Monthly Archives: February 2015

Orange-Glazed Chicken

Packing a powerful flavor-punch that included sweet, savory, and spicy notes, this Orange-Glazed Chicken recipe seemed right up our alley. It caught my eye as I was flipping through Redbook Magazine, with the promise of a rather easy weeknight meal. Thinking eight chicken breasts were way too many for two people, we halved the number of pieces, but made the entire portion of sauce because it just sounded way too good—and boy was it! (If you happen to have a more delicate palette, you may want to consider limiting the amount of cayenne.)

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Four delicious glazed chicken breasts garnished with chopped scallions and orange zest.

The instructions indicate simmering the sauce until it reduces by about a third. In our case, it was too thin for our taste, so we continued reducing for a total of about 45 minutes until it was near the consistency of a light syrup. Granted we did have leftover glaze mixture, which we welcomed because Russ was already imaging an exotic stir-fry that would compliment the sauce for another night.

With not much time to prep on a weeknight, we paired the chicken with a healthy Urbane quinoa blend with miso, edamame and scallions. Mmmmm, mmm good…

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 3 Tbsp orange zest, divided
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup scallions, finely sliced

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350. In a bowl, whisk the broth, orange juice, honey, hoisin sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and two tablespoons of the orange zest, set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over med-high heat. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place four breasts in the heated pan, searing until lightly browned on both sides, flipping once. Place the chicken on a plate; repeat with the remaining breasts, tent with foil.
  3. Place the skillet back on the stove over medium heat; pour in the glaze mixture, Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring until the mixture is reduced by a third (or as in our case, by at least half.) Return the chicken to the skillet, arranging in a snug, even layer.
  4. Place the skillet in the oven and roast the chicken for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165 degreeF. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on a large platter, pour the glaze over the chicken and garnish with scallions and remaining orange zest.
  5. If, when the skillet comes out of the oven and you still want to thicken the glaze, arrange the breasts on a platter, tent with foil, and bring the sauce to a simmer for another 5 minutes or so until thickened, pour over plated chicken, then garnish.
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The Cousin Connection

You have heard the old adage “Time Flies,” well it becomes increasingly prevalent as we get older. Which couldn’t have been more true in getting together with my cousin Tom and his wife Jacqui. Last we met was about 1 1/2 years ago, and the Saturday we had invited them over for dinner almost didn’t happen. Find out why under the Reconnecting with Friends tab…

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Cándida’s Stewed Chicken with Potatoes

~Pollo de Corral de Cándida Acebo~
From La Cocina de Mamá by Penelope Casas.

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Candidá, good friend of chef/author Penelope Casas, lived in the remote village of Compludo in the province of Léon Spain, a fertile region of El Bierzo, famed for its fruits and vegetables. Here the chickens wander the streets at will—free range in the truest sense—and villagers naturally cook with ingredients readily at hand. Thus, Penelope received this chicken recipe from Candidá which makes use of the village chickens and locally grown onions.

By now we’ve made numerous dishes from La Cocina de Mamá and everyone has been a winner, so we looked forward to trying this one out too. Not overly complex or time-consuming, this recipe soothes the soul on a cold winter’s eve. And don’t worry about leftovers, because if you do happen to end up with some, they’re just as good reheated.

Ingredients

  • One 3- to 3 1/2 lb. chicken
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp minced, fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika, preferably Spanish smoked
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
  • 1 med. onion, preferably Vidalia or other sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 med. red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

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Directions

  1. Cut the chicken into small serving pieces, first detaching the wings and legs, then, with kitchen shears, cutting the breast into four pieces and each thigh in half crosswise. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. In a mortar, mash to a paste the garlic, parsley, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mash in the paprika, then stir in the wine and reserve.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a shallow casserole or skillet and sauté the chicken until browned on both sides. Add the onions, carrots, and bell pepper and sauté until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the mortar mixture and cook slowly, covered for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Add the potatoes in a single layer, sprinkle with salt, and sauté for 2 minutes, turning with a metal spatula to prevent sticking. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally with the spatula.
  5. Drain the oil, add the potatoes to the chicken, and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. Serve.

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We found it best served in shallow bowls because of all the wonderful juices.

Osso Buco alla Milanese

Selected from one of our most beloved recipe books “All About Braising,” we felt Osso Buco alla Milanese made for the start of a great Italian-themed meal on Valentine’s Day along with Risotto Milanese, a classic accompaniment, and with good reason. It’s creamy texture and saffron-laced flavor go perfectly with the tender shanks.

This recipe is surprisingly straightforward considering the complexity of flavor it delivers. Like the author Molly Stevens, we added a bit of chopped fresh fennel to the traditional aromatic mix of onions, celery, and carrots along with orange zest to enliven the braising liquid.

Our fine friends Rosanne and Gary Zarrilli had also celebrated as a couple at a restaurant on Valentine’s Eve the night before, so getting together on the actual holiday seemed like a no-brainer. Inspired by the celebratory day, I concocted “Pamatini” house cocktails to get the party started—but renamed them Valentinis for obvious reasons. Tasty little devils, they were quite a hit as we dove into the wonderful appetizer that Rosanne whipped together, Bacon-wrapped Sea Scallops with a Sriracha dipping sauce and red pepper and celery sticks so artfully plated on a seashell dish. Those scallops were so big, she admitted to cutting them in half for ease of eating.

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Bacon-wrapped sea scallop appetizer.

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The house drink Valentini.

With corks popped from some “Chairman’s Choice” bottles of Italian reds, we gathered at the dining table to continue the feast. Mrs. Z brought fixin’s for a side salad—and not just any old side salad, but one befitting the special day. She arranged the precut ingredients of bibb lettuce, hard-boiled egg slices, olives, baby cucumber slices, large shrimp and heart-shaped red beets, topped off with a fabulous homemade Green Goddess dressing—in a word, divine!

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Rosanne’s special Valentine side salad.

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Veal shanks browning in Big Red.

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Braise veal shanks with the finishing touch of gremolata.

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The entire meal also included Risotto Milanese and steamed broccolini.

Oooh that Osso Buco… yes, somewhat labor-intensive, but when browned on both sides and braised for a few hours in the aromatics and white wine, the results are incredibly tender shanks that are perfectly flavored with the finishing gremolata. This is one meal we’ll replicate for years to come. And lucky for me, I had enough leftover for a meal the next day.

While Russ was the main chef for the entree and sides, earlier in the morning I created a Chocolate Espresso Tart for dessert. Wanting to give it a finishing touch that spoke of the holiday, I added heart-shaped, candy-covered raspberry chocolate truffles, which also provided a nice pop of color. To up the sweetness quotient (because there was very little sugar) I whipped the mascarpone cheese with a 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar and some vanilla. In the end, I think it probably could have benefitted from more sweetness all around. (Will blog this recipe at another time.)

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The entire Chocolate Espresso Tart.

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A slice of the dessert tart.

Alas, it was time to draw the festivities to a close. When Gary went out to start the car, he found a few inches of snow had fallen since their arrival, and the winds were starting to kick up as the Polar Vortex was announcing it’s unwelcome arrival. But I got a text from Rosanne that they had made it home safely…
all’s well that ends well…

Some recipes follow…

Continue reading Osso Buco alla Milanese

The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm

-The Premier New Hope Inn-

This New Hope inn is well-acclaimed for its gourmet dining, all-natural spa experience and world-class amenities. Nestled among over 100 acres of preserved farmland and forests, the Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm is a true historic and artistic jewel of beautiful Bucks County. It is conveniently located between Peddler’s Village, Doylestown and New Hope for a blend of artistry, shopping and a cozy historical feel.

Prompted by a GroupOn, we made dinner reservations for a Saturday night in January. But then just hours before arrival time, I noted that the GroupOn was not valid for Saturday or Sunday dinner 😦 Not to be deterred, we went onto Open Table and switched reservations to Friday, February 13—an early Valentine’s present to ourselves—and had an amazing dinner in the restaurant with fresh farm-to-table selections. Main entree choices are limited to only a handful, but what a tempting handful!

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Nearly 25 minutes early for our 8:00 reservation (we had no idea what kind of traffic we’d encounter on a Friday evening,) we wandered into the parlor of the main building (restaurant not clearly marked,) and marveled over the French provincial period furniture, chandeliers and an authentic fireplace all aglow. Warmly greeted by the owner Mark, he asked if we’d like our bottle of wine opened to enjoy by the fire while we waited for our table (it’s a BYO.)

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Shortly thereafter, the wife Deena, waltzed in with our two glasses of wine and within another 10 minutes or so we were given a choice of two different tables opting for the one near the bank of windows overlooking the stone terrace. Our seats offered us a view of the open kitchen with three chefs diligently working away. And even though I did not catch her name, our waitress was quite chipper and attentive enough without being overbearing.

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Warm radicchio salad.

orecchiette
Pork cheek ragu.

That day’s menu consisted of five interesting first courses and another five entrees. I chose the Warm Radicchio Salad, with pear, buttermilk, blue cheese and hazlenuts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen radicchio that large! The plate reminded me of a wedge salad in appearance. My only complaint: I wish there had been a touch more blue cheese. Russ’ first course was the Pork Cheek Ragu with orecchiette and spicy bread crumbs–absolutely delicious (he offered me a taste.) Sorry to say the photo just does not do it justice.

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Two images of the diver scallop dinner.

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Long Island duck breast dinner.

Even after a recital of a few specials not on the menu, it didn’t take us long to zero in on our entree selections, with Lynn choosing the Maine Diver Scallops, with brussels sprouts, apple, beet and horseradish. Love, love, loved it! As predicted Russ couldn’t help but select the Long Island Duck Breast accompanied by duck leg sausage, coffee, carrot and plum. I sampled that duck sausage and it was delicious.

As our plates were being cleared we were offered dessert menus that contained four options: Meyer Lemon Curd with brown butter cake and vacherin (Russ’s choice); Chocolate Pudding Cake with vanilla ice cream and caramel; Hazelnut Banana with salted caramel ice cream, hazlenut and white chocolate pudding; and finally Carrot Cake with pistachio, and maple cream cheese icing.

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Meyer lemon curd dessert.

I did enjoy a smidgeon of his lemon curd dessert and it was incredibly tasty (once again not such a good photo.) And then to top it off, two plates of the chef’s homemade candies were proffered, each containing a sampling of four different truffles, caramels, etc, which were melt-in-your-mouth divine. As if that wasn’t enough, when our check arrived we were given a wrapped gift containing two red velvet cupcake-like cookies. One almost began to feel guilty…

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Homemade candies sampling from the chef.

Other offerings that evening included Sunflower Seed Risotto, Tuna Crudo, and Mushroom Soup rounding out the first course; while additional entrees consisted of Wagyu Bavette Beef, Cervena Elk, and Arctic Char.

On our way out we chatted with Deena to let her know how pleased we were with not only the service, but also the fabulous food. She admitted to being extremely hesitant to offer GroupOns but found the experience to have been well worth it, and we assured her we would be back and would also recommend the Inn at Barley Sheaf to others—so consider this a recommendation!

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The owners, husband and wife team Deena and Mark, are very seriously committed and deeply involved in land conservation and historic preservation, and Barley Sheaf Farm is one of the jewels in their crown of important properties which are fine examples of these traits in Bucks County. Dining at the inn is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. on for dinner and brunch on Saturday and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Slumgullion with a Twist

While growing up, Russ’ mother called any dish that was thrown together with leftovers “Slumgullion” (see History of… at end of post.) So this pasta dinner is a creative twist on that concept. One Thursday evening (our typical leftovers night), I needed to throw together a quick meal made from available ingredients. Taking inventory of the freezer the evening before, I noted we had some chicken sausage links with sun dried tomato and basil, so out they came to thaw overnight.

The classic Slumgullion recipe is made up of ground beef, elbow macaroni or egg noodles, onion and tomato sauce. But basically, you can choose any veggies, meat/no meat/fish, and pasta that you have on hand to create your masterpiece. The following recipe describes what our dish consisted of and how it was made… Roasted garlic is always something we keep on hand in the fridge (recipe follows.)

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Slumgullion Pasta

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. organic chicken sausages with sundried tomato and basil
  • 1 box multigrain farfalle pasta
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/2 large yellow or white onion, sliced
  • 1/2 each orange and yellow pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 16 grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp roasted garlic (or minced fresh garlic)
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2-3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil and oregano

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Directions:

  1. Cook your pasta according to box directions.
  2. Slit casings down length of sausage links. Brown in skillet over med-high heat until cooked through on all sides. Remove to a side dish.
  3. In the same pan at medium heat, add the roasted or minced garlic, asparagus, peppers, and onion; cover for about 5 minutes. Lift the lid and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula to loosen the browned bits. Cover, lower the temp, and continue to cook a few minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, crumble the sausage links to about a 1/2″ size and add to veggie mixture until all is heated through. As pasta is draining, add the grape tomatoes to the mixture for one minute.
  5. Combine all into a large pasta serving bowl, drizzle with good extra-virgin olive oil to taste; add grated cheese and chopped fresh herbs. Serve into separate bowls.

bowl.of.pasta

http://www.lynnandruss.com

And, no surprise, I sprinkled mine with some crushed red pepper!
Makes about 6 servings

Roasted Garlic:

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place three or four heads of garlic on tinfoil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up and place in heated oven.
  3. Cook for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool while still in the tinfoil.
  4. Once cool enough to handle, remove the papery skins and squeeze the roasted garlic into a lid-tight plastic container.
  5. Add enough olive oil to cover. Keeps for months in the refrigerator.

NOTES: The past several times I have put the roasted garlic and olive oil into a mini food processor to combine the ingredients into a paste. Any olive oil that separates, can be used as desired for a host of cooking options.

Occasionally I chop the top off the head of garlic before drizzling with olive oil and wrapping in tinfoil. It is supposed to be easier to squeeze out the garlic when done. I’ve done it both ways, and don’t really have a preference, so whatever suits your fancy…

History of Slumgullion

The history of slumgullion seems to be that it came from the slums of England before the turn of the century. There was no recipe recorded because back then very few new how to read or write. It was handed down to the kids by showing them how to make it, they just used what they could find or had, there was not much meat so if they had some rats or mice or sparrows or pigeons, what ever, they used it. If they lived buy a slaughter house you can guess what they used. They would put the meat in the water and added onion and salt to kill the odor of the meat cooking , then they added some veggies and thickened it with flour. When it was thick they would serve it over potatoes or buy itself. In later years in some areas, it was called MULLIGION and served over mashed potatoes or put in a shell pastry and called a mulligion pie. Just like the old saying goes 5 and 20 black birds baked in a pie.

Easy Peesy and Slightly Cheesy

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We are firm believers in quality over quantity with many things in life, especially when it comes to eating. This very simple recipe, while made up of only a few components, uses top-notch ingredients. Granted, you can certainly incorporate less-expensive items, especially if you’re trying to throw something together in a pinch and that’s all you have—but heh, you’re worth a few extra bucks, right? And by planning ahead, you can purchase these products and store them until a future time crunch.

Always game to try new food items, what prompted this meal was finding the Mario Batali Tuna Pasta Sauce in the supermarket. So with jar in hand, we began conjuring up a meal that would not only suffice, but also satisfy, on a busy weeknight. You know when the first several ingredients listed are something you recognize, that it’s a good sign. In this case the list started with: imported Italian tomatoes, onions, tuna, olive oil, white wine… OK, they had me by this time.

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The pasta was artisan made Spinach Tagliatelle Nests by Delverde which we got at MCCaffrey’s (I think); and Spanish Ortiz Bonito del Norte Tuna ordered online through La Tienda. While the pasta water came to a boil, I sliced a few black olives, and opened a small can (3.5 oz.) of the tuna and mixed it into the sauce that was simmering on the stove. From start to finish, the meal took no more than fifteen minutes.

Once the water was ready, I tossed in the nests of pasta to boil for 5 minutes, prepared a couple of side salads, and grated some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano. My one disappointment was our stash of fresh basil had blackened and being the middle of winter, I couldn’t go out to the herb garden and snip some of our own.

In a coincidental twist, I had the TV tuned to Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives while preparing dinner and who’s waving at the audience while driving Guy’s red Camaro? You guessed it, Mario Batali!

By now it was time to drain the tagliatelle, fill our bowls, and dress with the sauce and grated cheese. Couldn’t get any easier… or tastier… Oh, and take a stab at what I topped it off with? Surprise—a sprinkle of crushed red peppers… time to Mangia!

(Goes well with a nice, crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc.)