Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Debby at Feast for the Eyes

Friday, March 23, 2012

Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings with Ricotta Gnocchi

Comfort food?  This southern style chicken and dumplings is right up there with macaroni and cheese. This stew is made slightly more contemporary with pillowy soft ricotta dumplings-it may be the best dumplings you ever eat.

This stew can easily be made in large batches to freeze or to share.  As always, my favorite dishes are those that can be served family style and can easily become crowd pleasers too.

Chicken and Dumplings with Ricotta Gnocchi
Serves 6-8
Recipe from Bon Appetit

Recipe for Gnocchi

1lb. ricotta
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour plus more
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1-1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt

Chicken and Gravy
10 cups low-salt chicken broth
2-lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1/4" thick slices
1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
1 parsnip, peeled, cut into 1/4"-thick slices
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Shaved Parmesan

If using fresh ricotta that has excess liquid, you may need to drain it overnight.  Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over medium bowl.  Add ricotta; cover with plastic wrap and let drain overnight in refrigerator.  If using supermarket ricotta, proceed with recipe; no draining required.

Gently mix ricotta, 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour, egg, Parmesan, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl just to blend ( do not overwork).  Form dough into a ball (it will be sticky); wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.  Place dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Divide dough into 4 equal portions and cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Using your hands, roll 1 portion into a 1/2"-diameter rope; cut crosswise into 1/2"-thick pieces.  Lightly dust gnocchi with flour and transfer to prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining portions of dough.  Cover gnocchi with a kitchen towel and chill until ready to cook.
Do ahead: Can be made 2 months ahead.  Freeze on sheets, then store, frozen, in an airtight container.

Chicken and Gravy
Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add chicken, reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through 20-30 minutes.  Remove chicken; let cool slightly and shred into bite-size pieces.  Bring broth to a boil and cook until reduced to 8 cups, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat.  Whisk in flour until smooth and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is pale beige in color, about 15 minutes (do not brown).

Scrape roux into simmering broth; whisk until thickened and broth coats the back of spoon.  Reduce heat to low and add vegetables.  Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add shredded chicken and herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Do ahead: Can be made 2 days ahead.  Cill, uncovered, until cold; cover and keep chilled.  Rewarm before serving.

Cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi float to the surface, about 2 minutes ( slightly longer if frozen).  Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to bowls, dividing equally.  Ladle chicken and vegetables with gravy over.  Season with pepper and top with Parmesan.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Sam Hoffer 
and photography by Meakin Hoffer from My Carolina Kitchen 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Filipino Chicken Adobo- A Balancing Act

A balance between vinegar and soy sauce it can make for a sharp, salty braising liquid. Add a can of coconut milk, and suddenly the flavors mellow. This is a really interesting combination of flavors that are really quite delicious.

This dish could not be easier, with only a few ingredients most that will be found in your pantry. The end result is a tender and tasty dish.  What is great about dishes like this one, is that it can be served up family style, and to a crowd with almost no additional effort.

Filipino Chicken Adobo
Serves 4
Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

8 (5-7 ounce) bone in chicken thighs, trimmed
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 (13 1/2-ounce) can coconut milk
3/4 cup cider vinegar
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons pepper
1 scallion, sliced thin

1.  Toss chicken with soy sauce in large bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

2.  Remove chicken from soy sauce, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl.  Transfer chicken side down, to 12-inch nonstick skillet; set aside soy sauce.

3.  Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook until chicken skin is browned, 7 to 10 minutes.  While chicken is browning, whisk coconut milk, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and pepper into soy sauce.

4.  Transfer chicken to plate and discard fat in skillet.  Return chicken to skillet skin side down, add coconut milk mixture, and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.  Flip chicken skin side up and continue to cook, uncovered, until chicken registers 175 degrees, about 15 minutes.  Transfer chicken to platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil.

5.  Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off surface of sauce.  Return skillet to medium-high heat and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with scallions and serve over rice.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Krista Bjorn at Rambling Tart~Building a Beautiful Life

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spicy Beef Empanadas

Empanadas are fast, easy and you can prepare a couple of dozen at a time.  You can stuff the dough with almost any filling. This is the kind of grab n' go meal I need during the week. Gets me out of the sandwich rut for lunch and a fast easy snack on the run, or light dinner.

No doubt there are some readers shaking their head at me for using refrigerated biscuit dough and not an empanada dough but, folks it was so easy. I need easy in my life.

This is a portable and hearty meal.  A perfect meal for little hands too.

Spicy Beef Empanadas
Makes 20

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1/3 cup raisins, chopped
1/4 cup stuffed pimento green olives, chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-3/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup packed grated Monterey Jack Cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2-12 ounce (10 biscuits)  refrigerated biscuits
2 egg yolks, beaten to blend(glaze)
Salt and pepper 

Heat oil in a heavy medium skillet.  Add beff, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook until beef loses its pink color and vegetables begin to soften, breaking up beef with a fork, about 6 minutes.  Add raisins and next 6 ingredients and cook until mixture is thick, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix cheese and cilantro into filling.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Roll out 1 biscuit on a lightly floured surface to a 4-inch circle.  Brush half of the dough edge with glaze.  Place 1 rounded tablespoon of filling on dough.  Fold dough over to create a half circle; press edges to seal.  Using a fork, crimp edge decoratively.  Place empanada on heavy large baking sheet.  Brush with glaze.  Repeat with remaining biscuits, filling and glaze.

Bake empanadas until golden brown, about 12 minutes.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Tomatoes on the Vine

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lemon-White Chocolate Cookies

I am typing this blog post knowing that Mother Nature is prepared to shed her wrath on Tallahassee, Florida today.  You can feel the storm in the air.  The dark clouds are approaching quickly, and will open up as soon as Mother Nature gives them the signal.   Why am I sharing this with you?  Weather has been intense lately around the country, and I think we are getting prepared to receive our share of the intensity. 

Now, onto what you actually came to visit me for...good food, and a recipe.

These cookies were made a couple of weeks ago.  You can serve up with a glass of wine, or a glass of milk, both work.  I love when cookies do that!  What's make these cookies extra special is the semolina flour, olive oil and the extra egg yolk which provides density and a golden color.

Lemon-White Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 48 cookies
Recipe from Food Network

1-3/4 cups all purpose-flour
1 cup fine semolina flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons limoncello or other sweet lemon liqueur
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped

1.  Whisk the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

2.  Whisk olive oil, whole egg, egg yolk, limoncello, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large liquid measuring cup or bowl.  Add to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until smooth.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough into 2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-thick logs; arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Bake in batches until golden around the edges, about 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Let cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

4.  Meanwhile, put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water); stir until the chocolate melts.  Drizzle the cookies with the melted white chocolate and sprinkle with the pistachios.  Let set at room temperature, about 15 minutes.