Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Casserole



When temperatures drop to 40 below in Fairbanks people start to eat a lot of chicken and drink a lot of half and half! For nearly two weeks I could not find chicken or half and half at the grocery store, this combined with our usual lack of  tofu was putting me into protein withdrawal. It was strange to see the entire chicken section loaded with ground turkey. I have never seen so much ground turkey in my life! Buried among the ground turkey I was able to find some turkey cutlets to make the Chicken, Mushroom, and Leek Casserole in the latest Martha Stewart Living. I liked the casserole, actually I made two mini casseroles. I did not enjoy the cutlets in this recipe as they were way overcooked and tasted a little too much like a T.V. dinner.  I would make this again, but definitely use the chicken the recipe recommends.

Chicken, Mushroom, and Leek Casserole
from Martha Stewart Living
Four chicken breasts
1 leek (white and light green parts)
10oz crimini mushrooms
2c chicken stock
3T flour
3T sherry
3/4c milk
8 slices of whole wheat bread, crusts removed, and cut in half as triangles
3/4c parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Brown the chicken breasts in a pot until cooked through. Pull from the pan, but add the leek and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables have browned, and add flour, stirring frequently. After five minutes, add the sherry, chicken stock, and milk. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken breasts in half. Layer bread along the bottom of a casserole pan. When vegetable mixture has sufficiently thickened, spoon half of the gravy overtop of the bread. Layer the four chicken breasts (or more) on top of the mixture, and then pour the rest of the vegetable gravy on top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling.

Heading Home

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chorizo, Poblano and Yam Fajitas with Lime-Marinated Red Onions

Ok, would someone please remove that horribly yellow photo from my blog? It has been there for nearly two weeks! Sorry I have been away so long. We have had a lot going on lately and cooking hasn't really been at the top of my priority list. I would be ashamed to share with all of you the things we have been eating lately, but honestly there hasn't been a frozen pizza episode in a long time. In any case I think I am ready to jump back in. Things have warmed up here and I am feeling more motivated. I'm also thinking about a better photo set up with these low light days. I have a hard time feeling inspired with these horrible yellow photos. I have found a lot of great directions online for a light box and maybe that is the way to go. 
These Fajitas we had last week were really quick and easy. I love the Lime-Marinated red onions. I'm thinking about making them again in a salad. I could have probably just eaten the bowl of onions with a sprinkle of feta cheese and been happy.

Chorizo, Poblano and Yam Fajitas with Lime-Marinated Red Onions
Bon Appétit | January 2009

2 cups paper-thin slices red onions
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups 1/2-inch-thick sticks peeled yam (red-skinned sweet potato)
12 to 14 ounces fresh chorizo sausages (about 3), casings removed
2 fresh poblano chiles,* halved, seeded, cut into thin strips
8 7- to 8-inch-diameter flour tortillas
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Toss onions and generous sprinkle of salt
in medium bowl. Mix in lime juice. Setaside to marinate, tossing occasionally.
Meanwhile, place yam in microwave-safe
bowl. Add splash of water. Cover;cook on high until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
Sauté chorizo in large nonstick skillet
over medium-high heat until cookedthrough, breaking into small pieces withfork, about 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo tobowl. Spoon off all but 1 tablespoon fat fromskillet. Add chiles to skillet. Cover and cookuntil tender, stirring occasionally, about 4minutes. Drain yam; transfer to skillet. Addchorizo and toss 1 minute to rewarm filling.
Cook 1 tortilla at a time directly over
gas flame or in skillet until heated, 10 to 15seconds per side.
Arrange tortillas on work surface.
Spoon filling in strip down center of each.Top with cheese, onions, and sprinkle oflime marinade. Fold in sides of tortillas.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Crispy Tofu Pad-Thai

Ketchup? Really? In Pad-Thai? Are you sure? 
That is what I said before making this recipe. I had noted that I might want to make this from this month's issue of Cooking Light.  We have been eating pretty simply lately, the old stand-byes of burritos, fajitas, pizza, and frozen veggie patties. I'm a little burned out from cooking after the holidays, not to mention our sub sub-zero temperatures have meant that the shelves at the grocery store have been a bit empty. Maybe they have taken a hit on my creativity as well. In any case we had the ingredients on hand and I decided to give this a try. Well, it turns out that ketchup really is good in Pad-Thai.  Sure, I have had better at our fine Thai restaurants here in Fairbanks, but for a quick and fairly cheap at home meal this is pretty good.  I will definately use the frying tofu in cornstarch trick again. It made the tofu really crispy. I always wondered how they do that in the restaurants...


Ingredients
1 (12.3-ounce) package reduced-fat, firm tofu, drained
1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 ounces flat uncooked rice noodles
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
4 lime wedges

Preparation
1. Place tofu on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes, and toss with cornstarch.

2. Prepare noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well; set aside.

3. Combine ketchup, sugar, fish sauce, and Sriracha. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until golden. Remove tofu from pan.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add eggs and egg white; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from pan. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan. Add noodles; cook 3 minutes. Stir in ketchup mixture; cook 30 seconds. Add egg mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in onions and cilantro. Place 1 cup noodle mixture on each of 4 plates. Top each with 1/2 cup tofu and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanuts. Serve with lime wedges.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Did I mention...

It is really cold here...at least David has a nice hand knit hat to keep his ears warm. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

Getting Colder..

A sad dog really wants to go outside and play...
as the ice fog thickens and temperatures drop even further. 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chicken in Cardamom Yogurt Sauce

Ok, I'll admit it. I made this a long time ago and never posted it because, well the recipe is long and I couldn't find it already posted anywhere on the internet. It is actually from Bon Appetit, but in that beginning section where they get recipes from restaurants. Apparently they do not post these recipes online. This one caught my eye because it is from one of my all-time favorite Indian Restaurants, Vijs. I even own the Vij's cookbook, but this particular recipe is not in the cookbook, which is too bad because I think it is one of my favorites so far. The great part is the Chicken in Cardamom Yogurt sauce can be made in one dish. I actually wasn't all that excited about the red pepper and shallot curry. I think the chicken without the curry will become a part of our regular quick weeknight meals.

Chicken in Cardamom Yogurt Sauce
from Bon Appetit

1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
1 1/2 cups canned tomato puree
3 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons ground coriander
2 Tablespoons canola oil
4 teaspoons paprika
1 Tablespoon celery seed
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, cracked
10 whole cloves
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Steamed Basmati Rice
Red Bell Pepper and Shallot Curry (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk first 13 ingredients in a 2 quart baking dish. Add chicken; and stir to coat. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with basmati rice and Red Bell Pepper and Shallot Curry (below).

Red Bell Pepper and Shallot Curry
Bon Appetit

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 10 large shallots)
1 bunch green onions (about 6), white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts, all chopped
1 pound plum tomatoes (about 4 large), chopped
3 large jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely chopped 
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds 
3 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced

Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add shallots and white and pale green parts of green onions. Cook, stirring often about 8 minutes until golden brown. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, turmeric, paprika and mustard seeds to skillet. Simmer mixture until oil begins to separate, about 10 minutes. Add bell peppers and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover skillet and cook until bell peppers are soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Season curry to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped dark green parts of green onions.

40 Below

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sweet Potato-Pecan Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Before I decided to put myself into a sugar and butter coma at the beginning of December I had been looking at the perfect veggie burger recipe. Now seems like the perfect time to start looking again. I found this recipe on the Cooking Light website from the January 2009 issue which still has yet to find its way to Alaska. In any case I am really looking forward to it as it appears to have a whole section on popovers and a yummy looking pad thai recipe as well. This burger recipe was really good and flavorful. I do recommend adding a little more oats than the recipe recommends. This will definately be a base towards future veggie burger experiments. I could see this with pepitas and chipotle!! While I was looking up the sweet potato recipe to post, I also found this one:
Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise
Looks like another good one to try. So, until next year good-bye butter and sugar. It has been fun! Bring on the veggie burgers...

Sweet Potato-Pecan Burgers with Caramelized Onions
from Cookiing Light
Yield
6 servings (serving size: 1 burger)

Ingredients
ONIONS:
1 teaspoon canola oil
3 cups sliced onion
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

BURGERS:
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
Cooking spray
2 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves
1 cup regular oats
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
6 Boston lettuce leaves
6 (1 1/2-ounce) 100% whole wheat or whole-grain buns
6 chili sauce
Preparation
1. To prepare onions, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion to pan; sauté 12 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook 30 seconds or until vinegar is absorbed. Remove onion mixture from pan; keep warm. Wipe pan dry with a paper towel.

2. To prepare burgers, place potato in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender; drain.

3. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender.

4. Place potato, chopped onion mixture, oats, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a food processor; process until smooth. Place potato mixture in a large bowl; stir in nuts. Divide potato mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.

5. Wipe pan dry with a paper towel. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add 3 patties to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned. Carefully turn patties over; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and 3 patties. Place lettuce leaves and patties on bottom halves of buns; top each patty with 1 tablespoon chili sauce, about 3 tablespoons onion, and top halves of buns.



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