Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hazelnut Parsnip Soup

Hazelnut Parsnip Soup
Serves 6-8
  • 1 cup roasted hazelnuts (and 1/2 cup for garnish- roast all at once)
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 2 medium leeks (whites only), chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • to garnish: 1/2 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 350F and roast whole hazelnuts on a sheet pan for 10-15 minutes until toasted.
In a large skillet, melt the butter and saute the vegetables for 10-15 minutes, until softened.
Stir in the flour, salt and pepper and stir to cook. Add water, chicken broth, and 1 cup of roasted hazelnuts (skins removed- once they are toasted put them in a clean kitchen towel and “rough them up” to remove the skins).  Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a smooth soup, then strain the soup through a sieve (the texture of the ground nuts is not pleasant, but adds a beautiful flavor- straining is necessary for a smooth textured soup).
Return the soup (strained liquid) to the stove in a clean pot and add the heavy whipping cream, heat through and adjust the flavor with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Serve in  soup bowls and garnish with chopped toasted hazelnuts.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm moving..

Check me out at http://goodcookbecky.wordpress.com/

I am finding the editing process and page set up a little less confusing there.. please do move with me!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Avgolemono Chicken Soup

Strange name I know, it's Greek and is a wonderful Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup.  I went to a ladies night out and a friend brought this soup to the event.  I went back for thirds and then took some home with me to share with my husband.  Delicious!  My kids all love it too and it is a frequent request now.  I make it about every other week now.  The recipe is from Cat Cora on the Food Network.  I made a few changes to suit my family's tastes.

Just today my daughter announced that every Restaurant should have this recipe and serve it because she would order it every time!  It really is that good.  Do try it!

Avgolemono: Chicken Soup with Egg-Lemon Sauce - Cat Cora
1 (3 pound) free range chicken
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
1 leek, cleaned and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
2/3 cup Aborio rice
2 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper


Place the chicken in a large pot with 2 quarts cold water, enough to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, skimming when necessary.

In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onions. Sweat the onions until clear. Set aside.

When chicken is cooked through, remove from the broth. Let the chicken cool and pull the meat from the bones. Dice into large cubes. Set aside.

Add the onion, bay leaves, leek, and carrot to the broth and simmer for 1 hour. When finished, remove the carrot and leek from the broth and add the rice. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to medium high to simmer until the rice is cooked to al dente, about 30 minutes. Add the chicken back into the broth. Add more water if needed.

In a small bowl beat the eggs and lemon juice together. Pour 2 cups of broth slowly into the bowl of egg and lemon, whisking continuously. Once all the broth is incorporated, add the mixture into the pot of chicken soup and stir to blend well throughout. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Prep     10 min
Cook    3 hr 10 min
Total:     3 hr 20 min
Serves 8-10

Becky's NOTES:
After I remove the carrots and leeks I chop the carrots into small pieces (last time I even squeezed them through my potato ricer) I add the carrots back into the soup with the chicken.  I do not add onions, my kids don't care for the texture, but I do let them simmer in the broth with the leeks and carrots, but do not add them to the final product.  Very very yummy and fairly easy to make!  Do go out and buy some Aborio rice, it is perfect for this soup.

Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak
There is something special and comforting about this dish.  I have tried them in various restaurants, but never made them myself.  A few months ago, I ate a rather poor version of Chicken Fried Steak in a restaurant... and it was a POOR version, combined with the fact that it was really poor service that day and they didn't bring the gravy out with the steak and I had to wait 5 to 10 minutes for them to bring it and by then my steak was less than perfect.. so I went to look for a version I can do myself.  This certainly isn't diet food!  I am on a semi diet though -- so I had a small piece.
I made the mistake of buying two family packs of cube steak there were two huge steaks in each pack, but I could have just purchased one..as I cut them into smaller pieces to make them manageable.  I followed the recipe from allrecipes.com exactly, but seasoned up the gravy with a few dashes of Tabasco sauce to get the taste where I like it.                                        
I also drizzled lemon juice over the steaks for extra flavor, but did not find it to give it much flavor, I think next time I will squeeze some over the steaks after they come out of the cast iron skillet (if you have one, this recipe is perfect for it!)  I served this with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, sorry about the lighting in the picture.  This makes plenty of Gravy!  My husband and I loved it.  The kids preferred it without gravy (I have sick children I know!)

Here is the link: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/The-Best-Chicken-Fried-Steak/Detail.aspx
4 (1/2 pound) beef cube steaks
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (e.g.
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable shortening for deep
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste (1 Tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper)
5 dashes of Tabasco (Becky's change)

Pound the steaks to about 1/4-inch thickness. Place 2 cups of flour in a shallow bowl. Stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a separate shallow bowl; stir in the buttermilk, egg, Tabasco Sauce, and garlic. Dredge each steak first in the flour, then in the batter, and again in the flour. Pat the flour onto the surface of each steak so they are completely coated with dry flour.

Heat the shortening in a deep cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Fry the steaks until evenly golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks on a plate with paper towels to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and as much of the solid remnants as possible.

Return the skillet to medium-low heat with the reserved oil. Whisk the remaining flour into the oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release solids into the gravy. Stir in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring the gravy to a simmer, cook until thick, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the gravy over the steaks to serve.

Recipe Notes
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in 40 minutes
Serves 4

Becky's NOTES:
After dredging the cube steak in flour and buttermilk and then in flour again it is a pretty gloppy mess!  I stacked my steaks on a plate, but as I got toward the end of frying I didn't know where the steak began to pick it up, next time I will put wax paper between each steak so they don't stick to each other and pull the breading off other steaks.  Will make again!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Breadsticks/Pizza Dough

My daughter's science teacher gave us a recipe to make for extra credit.  I made it twice that weekend.  The first time a single recipe the second time we doubled the recipe...and then I gained 2 lbs!  They are quite delicious.  My daughter sprinkled them with poppy seeds, but kosher salt, sesame seeds, or Parmesan cheese are also great on them.

Mrs. B.'s Bread Sticks/Pizza Dough

Preheat oven to 425F
1 pkg. yeast
1 cup warm water
a few tsp. sugar
Mix above ingredients together and wait until mixture becomes bubbly
add 2 1/3 cups of flour (white, wheat or a mixture)
1 tsp salt
Stir the flour and salt in thoroughly until the dough sticks together in a big ball (I rub some olive oil on my hands to prevent the dough from sticking to me)  Coat the dough with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and a towel.  Set the dough in the bowl aside in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.

After the dough rises, form it into either bread sticks or into pizza.  Let the dough rise for 10 minutes if you are making pizza, top with toppings and put in oven.
Bake for approx. 20-23 minutes.  Breadsticks may need less time. Remove from oven when ready
Coat breadsticks with butter after baking and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.  Dip in tomato sauce.

One recipe is enough for one batch of breadsticks, but I often double or triple the recipe.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Strawberry Salad - Cuisine at Home

Here is another Cuisine at Home recipe.  I guess I have been in the mode of trying new recipes lately.  I made a few changes because I did not have an ingredient or two.  I used slivered almonds instead of pecans because I could not find any pecans though I usually have at least one bag in my pantry.. and I used Champagne Vinegar instead of white wine vinegar for the same reason and the results were still very delicious.

Strawberry Salad
with Pecans and Feta Cheese
Sweet strawberries at their seasonal peak contrast nicely with this savory and salty salad.
Source: Cuisine at Home Issue 74/April 2009 page 46

Makes 6 servings
Total time: 15 minutes

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 quart strawberries hulled and halved or quartered
6 cups spring mix salad greens
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (or any other nut you wish)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried dill

Whisk together vinegar, oil, and sugar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss strawberries, greens, pecans, feta and will with dressing. Serve.

Becky's Notes:
Is this a knock your socks off salad? (given the previous post on my blog that might not be such a good idea anyway) No, but it is very good and I will make it again.  I also made Pioneer Woman's Chicken Parmesan to go with this and it paired up nicely.  

Friday, January 15, 2010

All-American Chicken-Zucchini Casserole

Here is another recipe from Cuisine at Home.  It also is in the Cuisine At Home Issue 79/February 2010 on page 23.

Let me start by saying, my husband and I liked it.  Two of our three children tolerated it, and the third disliked the texture, but she ate it after I dangled the proverbial carrot (I mean dessert).  I also have a dog.  He is a German Shepherd who weighs in at 100 lbs and whose only purpose in life is to lay on the carpet and expect to get belly rubs all day and coat every inch of the house with dog hair, but he comes into this story a little later... ah well, why not now.  As you know German Shepherds are covered in fur.   A LOT OF FUR that then ends up on the floor and the largest clump is the dog.  I lovingly call him the German Shedder!  Yes, SHEDDER... my son who is now a very active 6 was having a good day.  He was all energetic after dinner.. I still had the casserole sitting on the table waiting to cool and then be put away because there was plenty left over for another meal, since two of my kids tolerated it and one disliked it... well my son was in Winter Break mode, which means -- wear the same pair of socks until they are able to stand up on their own, even though Mom does plenty of laundry.. well, he was swinging it around and around.. throwing it in the air and then catching it... and yes, his aim and exuberance got a little in the way... the sock ceremoniously flew high in the air...and you guessed it: landed splat right in the middle of the left over casserole... his sock, covered in dog hair, and disgusting dirt.. in the left overs.. so I don't think we will have it again... at least not that one.. some friends suggested I skim off the top... but no, I don't think I want the health inspectors knocking down my door... plus the best part of this dish is on top.

I skinned and de-boned the chicken thighs myself.  And for the future, I will be using ready to go chicken breast halves next time.. if there is a next time.  Maybe when my daughter is at Winter Camp...

Here is the recipe:
All-American Chicken-Zucchini Casserole
Serves 8
Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes (though it took longer for me because I struggled so with the stupid de-boning and then I could not locate some items so I had to drag a chair and climb on it to look deeper into my cabinet to find a few things..and the phone rang and it was my mom.. and we had dinner at 7! which is late for us... but my son learned to ride his bike without training wheels under the watchful care of his father.. good stuff...oh and we finished the experiments for two science projects that will be due soon that day... entertaining I must say... but that is not part of the recipe so let me get back to that.. as I was saying:

All-American Chicken Zucchini Casserole- Cuisine at Home

Serves 8
Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

For the Zucchini Mixture:
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup dry basmati rice
8 cups chopped zucchini (2 1/2 lbs)
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced

For the Cheddar Mixture:
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese (5 oz)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided use
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, divided use
1 tsp. dried italian seasoning
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (only if they come that way!)
Kosher salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F coat a 9x13x2 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan over hight heat.  Add rice, cover, and reduce heat to low; simmer until liquid is absorbed; 20 minutes

Combine zucchini, onion, water, and garlic in a large saucepan; cook, stirring occasionally over medium heat until zucchini is tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain and lightly mash zucchini mixture.

Stir together eggs, cheddar, sour cream, milk, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, 1 tsp salt, Tabasco, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl.

Add the cooked rice along with the zucchini mixture to the cheddar mixture in the bowl.  Spoon the combined mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Saute until golden brown, 3-5 minutes on each side.

Arrange chicken on rice mixture in the baking dish.  combine the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1/4 cup bread crumb; sprinkle over the chicken and rice in the baking dish.

Bake chicken and rice until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Chicken is done when it reaches 165 F when tested with an instant read thermometer.

Source:  Cuisine At Home Issue 79/February 2010 on page 23