Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bacon Jalapeno Dumplings


Tip:  Read directions completely before preparing.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1  teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno, seeds removed
1/4 cup crumbled bacon
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
4 cups chicken broth
garnish - crumbled bacon, chopped chives and cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:
Sift the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder and salt, together in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, using a whisk lightly beat the eggs, onions, butter, jalapeno and buttermilk together.  Fold in the bacon.



Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold.  Mix just until the dough comes together.


The dumplings batter should be thick and cake-like.  Set aside.

In a large dutch oven, add the chicken broth.  Over medium heat bring to a simmer.

Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the broth.  The dumplings should cover the top of the broth, but should not be touching or crowded.


Lower to heat to low and cover.  You do not want the dumpling to fall apart.

Once you have covered the pan, do not uncover and peek while the dumplings are cooking! In order for the dumplings to be light and fluffy, they must steam, not boil. Uncovering the pan releases the steam.

Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy.
 
Remove the dumplings using a slotted spoon.

To serve, season with freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with chopped bacon, chopped chives and cheddar cheese!  Enjoy!

Tip:  Another great suggestion is covering with homemade country sausage gravy is the best!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chicken and Buttermilk Chive Dumplings


Tip:  Read directions completely before preparing.

(Chicken and Stock)
Ingredients:
3 1/2 pounds organic chicken thighs (or White Meat Chicken)
2 bay leaves
2 large sprigs or thyme
6 green peppercorns
1 head garlic, split through the center (leave garlic unpeeled)

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
7 cups water


Directions:
Place the chicken and all stock ingredients in a large Dutch oven and cover with water.



Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer chicken and stock for one hour until the chicken is tender.  Skim the surface of fat and scum as it cooks.


Remove chicken from pot and place on a cutting board and let chicken cool enough to handle.  When chicken has cooled, shred and set aside.


Strain the stock and set aside.


(Dumplings)
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped chives
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk


Directions:
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, using a whisk lightly beat the eggs, chives and buttermilk together. 



Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold.  Mix just until the dough comes together.


The dumplings batter should be thick and cake-like.

(Chicken and Dumplings Sauce)
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups reserved chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen pearl onions

1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:
In the same Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the butter and oil.  Add the carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaves and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.


Stir in the flour to make a roux and continue to stir for two minutes.


Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.


Add frozen peas and pearl onions.


Let sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes.  Stir in heavy cream.  Fold the reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring to a simmer.


Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture.  The dumplings should cover the top of the sauce, but should not be touching or crowded.


Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy.


To serve, discard the bay leaves, season with freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with chopped chives.  Enjoy!

Serving: 6-8

Tip:  Did you know that there are two basic types of dumplings are used for chicken and dumplings, a breadlike dumpling and a flat, thick noodlelike dumpling. Traditionally, the flat dumpling is a Southern-style dumpling, and the round dumpling is a Northern one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mexican Caesar Salad Dressing


Tip:  Read directions completely before preparing.

Ingredients:
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro, stems removed
1 green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno, seeds removed
1 teaspoon fresh ground comino (cumin)
1/4 of a lime zest
juice from 1 large lime
2 anchovies, minced or 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 fresh ground black pepper
1/2 - 3/4 cup olive oil (How much depends on how thick you want the dressing.)

Directions:
Place the eggs in warm water for 10 minutes.

Place the garlic, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno, cumin, lime zest and juice, anchovy, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, eggs, salt and pepper into a blender and puree until smooth.

With the motor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the top until the mixture thickens, then refrigerate for  1 hour before serving.  Serve with your favorite salad!  Enjoy!

Tip:  In consuming raw eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella. I recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells.  Avoid contact between the yolks/whites with the shell.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Creamy Morel Sauce over Pasta


Tip:  Read directions completely before preparing.

(Pasta)
Ingredients:
8 oz dry pasta ( Your choice, Spaghetti, Linquine, Capellini, etc...)

Directions:
Cook pasta as per package instructions and set aside. 

(Morel Sauce)

Ingredients:
1/2-ounce dried morels
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup Reggianito Cheese, grated (optional)


Directions:
To reconstitute dried morel mushrooms, place them in a bowl and cover them with 3/4 cup of boiling water.  Let them soak for 20 minutes.  Remove the morels and set aside.  Reserve the liquid.  Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a fine strainer to remove any small bits of grit, and set aside.



Slice the reconstituted morel mushrooms 1/4 inch thick and set aside.


In a large saucepan, add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium high heat.


Once the butter is melted, add the reserved sliced morels, the shallots, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.


Add the white wine and reduce until nearly dry, about 3 -4 minutes.



Add 3/4 cup of the reserved mushroom broth and cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 5 - 7 minutes.



Add the heavy cream and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. stirring continuously.

Swirl the remaining butter into the sauce and adjust the seasoning.


Add pasta to skillet and mixture thoroughly, coating all the pasta with the sauce.




Divide pasta mixture in half and plate, sprinkle with parmesan, Reggianito or Parmigiano Reggiano (optional) and serve immediately!  Enjoy!

Tip:   I used grated Reggianito.  Reggianito is rather saltier than its Italian parent, and is generally used for cooking or for grating over pasta dishes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Spinach and Truffle Cheese Omelet


Tip:  Read directions completely before preparing.

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1/2 cup Truffle Cheese (Sam's Club, Whole Foods and Central Market carry it.)
1 handful of fresh spinach leaves
1 pinch of truffle salt (HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market carry it, or food specialty stores.)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:
In a bowl beat the eggs gently with a fork, just until they combine together. Do not over beat them to a froth.

In a warm, medium size non-stick skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat.  Turn the heat up a fraction.  As the butter is melting, and tilt the pan so that the bottom and sides are both coated.


Once the butter begins to foam, carefully add the eggs to the center of the pan, tilting the pan so that the eggs spread out evenly over the bottom.

Cook over a moderate heat.  As the eggs begin to set, very carefully lift the edges of the omelette upwards with a spatula, ensuring that the omelette does not stick and also allowing the uncooked eggs to run underneath.  Rotate the pan as you do so, making sure that all sides have been moved.

Cook until the eggs have set on the bottom but the top is still a little moist.


Add the cheese, and then add the spinach.





Lift up the edge of one side of the omelette and fold this half so that is covers the other half and sits neatly on top of the spinach and cheese. Do not break the omelette in half.  The underside should be a golden brown in color.


Loosen the omelette away from the pan and tip out onto a warmed plate.  Sprinkle with pinch of truffle salt to taste and serve immediately.  Enjoy!


Tip:  Truffle salt is a blend of dried, ground truffle and sea salt.  It is ideal with egg dishes, pasta, mashed potatoes, red meat, salads, roasted vegetables, seafood, and buttered popcorn!  I'm addicted to the aroma and flavor it gives foods!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sauteed Shrimp with Polenta


Tip:  Read directions completely before preparing.

Ingredients:


Polenta
2 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 18 oz package of Pre-Cooked Polenta
1 cup chicken broth (1 cup additonal, optional, for creamery polenta)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
 
Shrimp
3 ounces pancetta, chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (piment├│n)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:


Polenta
In a medium size heavy skillet, over medium heat, add pancetta and cook until crispy.  Be careful not to burn.




Add polenta, 3/4 cup of the chicken broth and heavy cream.


Continue to cook over medium heat, using a ladle break up the polenta and keep stirring until smooth.  Reduce to a low, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add remaining 1/4 cup of broth, and butter, then stir.  Let simmer another 3 minutes, stirring constantly and then remove from heat and set aside.  If polenta becomes too thick before serving, slowly add as much as 1 more cup of chicken broth, for a creamy consistency.


Shrimp
In a bowl season shrimp all over with paprika and salt, then, set aside to let marinate for 10 minutes.


In a medium size heavy skillet, over medium heat, add pancetta and cook until crispy. Then add garlic and shallots cook for about 1 minute.  Then add butter.




Add shrimp and cook until opaque in center, about 2 minutes on each side.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and keep warm.



Divide into 4 and arrange polenta on 4 dishes.  Top each dish with shrimp, and garnish with a pinch of the smoked paprika.

Tip:  Polenta is made from ground corn and can be used in a wide variety of ways.