Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chicken Stock

I eat Rotisserie Chickens all of the time.  I will buy one from Costco and munch on it all week.  I save the carcasses in  ziplock bags in the freezer until I'm ready to make a big pot of broth to use in later recipes.  I store the broth in quart size ziplock bags in the freezer.  They are always ready to go.  I found Alton Brown's recipe for Chicken Broth.  I used all the same ingredients, more or less, but didn't simmer the stock nearly as long.  It still came out great!

Chicken Stock

4 pounds chicken carcasses, including necks and backs
1 large onion, quartered
4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2
4 ribs celery cut in 1/2
1 leek, white part only, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
10 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems
2 bay leaves
8 to 10 peppercorns
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 gallons cold water

Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs and spices in 12-quart stockpot. Set opened steamer basket directly on ingredients in pot and pour over water. Cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break through the surface of the liquid. Turn heat down to medium low so that stock maintains low, gentle simmer. Skim the scum from the stock with a spoon or fine mesh strainer every 10 to 15 minutes for the first hour of cooking and twice each hour for the next 2 hours. Add hot water as needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged. Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.

Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof container discarding the solids. Cool immediately in large cooler of ice or a sink full of ice water to below 40 degrees. Place in refrigerator overnight. Remove solidified fat from surface of liquid and store in container with lid in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Prior to use, bring to boil for 2 minutes. Use as a base for soups and sauces.

Arroz con Pollo

In high school, I used to eat at a restaurant in Issaquah, Washington, called "La Costa."  I always ordered the Arroz con Pollo which was chicken, sauteed vegetables, over a bed of rice, topped with enchilada sauce and cheese.  They served this with flour tortillas.  It was delicious.  Since then, every time I go to a Mexican restaurant I look for Arroz con Pollo.  Sometimes restaurants make it, but the description is completely different.  I decided to try and recreate this recipe from memory.  It's been a good 10+ years since I've enjoyed this meal.  It was just as tasty as I remembered.

Arroz con Pollo

2 large chicken breasts cut into strips and then halved
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
8 oz white mushrooms, halved
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Monterrey Jack Cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Serve with Mexican Rice

While the rice is cooking, prepare the enchilada sauce and set aside in a bowl.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet with deep sides.  Add chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken until almost done.  Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, and saute 3 minutes.  Add green pepper and mushrooms.  Saute until vegetables are tender.

Add tomatoes and enchilada sauce.  Simmer until heated through.

Pour mixture over Mexican rice and top with cheese.  Serve with tortillas, or eat alone.

Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada Sauce

28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups broth or homemade stock 
1 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 onion, minced or a few scallions
a few dashes hot sauce (to taste)
2 pinches kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder

Saute onion & garlic in olive oil over medium heat. When they have softened, add other ingredients.
Simmer for about 30 minutes, then adjust spices to taste.

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice

1 1/2 cups rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used homemade)
1 cup plain tomato sauce
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/4 of a medium onion
2 tablespoons oil
4 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped parsley (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the fresh garlic and onion. Saute for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add in dry rice. Stir for about 5 minutes until rice becomes a golden brown color.

Add in broth (I used homemade chicken broth) and tomato sauce (Slowly into rice, not directly onto hot pan!) Add in the parsley if you're using it. Stir it up and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Southwest Rice and Corn Salad with Lemon Dressing

Avocado and cilantro are on my top 10 list of most amazing things on this planet. This salad, which I found in Bon Appetit was great and I will absolutely make it again. I forgot to purchase a yellow pepper, so I used a bit extra green pepper and zucchini.  Yes, I used green pepper instead of poblano chiles - can't take the heat!

Southwest Rice and Corn Salad with Lemon Dressing
1 cup long-grain white rice 
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 2 ears) or frozen corn kernels, thawed 
1 cup chopped fresh poblano chiles or green bell pepper 
1 cup diced seeded yellow bell pepper\
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes yellow zucchini 
1 avocado, halved, peeled, diced 
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions 
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

Cook rice until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and 3 tablespoons oil in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add corn, poblanos, yellow bell pepper, and zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until vegetables are just tender, 6 to 7 minutes; scrape into large bowl. Add rice, avocado, green onions, cilantro, and dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Roasted Beet and Avocado Salad

At first, I was a little uncertain about this recipe from Food & Wine.  I've only had fresh beets a few times, but really liked them.  I had never prepared them myself, though.  I was excited about this challenge!  I'll be honest, MY salad looking NOTHING like the picture in the magazine, but that's okay because it was incredibly delicious.  Even my roommate and her friend were thoroughly impressed - two people who were not necessarily fans of beets.  EVERYTHING about this salad works - the texture of the vegetables to the sweet onion tang.  Do not be fooled by the pictures - this is shockingly delicious!

Roasted Beet and Avocado Salad

4 medium beets (about 1/2 pound each), scrubbed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
1/2 cup water
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cipollini onion, finely chopped, or 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet Spanish or white onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup grapeseed oil or other mild vegetable oil
2 Hass avocados, cut into 3/4-inch pieces 

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small baking dish, rub the beets with olive oil. Add the water and season with salt and white pepper. Cover tightly with foil and roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool, then peel the beets and cut them into 3/4-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the chopped onion with the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and honey. Season with salt and white pepper and blend until smooth. With the machine on, add the grapeseed oil and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a steady stream.

Add the avocado to the roasted beets. Pour the onion dressing on top and toss gently to combine. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve.

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

I've always shucked my corn, pulled the out, brought a big pan of water to a boil, and cooked my corn. NEVER AGAIN! The day I tried roasting my corn in the oven is the day my life changed. Okay, so that's a slight exaggeration, BUT I truly believe that I will never go back to cooking my corn in water. The corn literally goes from the grocery store to the oven to your plate. This was so easy and I wasn't pouring all of the flavor down the drain!

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place corn husks directly on the oven rack and roast for 30-40 minutes or until corn is soft. Peel down the husks and use as a handle when eating.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Watermelon-Cucumber Cooler

I tore this recipe out of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine the other day because I had way too much watermelon in the fridge.  This turned out to be a nice refreshing drink, and easy to prepare.

Watermelon-Cucumber Cooler

5 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 large English cucumber
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
2/3 cup vodka

Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl or pitcher.  In a food processor or blender, puree the watermelon.  Pour the puree through a sieve, pressing on the solids iwth a rubber spatula.  You will end up with roughly 2 cups of juice.  Puree the English cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks, and pour through the sieve into the watermelon juice.

In a small bowl, stir together lime juice and honey.  Mix together.  Add to the watermelon and cucumber juice.  Add the vodka and adjust the sweetness with more honey, if desired.  To serve, fill four glasses with ice and top each with a slice of cucumber!

Caprese Style Stuffed Chicken Rolls with Greens

Another great recipe from Everyday with Rachel Ray. I didn't slice these up because the rolls were too large and the filling was slipping out. They were still just as delicious. I also used a balsamic vinaigrette instead of the dressing recommended by the recipe This recipe was light, flavorful, and definitely something I will make again!

Caprese Style Stuffed Chicken Rolls with Greens

4 chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup basil leaves
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 red bell pepper—stemmed, cored and thinly sliced
1 cucumber—trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 head red-leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

Preheat a grill to medium. On a work surface, arrange the chicken cutlets in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Divide the basil among the cutlets in an even layer, then top each with some of the mozzarella and tomatoes. Roll up the cutlets and secure with toothpicks; brush the rolls with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the chicken rolls on the cooking grate, cover and grill, turning occasionally, until deep golden-brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes; transfer to a work surface. Let stand for 5 minutes, then remove the toothpicks and thinly slice crosswise.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the lemon juice. Add the bell pepper, cucumber and lettuce and toss; season with salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mac Daddy Mac n' Cheese

Surprisingly, I've never made Macaroni and Cheese from scratch before and figured now was as good a time as ever.  I needed to bring a side dish to a Fourth of July party, but I wanted something with a kick of flavor.  I started with the Food Network and found some great reviews for Guy Fieri's Mac Daddy Mac n' Cheese. The pepper jack cheese really added a delicious dimension to this hearty pasta.  While this is by NO means an even remotely healthy dish - eating it as a side dish, rather than a main course might help.  When I prepared this I quadrupled the recipe, so the pictures reflect that.

Mad Daddy Mac n' Cheese

2 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 pieces bacon, diced, cooked, reserving 1 tablespoon bacon fat
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pasta, cooked
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place shallots and garlic in a small aluminum foil pouch and drizzle with olive oil. Roast 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from foil and chop. In a large saute pan, reheat reserved bacon fat over medium heat. Add roasted shallot and garlic and saute for 1 minute. 

Add flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in heavy cream and thyme. Reduce by a third. Stir in cheeses until melted, creamy and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Remove from heat and gently stir in pasta. Place in a 9X13 casserole dish. In a small bowl, mix together diced bacon, bread crumbs, butter and parsley. 

Top Mac n Cheese with Panko mixture and bake uncovered at same heat until bubbling and lightly browned on top, 20 to 25 minutes.