Category Archives: Recipe

Baked Plantains a la Schmaltz

I recently read Michael Ruhlman’s book “Schmaltz” and was inspired to make some Schmaltz and gribenes myself.

For those who don’t know what that is, schmaltz is chicken fat, made from rendering chicken skin. And gribenes are nothing more than cracklings. (You can find the recipe here: http://www.splendidtable.org/story/how-to-make-schmaltz)plantains

So now I had all this lovely schmaltz sitting in my freezer. I wanted to do something unexpected with it when my glance fell on two green plantains I had purchased at a local ethnic market. An idea took shape.

I took the two plantains, scored them on two sides and popped them into the microwave for four minutes on high, until they were black on the outside and soft on the inside. Then I peeled them and cut them into ½ inch circles and with a meat pounder, smashed each one into a disc.

I then tossed them in a bowl with the schmaltz and gribenes, and laid it out in one layer on a greased cookie sheet. Just a sprinkle of garlic salt and in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F. And voila, the Jewish/Cuban version of baked tostones was born. Hubby thought it tasted a bit like home fries…I’m sure because of all the delicious bits of caramelized onion. Yummy.

Baked Plantains a la Schmaltz

2 green plantains
½ cup schmaltz and caramelized onions, with or without gribenes (note: this could be done with olive oil and caramelized onions if schmaltz is not available)
1 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat oven to 425 F

Score each plantain on two sides so that you cut through the entire skin but not into the fruit.

Microwave for four minutes on high, until skin is black and fruit is soft.

Cut into ½ inch rounds and smash into discs.

Mix with schmaltz until well coated, and place on a greased cookie tray in one layer (You can line the tray with aluminum foil)

Bake for 10 minutes. Then turn and bake for another five.

Enjoy!

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Confesso, io amo tutte le cose l’Italia

Italian Cuisine

Italian Cuisine (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

It’s time to confess, I love all things Italian!  The food, the people, the country (oh the country.) So imagine my bliss when I stumbled upon http://fiordizucca.blogspot.com/.  A food and photography blog, which while written in Italian, has English recipes…and thanks to Google translate you can read it in any language.

Go there as fast as your fingers can click, and find gorgeous photos of food and Italy…can you say food porn?  And recipes like Codfish (Baccala) Risotto with Saffron and Calzoncelli with chocolate, chickpeas and figs.

Chicken Monte Cristo Sandwich

This image was created by the user Hinchu aka ...

After a day of cleaning and decluttering, I wanted to make something simple for dinner.  Pulling out some boneless chicken breasts I first thought maybe I’d do chicken and waffles.  And then my eyes landed on the white bread and I thought…not waffles…french toast!  Thus was born my chicken Monte Cristo.

1 lb boneless chicken breasts, sliced thin

8 slices potato bread (or any kind you prefer)

4 slices swiss cheese

3 large eggs, whisked

2 TBS butter

3 TBS flour

canola oil

1/4 cup water

Melt the butter in a skillet on medium high heat.

Dust chicken with the flour and then add to the skillet, and let brown on each side.  Remove from pan.

Dip bread into eggs and doing just a few slices at a time, brown in the same pan with just a bit of oil added.  When all the bread is fried, it’s time to assemble it.

Place the chicken on four of the the bread slices, and top with the swiss cheese [omitting the top slice of bread].  Without crowding the pan, and moving quickly, place the open-faced sandwiches on the hot pan, add a bit of water and quickly cover the pan.  This will melt the cheese quickly.  Repeat with remaining sandwiches.  When you remove them from the pan, quickly place the top slice of french toast on each sandwich, pressing lightly.  The gooey deliciousness of the cheese will adhere the bread to the sandwich.

Delicious on it’s own, but feel free to serve with maple syrup or even strawberry preserves like the original Monte Cristo.

Shrimp Francaise

Raw shrimp, ready for cooking.

I’ve been dying to make Shrimp and Grits and finally got around to buying some grits.  I was all set to make it for dinner tonight but was told by the Golden child that “ugh, I don’t like grits”.  Time for plan B.  He suggested Shrimp Piccata, but I decided to take it a step further and make it Francaise style, which basically means dipped in flour and egg and sauteed.

This is an adaptable recipe.  Use the same method on any kind of fish, chicken cutlets, pork, veal, even vegetables.  Serve with pasta (I just tossed some rotelli with a bit of olive oil and 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese) and a salad or green vegetable (I made  roasted broccoli.)

I’ll make the Shrimp and Grits later in the week.

1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten with 1 TBS water

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

3 TBS lemon juice

1/4 cup cream (you could use evaporated milk or soy milk)

2 TBS butter

1 TBS flour

Oil to cover the bottom of the pan

Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and dredge in flour.  Coast with egg, and then in flour again.

Heat oil in pan.

Add shrimp to the fry pan in batches but be careful not to crowd.  Saute until both sides are a medium golden brown.  Remove from pan, and continue until all the shrimp are done.

Pour out all but a little bit of oil, and deglaze pan with wine over medium heat.    Add chicken stock and lemon juice.  Stir for two minutes.

Mix four and butter, and add to pan juices to thicken.  Add more chicken stock as needed, and more lemon juice to taste.

Add cream and stir.  Take pan off heat.

Return shrimp to pan to coat.

Enjoy!

Eggplant “Fries”

Česky: Lilek vejcoplodý Deutsch: Aubergine Eng...

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I’ve always been a fan of fried eggplant, but as I become more health conscious I’m less inclined to actually fry foods.  So I was determined to come up with a recipe for eggplant that was not oily, crunchy but not dried out, with just the right amount of creamy center.  After a bit of experimentation, here’s what turned out to be perfectly yummy!  I serve it just as is for a side dish, but have also used it on pizza, a delicious combo eggplant/chicken parmesan dish, and as an interesting addition to a panzanella salad.

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4″ x 2″ sticks

3 TBS vegetable oil

1 TBS kosher salt (can use coarse grain sea salt as well)

4 TBS flour

2 eggs, beaten with 1 TBS water

1-1/2 cups Italian flavored Panko breadcrumbs

3/4 cup regular bread crumbs

3 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)

Preheat over to 300 F.

Add oil to bottom of a sheet pan and distribute.

Place cut eggplant into a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Toss to distribute.  Leave for at least 20 minutes.

Set up three bowls:  1) with beaten egg, 2) with mixure of panko and regular breadcrumbs plus garlic powder and 3) with flour

Toss 1/4 of the eggplant in flour mixture at a time.  Make sure they are all coated.

Toss floured eggplant in egg mixture.  Shake off any excess and toss with breadcrumb mixture.

Put breaded eggplant sticks on oiled sheet, making sure they are in an even layer.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Turn and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and enjoy!

Oh so good…Chicken Liver Pate

We’re invited to a dinner party tonight.  I just made this Chicken Liver Mousse from the Cooking Channel’s special Chuckmas show with Chef Chuck Hughes.  While there are quite a few steps and separate preparations to make this dish (although not as many as it takes to make a Beef Wellington old style), it’s not very difficult…and oh so delicious served with crackers or rye bread.  (Call ahead to your supermarket or butcher to see if they have chicken livers in stock, I didn’t and wound up driving to three stores until I found one that had them in!)

Chicken Liver Pate

Recipe courtesy Chuck Hughes

Total Time:  2 hr 45 min
Yield:  4 cups (1 l)
Ingredients
  • 4 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup/60 ml olive oil, plus more if needed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds/675 g chicken livers, trimmed
  • 2 small carrots, cooked
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • Bread, toast or crackers, for serving

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onions in half of the olive oil until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove half of the onions from the skillet and set aside. Add the remaining olive oil and continue cooking over high heat until the onions are crispy and golden brown; add more olive oil if necessary. Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper and set aside for garnish.

In a small pot of salted simmering water, poach the chicken livers for 5 minutes on low heat. Drain on paper towels.

In a food processor, puree the livers with the carrots, 2 hard-boiled eggs and the caramelized onions until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add nutmeg. Push through a fine mesh sieve if desired.

Pack the mousse into a serving dish and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Garnish with the crispy onions and grate the remaining 2 hard-boiled eggs right before serving. Serve with bread, toasts or crackers.

© 2011 Cooking Channel, LLC, All Rights Reserved.

Turkey Grape Salad

Turkey on the Road

Image by tomswift46 (No Groups with Comments) via Flickr

Even after sending everyone home with doggie bags, there’s still quite a bit of turkey leftover.  The carcass was turned into Turkey Rice soup, and the rest of the turkey was cut up and bagged.  With all the sides gone, it was time to do something different with the turkey and it occurred to me that a salad would be an easy and delicious way to use some of it up.  Served tonight with tomato bisque soup, the husband said it was “better than Panera’s.”

2 cups diced turkey
1 cup red seedless grapes
½ cup glazed walnut pieces
2/3 cup mayonnaise

Cut grapes in half.  Mix together all ingredients and pile onto fresh, soft rolls.

Like the chicken salad, you can vary this by using different nuts, or substituting dried cranberries or raisins, or even chopped up apples or pears for the seedless grapes.  You can add diced celery, curry powder or other seasonings.  This is a very versatile and forgiving salad!