yesterday as most people around here are prone to do. Having experienced both American and Canadian Thanksgivings, I'd say that its less of a big deal here in Ontario!!( Dont hate on me for saying that). I couldnt imagine having Thanksgiving on Friday instead of its intended Thursday( which btw, this year falls on Robin's bday).

Anyway, we hosted this year as we have a new kitchen( renovation started the day after Thanksgiving last year). Because I made a big Thanksgiving meal last Thursday for the seniors, I decided to go a bit untraditional this year. We had Chicken/Sausage manicotti, Garlic slathered stretch bread and this fabulous Black Forest Cake. The cake is great because you MUST make it the day before so the flavors can meld. The whipped cream frosting is stabilized with a cornstarch/cream mixture that is first heated to make a "pudding". The filling is a mixture of dark cherries, dried cherries, cherry jam and cherry juice. The cake is a simple choc. cake that contains NO eggs.

The only deviation I made from the recipe I used was to use some Kirch in the cherry compote as well as between the cake layers. This cake was amazing!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Roasted Tomato Soup( Cuisine @ Home).....

Just call me weird, but I absolutely despise raw tomatoes. I hate the texture and the slime of the seeds!! But, I adore tomato soup. When I spotted 3kgs of plum tomatoes on the clearance rack for 3.00 I scooped them up. I really dont know why they were on clearance as they were pretty decent looking. I had some minor trimming to do which was no big deal. I threw them on the sheet pan with lots of garlic cloves and olive oil. This gets roasted for 40 min at 400F. I threw it in the pot with 2 cups chicken stock( original recipe calls for water), salt, pepper, fresh thyme( my addition) and fresh parsely. This cooks briefly and then I used the immersion blender to puree. I finished it with some sugar and fresh basil. The recipe calls for 1/2c. of half and half, but I left it out as I'm going to freeze it. Prior to serving, I add some half and half to the pot when I rewarm. Its soooooo good that I've been running up to the grocery store hoping they'll be more of those tomatoes on the clearance rack. No such luck. I might just have to plant some next year so I can make my own supply of this fabulous soup!!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

White chicken chili and corn toasties.....

Do you know what it means when the weather has a noticable chill? It means soup and chili time, of course.

I whipped up this white chicken chili from a recipe in the new Cuisine at Home Soup/Chili book( 9.95 on magazine shelves now). I've had GREAT luck with Cuisine at Home recipes. They've never failed me and they're pretty easy to follow. I did make a few changes, so I wont post the recipe.

I can't remember where I found this corn toastie recipe, but they're yummy!! You pour the batter into a jelly roll pan and then slice and toast. To me, cornbread is a must accompaniment to Chili!!

Corn Toasties

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c + 2 T sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 c + 2 T cornmeal
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 c milk

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a medium-sized bowl mix together the melted butter & sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Add the baking powder, cornmeal, flour & salt. Mix until everything is moistened. Stir in milk & mix until almost smooth (a few lumps are fine).

Lightly grease a 10" x 15" baking sheet with 1/2" sides. Pour the batter into the baking sheet, spreading into all the corners. Tap the baking sheet on the counter 1 or 2 times to even the batter out.

Bake for about 25 minutes. The edges should be brown & pulling away from the side of the pan & the top show be set. Allow to rest in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife cut into individual pieces I cut it into eight 2 1/2" x 3 3/4" rectangles.

Store the toasties wrapped in plastic wrap or in a resealable bag in the refrigerator for use over the next week. For longer storage keep them in the freezer.

To serve toast until browning & top with butter, syrup, honey or jam.

Makes 8 toasties