Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chicken Fried Steak & Redeye Curry Gravy

                  Total time : 30 minutes              Makes 4 servings

1                large egg, lightly beaten
1/2             cup milk
1-1/2         cups all-purpose flour
                 **Freshly ground pepper**
12              1/4-inch-thick slices of top-round beef (about 18 ounces)
                  **Vegetable oil**
1               small onion, thinly sliced
2               garlic cloves, minced
1               tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1               tablespoon mild Madras curry powder
1-1/2         tablespoons Sriracha
1/2            cup strong-brewed coffee
1               13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2               tablespoons lime juice
            **Lime wedges for serving**
1-1/2         teaspoons sugar

1 .        In a pie plate, whisk the egg with the milk. In another pie plate, generously season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the coated slices in the beaten egg mixture and dredge again in the flour, lightly patting the coating to help it adhere.
2 .        In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Working in 2 batches, fry the steak over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt. 3.          Pour the cooking oil into a heatproof cup and wipe out the skillet. Return 2 tablespoons of the oil to the skillet and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and Sriracha and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the coffee and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lime juice and sugar, season the gravy with salt and pepper and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
4 .       Put the chicken-fried steaks in shallow bowls. Top with the curry gravy and serve with lime wedges.
           **Serve with  egg noodles.
           **Suggested Pairing**
Spicy, coffee-scented Argentinean Syrah.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Turkey 'a la King

      Total time : 40 minutes               Makes 6 servings

4                   tablespoons unsalted butter
1                   medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2                   celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2                   carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2                red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2                yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2                cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3                cup sliced black olives
1/4                cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1                   tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
1                   tablespoon chopped thyme
3                   tablespoons all-purpose flour
4                   cups leftover turkey, cut into 1-inch pieces
2-1/4             cups turkey or chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
3/4                cup milk
           Salt and freshly ground white pepper
       **Steamed white rice, for serving**
1 .       In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, bell peppers and peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the olives, parsley, tarragon, thyme and flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is fully incorporated and slightly browned, about 2 minutes.
2 .       Add the turkey to the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the stock, stirring well and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer over low heat until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Pour in the milk and return to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season the stew with salt and white pepper and serve with rice.
    **Make Ahead**
The stew can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently before serving.

Spaghettini with Arugula , Pancetta , Herbs & Eggs

Total Time : 45 minutes          Makes 4 servings

1                   pound spaghettini
1/2                pound pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/3                cup extra-virgin olive oil
1                   medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
2                   tablespoons chopped parsley
2                   tablespoons chopped chives
1                   tablespoon finely chopped thyme
1/4                teaspoon crushed red pepper
3                   ounces baby arugula (about 4 cups)
5                   ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (about 2 cups)
                           **Freshly ground black pepper**
3                    tablespoons unsalted butter
4                    large eggs

1 .        In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
2 .        Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, cook the pancetta in the oil over moderate heat until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shallot, parsley, chives, thyme and crushed red pepper.
3 .        Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water to the skillet and toss over low heat, scraping to remove any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until almost all of the water has been absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in the arugula and transfer the spaghetti to a wide, shallow serving bowl. Toss with the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper.
4 .         In a medium skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown and nutty smelling, about 5 minutes. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook until the whites are just set and the yolks are runny, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Slide the eggs into the pasta and toss, breaking up the eggs to distribute them evenly.
Serve hot.

In this version of spaghetti carbonara, add fresh herbs and peppery arugula, and fries eggs in nutty browned butter before tossing with pasta.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Italian Brunch Casserole

                                        Makes 8 servings

1                 (8-ounce) package sweet Italian sausage
8                 green onions, sliced (1 cup)
2                 zucchini, diced (about 3 cups) 
1                 teaspoon salt
1/2              teaspoon pepper
1                 (7-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1                 (16-ounce) Italian bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
2                 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
6                 large eggs
1-1/2           cups milk 

1 .        Remove and discard casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large skillet, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.
2 .        Add green onions and next 3 ingredients to skillet. Sauté 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in roasted bell peppers. Drain and cool.
3 .        Spread 4 cups of bread cubes in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with half each of the sausage mixture and cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, sausage, and cheese.
4 .        Whisk together eggs and milk. Pour egg mixture over bread. Cover and chill 8 hours.
5 .        Bake, covered, at 325° for 1 hour or until bubbly and hot.

Strawberry Mousse Cake

Total Time : 5 hours                Makes 10 to 12 servings

                   **Cake Layers**

1-1/4            cups butter, softened
2-1/4            cups granulated sugar
7                  egg whites, at room temperature
3-1/2            cups cake flour
4                  teaspoons baking powder
2                  teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2               teaspoon almond extract
            **Strawberry Mousse **
1                 envelope unflavored gelatin
2                 cups sliced fresh strawberries 
1/4              cup granulated sugar
1                 cup whipping cream
             **Strawberry Frosting **
3/4              cup butter, softened
5                 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4              cup finely chopped fresh strawberries 
               **Garnishes **
      Halved fresh strawberries, edible flowers

1.          Prepare Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350°. Beat 1 1/4 cups softened butter and 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until fluffy. Gradually add egg whites, one-third at a time, beating well after each addition.
2.          Sift together cake flour and baking powder; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with 1 cup water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Pour batter into 4 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.
3.         Bake at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).
4.         Prepare Strawberry Mousse: Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Process 2 cups sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Transfer strawberry mixture to a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add gelatin to strawberry mixture, stirring constantly until gelatin dissolves. Cover and chill until consistency of unbeaten egg whites, stirring occasionally (about 30 minutes).
5.          Beat cream at low speed until foamy; increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until well blended. Cover and chill 30 minutes or just until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape when mounded.
6.         Spread about 1 cup Strawberry Mousse between each cake layer, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges; cover and chill 3 hours or until mousse is set.
7.         Prepare Strawberry Frosting: Beat 3/4 cup softened butter at medium speed 20 seconds or until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar and 3/4 cup finely chopped strawberries, beating at low speed until creamy. Spread frosting on top and sides of cake.

Strawberry-sweetened frosting surrounds the outside of the cake while creamy strawberry mousse divides the layers. This beautiful cake is ideal for brunch, baby showers, or any  celebration.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Celery Root & Mushroom Lasagna

Total Time : 3 hours      Makes 10 servings

1            cup dried porcini mushrooms
2            cups boiling water
4            tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4         cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4         pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced (4 cups)
      **Salt and freshly ground white pepper** 1/4        pound thickly sliced prosciutto di Parma, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2           medium shallots, finely chopped
1           fresh bay leaf
2           rosemary sprigs
2           sage sprigs
2           thyme sprigs
1           pound celery root, peeled and finely diced (1 1/2 cups)
3         medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, finely chopped (3 cups)
1/2       cup dry Marsala
4          cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth 2-1/2    cups heavy cream
1-3/4    cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2          large eggs
1-1/2    pounds lasagna noodles
1-1/2    pounds fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1          cup basil leaves

1 .    In a small, heatproof bowl, soak the porcini in the boiling hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop the porcini.
2 .    In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the white mushrooms and the porcini, season with salt and white pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.
3 .      Add the remaining 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil to the saucepan. Add the prosciutto and shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Using kitchen string, tie the bay leaf, rosemary, sage and thyme sprigs into a bundle. Add the herb bundle and the celery root to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery root is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Add the leeks and cook until the celery root is tender, 5 minutes longer.
4 .     Return the mushrooms to the saucepan and stir over moderate heat until hot, 2 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook until evaporated, 5 minutes. Pour in 2 cups of the chicken stock and simmer over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the cream; simmer for 3 minutes longer, until the mixture has reduced to 5 cups. Season the ragù with salt and white pepper.
5 .     In another large saucepan, combine the remaining 2 cups each of cream and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 3 cups, about 10 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Whisk in the eggs. Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper. Set 1/2 cup of the sauce aside.
6 .     Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Cook the lasagna noodles until just barely al dente; drain and transfer to the ice water to cool. Drain the noodles and pat dry.
7 .      Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Line the bottom with a single layer of noodles, overlapping them slightly; reserve the best noodles for the top layer. Spread one-fifth of the vegetable ragù on top, followed by one-fifth each of the sauce, mozzarella and basil. Repeat to make four more layers, ending with a layer of noodles (you won't use all the noodles). Top with the reserved 1/2 cup of sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
8 .     Bake the lasagna until bubbling and golden, about 1 hour. Let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Make ahead the assembled lasagna can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

***This white lasagna needs a red with good acidity to cut through the creamy, cheesy richness. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, from central Italy, has that acidity, along with ripe berry flavors.***

Seared Salmon on Herbed Mashed Peas

Makes 4 servings            Serving size :1 salmon fillet and 1/2 cup mashed peas)

1            teaspoon butter
1            cup thinly sliced leek
1/4         cup water
1            (10-ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
1            tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2            tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2            teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/2         teaspoon salt, divided
1/2         teaspoon black pepper, divided
4            (6-ounce) salmon fillets $
             **Cooking spray Lemon wedges (optional)**

1 .       Heat butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add water and peas; cook 5 minutes or until peas are tender.
2 .       Place pea mixture in a food processor. Add basil, juice, and tarragon; process until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; keep warm.
3 .       Sprinkle salmon with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add salmon, skin side down, and cook for 6 minutes or until golden. Turn, and cook for 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve salmon over warm mashed peas. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.
Give mashed potatoes a break by serving salmon on a bed of brightly seasoned pureed peas. You may need to thin the pea mixture; add one tablespoon of water at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

Prep:20 minutes     Bake 20 minutes    Makes 4 servings

8           bacon strips
4           boneless chicken breasts halves (6 ounces each)
1           tablespoon olive oil
1/2        teaspoon salt
1/4        teaspoon pepper
2           plum tomatoes
6           fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
4           slices part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 .       Place bacon in an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.
2 .       Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until partially cooked but not crisp.
3 .       Remove to paper towels to drain. Place chicken in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan; brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with tomatoes and basil.
4 .      Wrap each in two bacon strips, arranging bacon in a crisscross.
5 .      Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Top with cheese; bake 1 minute longer or until melted.

Smoky bacon, fresh basil, ripe tomatoes and gooey mozzarella top these appealing chicken breasts. The aroma as they bake is irresistible!
            **Medium-Bodied Red Wine**
Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

Prep : 50 minutes + chilling    Bake : 65 minutes + cooling  Makes 6 to 8 servings

3/4            cup all-purpose flour
1/4            teaspoon salt
1/4            teaspoon sugar
1/4            cup shortening
1               tablespoon beaten egg
1/4            teaspoon white vinegar
4               teaspoons cold water

3              cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
1              cup sugar
2              tablespoons all-purpose flour
             **Dash salt **
3              egg yolks
1              cup heavy whipping cream
 4             teaspoons plus 1/3 cup sugar , divided
2              teaspoons cornstarch
1/3           cup water
3              egg whites
1/8           teaspoon cream of tartar

1 .        In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar; cut in shortening until crumbly. Combine egg and vinegar; sprinkle over crumb mixture. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
2 .        On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to fit a 9-in. pie plate. Trim to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges.
3 .        Place rhubarb in crust. Whisk the sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks and cream; pour over rhubarb. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
4 .        In a small saucepan, combine 4 teaspoons sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Cool to room temperature.
5 .        In a small bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add cornstarch mixture; beat on high until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.
6 .        Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. Bake for 15 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 6-8 servings.
If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beauty Ingredient We Love : Lemon !

Lemons aren't just a common ingredient in your fridge--they also work wonders when it comes to your beauty routine. Here are six ways to use lemons outside your kitchen. From whitening teeth to making skin look smoother, this citrus fruit can help create a glowing, more youthful you!

6  Surprising Uses for Lemons in Your Beauty Routine:

1.      Get rid of blackheads
Rub a half or quarter of a lemon on your face (concentrating on clogged pore areas like forehead and chin), then rinse face with water to remove residue. The Alpha Hydroxy Acid in lemons acts a natural exfoliator for skin, reducing clogged pores and making skin appear smoother.

2.           Brighten skin
For brighter skin, sub out toner with a natural alternative! Squeeze fresh lemon juice on a cotton ball and apply it directly to your face before going to bed.

3.           Make nails whiter
Rub a half of a lemon directly on fingernails to make yellowed nails whiter (warning: if you have a cut or a torn cuticle, avoid that area because it will indeed sting. Ouch!).

4.          Give skin a youthful glow
Squeeze fresh lemon juice into your drinking water! The combination of lemon and water hydrates the skin and removes impurities from within, leading to brighter, younger-looking skin on the outside.

5.          Clear up breakouts
Kill bacteria and treat acne by squeezing half of a lemon into a glass of water. Then, dip a wash cloth into the mixture and gently wash your face with it.

6.           Make hair silky smooth
Lemon juice is well-known as an all-natural hair lightener, but it can also add shine to dry, drab strands. Add a few drops of freshly-squeezed lemon into a cup of water, then pour the mixture into clean, wet strands. Rinse after a few minutes if you want to avoid lightening hair with the concoction.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Soft Chicken Tacos

Makes 4 servings    (serving size 3 tacos)

1              teaspoon chili powder
1/2           teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2           teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1              pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
12           (6-inch) white corn tortillas
1-1/2       cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1/4          cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (such as Tillamook)
              Cookingh spray          
                  **Low-fat sour cream (optional)**

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; rub spice mixture over chicken. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 10 minutes on each side or until done. Let stand 5 minutes; chop. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide chicken evenly among tortillas; top each tortilla with 2 tablespoons cabbage and 1 teaspoon cheese. Serve with sour cream, if desired. 

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Prep: 25 minutes + marinating       Grill : 10 minutes     Makes 4 servings
1-1/2            cups Louisiana-style hot sauce
2/3               cup packed brown sugar
6                  tablespoons butter
3                  tablespoons cider vinegar
1-1/2            teaspoons taco seasoning
4                  boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
1/4               cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4               cup buttermilk
1/4               cup mayonnaise
1                  tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
1                  tablespoon minced chives
1-1/2            teaspoons lemon juice
1/2               teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4               teaspoon minced garlic
1/4               teaspoon pepper
4                  onion rolls, split and toasted
4                  cooked bacon strips
4                  slices Colby cheese (3/4 ounce each)
4                  lettuce leaves 
4                 slices tomato
4                 slices red onion

1 .      In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the first five ingredients to a boil; boil, uncovered, for 1 minute. Cool for 10 minutes; set aside 1/2 cup for basting.
2 .      Flatten chicken to 1/2-in. thickness. Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3 .      Drain and discard marinade from chicken. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 170°, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. In a small bowl, combine the blue cheese, buttermilk, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, chives, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and pepper. Spread over roll bottoms; top with the chicken, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. Replace roll tops.
Enjoy with a light-bodied white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

South of The Border Stuffed Peppers

Prep : 25 minutes         Bake : 25 minutes   Makes 4 servings

1           pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
2/3        cup chopped sweet red pepper
            1/2 cup chopped onion
2          garlic cloves, minced
1-3/4   cups chopped seeded tomatoes, divided
4          teaspoons chili powder
1          teaspoon cornstarch
1          teaspoon ground cumin
1/2       teaspoon dried oregano
1/4       teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2       cup water
4          medium green peppers
2          tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2          tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
2          green onions, chopped
4          grape tomatoes, halved, **optional**

1 .        In a large nonstick skillet, cook the beef, red pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in 1/2 cup tomatoes, chili powder, cornstarch, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Gradually stir in water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
2 .          Cut green peppers in half lengthwise; remove seeds. In a large kettle, cook peppers in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Spoon about 1/3 cup beef mixture into each pepper half.
3.          Place in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender and filling is heated through.
4 .        Top with the remaining tomatoes. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, green onions and grape tomatoes if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
You can put a zesty twist on a dinnertime staple with this colorful main course. Garlic, chili powder, cumin and more season the pepper's ground beef so well, you won't even miss the salt.

Apricot Honey Chicken

Prep /Total time : 25 minutes           Makes 4 servings

4                boneless chicken breasts halves (5 ounces each)
1                tablespoon canola oil
3                tablespoons apricot preserves
2                tablespoons orange juice
4                teaspoons honey

1 .        In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil over medium heat for 7-9 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. 2 .        Combine the preserves, orange juice and honey; pour over chicken. Cook for 2 minutes or until heated through. 

         **Light-Bodied White Wine **

Enjoy this recipe with a light-bodied white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Apricot Honey Chicken is a sheer delight with its sweet, fruity sauce. There's no need to heat up the oven for this flavorful entree, so you can even enjoy it during the spring/summer…or any time of year.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fried Chicken WWings

Prep/ Total : 2 hours             Makes 6 servings

4            pounds chicken wings (about 14 wings)
1/2         cup minced onion
1/4         cup minced garlic
3/4         teaspoon salt
1/4         teaspoon pepper
2            large eggs
1-1/2     cups milk
3            quarts vegetable oil
2            cups all-purpose flour
3            tablespoons pepper
1            tablespoon salt
1            tablespoon dried oregano
1            tablespoon paprika
1-1/2      teaspoons chili powder

1 .         Pat chicken dry. Place chicken and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine. Whisk together eggs and milk; pour over chicken. Let stand 20 minutes.
2.         Pour oil into a 7 1/2-qt. Dutch oven; heat to 325°. 3. Whisk together flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl.
4.         Remove chicken from egg mixture, reserving egg mixture. Drain chicken well.
5.         Dredge half of chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip chicken in egg mixture, and dredge in flour mixture again.
6.         Fry chicken 7 to 9 minutes or until browned. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Place on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan, and keep warm in a 200° oven. (Do not cover.)
7.         Return oil to 325°; repeat Steps 5 and 6 with remaining chicken, flour mixture, and egg mixture.
Make-Ahead Tip:
Fry chicken up to 1 hour ahead, and keep warm in a 200° oven. Or, make it the day before and chill. Serve it cold, at room temperature, or warm.
To reheat:
Bake on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan at 300° for 45 minutes.
Soak chicken twice in the egg-milk mixture and double-dredges in the highly seasoned flour for a superior crust.

Roast Beef with Ove-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Prep : 30 minutes        Total time: 2 hours  45 minutes     Makes 8 servings
3            pounds plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/3 inch thick
1            tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
                       **Kosher salt**
                       **Freshly ground pepper**
2            teaspoons whole thyme leaves, plus 2 teaspoons chopped
2            tablespoons chopped parsley
2            tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1/2         tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2         tablespoon coriander seeds
1/4         teaspoon allspice berries
1-1/2      teaspoons sugar
              **Kosher salt**
1            2-3/4-pound beef eye of round roast, trimmed of all visible fat
1            tablespoon vegetable oil
              **Watercress, for garnish**
1 .         Preheat the oven to 250°. On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, toss the tomato slices with the oil. Arrange in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are very firm and partially dried; rotate the sheets halfway through baking. Let the tomatoes cool slightly, then coarsely chop them.
2 .         In a bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, chopped thyme, parsley and the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
1 .         In a small skillet, toast the mustard and coriander seeds with the allspice berries over moderate heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool completely; grind to a powder. Stir in the sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Rub the mixture all over the roast and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
2 .         Preheat the oven to 400°. In an ovenproof skillet just large enough to hold the roast, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the beef; cook over moderate heat until browned all over, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook the roast, turning a few times, for about 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 120° for rare. Transfer the roast to a carving board to rest for 15 minutes.
3 .        Thinly carve the roast beef across the grain and arrange on a platter. Garnish with the watercress and serve with the tomato salsa.
                    **Serve With**
Boiled new potatoes.
           **Suggested Pairing**
Pinot Noir works well with this flavorful roast.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Prep : 45 minutes     Total time :4 hours       Makes 1 -9inch pie

2            cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1            teaspoon sugar
1/2         teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2      sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4         cup ice water

1-1/2       cups pecan halves
4             tablespoons unsalted butter
6             ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2          cup light brown sugar
3             large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4          cup light corn syrup
1             teaspoon pure vanilla extract
                         **Pinch of kosher salt**
                         **Unsweetened whipped cream**

1 .       In a food processor, combine the 2 cups of flour with the sugar and salt; process to mix. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and process until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. With the machine on, slowly pour in the ice water and process just until it's incorporated. Transfer the dough to a bowl and knead a few times. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
2 .Let the dough soften slightly. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a round, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll it over a 9-inch glass pie plate. Press the dough into the pie plate, being careful not to stretch it. Using scissors, trim the overhang to 1 1/2 inches. Fold the dough under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate the pie shell until firm, at least 30 minutes.

2 .       Preheat the oven to 375°. Prick the chilled pie shell all over with the tines of a fork. Line the shell with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Fold the foil over the weights so the side of the pie shell is exposed. Bake the shell for 25 minutes, or until the side and rim are golden. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking the shell until the bottom is beginning to brown, about 15 minutes longer. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.
3 .        Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, stirring once. Transfer the pecans to a plate. In a small microwave-safe glass bowl, melt the butter with the chocolate in a microwave oven. Stir until blended and smooth. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and add the brown sugar. Stir in the eggs, corn syrup, vanilla and kosher salt, then stir in the pecans.
Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until set in the center. Let the pie cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.

Make AheadThe pecan pie can be refrigerated overnight. Serve cold or bring to room temperature.

Chunky Borscht

                                     Makes 4 servings

2                       tablespoons cooking oil
1                       onion, chopped
2                       parsnips, peeled and cut into thin slices
1                       small celery root (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1                       turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1-3/4                teaspoons salt 2 cups drained diced canned beets (one 15-ounce can)
1-1/2                cups drained diced canned tomatoes (one 15-ounce can)
3-1/2                cups canned low-sodium beef broth or homemade stock
3                      cups water
1/4                   teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2                   pound kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
1/3                   cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/4                   cup sour cream
1 .       In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the parsnips, celery root, turnip, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
2 .         Add the beets, tomatoes, broth, water, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the kielbasa. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the 1/3 cup dill. Serve topped with the sour cream and the remaining 3 tablespoons dill.

Tips Variation: Instead of the kielbasa, you can use the same amount of Black Forest ham, or any good smoked ham, cut into small chunks.
           **Suggested Pairing**
California Sauvignon Blanc has enough intensity of taste to stand up to the borscht, and the subtly herbal nature of its flavor will accentuate the dill nicely.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Italian Mini Frittatas

Prep : 25 minutes    Bake : 25 minutes    Makes 6 servings

2             tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1/2          cup boiling water
2             thin slices prosciutto, finely chopped
1/4          cup chopped shallots 1 teaspoon butter
2             garlic cloves, minced
1/4          cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2      cups fat-free milk
4             egg whites
2             eggs
1             cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 1/4          cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/2          cup canned water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
2             tablespoons minced fresh basil or
2             teaspoons dried basil
3/4          teaspoon salt
1/2          teaspoon white pepper

1.        Place tomatoes in a small bowl; add boiling water. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2 .       In a small nonstick skillet, saute prosciutto and shallots in butter until shallots are tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; set aside.
3 .       In a large bowl, whisk flour and milk until smooth; whisk in the egg whites and eggs until blended. Stir in the cheeses, artichokes, basil, salt, pepper, and reserved tomatoes and prosciutto mixture.
4 .       Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray; fill with egg mixture. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Carefully run a knife around edges to loosen; remove from pan. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

"While these individual frittatas contain prosciutto, cheese and butter, the amounts are small so each portion stays slim. They’re easy to prepare, easy to serve and will certainly become a brunch favorite"
                **Shallot Substitutions**
Shallots are part of the onion family and have a mild onion-garlic flavor. In place of 3 to 4 shallots, use 1 medium onion plus a pinch of garlic powder or (if you like the taste of garlic) 1 minced garlic clove.
Enjoy this recipe with a sparkling wine

Friday, April 19, 2013

3 Fresh Spring Vinaigrettes

This season's best-dressed salads start with a trio of versatile vinaigrettes that serve double .
                            **Ginger-Basil Vinaigrette**
Use this as a sauce for fish or shrimp, crisp lettuces, avocado, or rice.
Process ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped; 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice; 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger; 1 garlic clove, minced; 1 tsp. honey; and ½ tsp. kosher salt in a food processor until smooth. With processor running, pour 2/3 cup grapeseed oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream, processing until smooth. Makes about ¾ cup

                           **Red Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette**
Pair this sweet, piquant vinaigrette with fresh greens and tangy goat cheese. It also works as a marinade for chicken or pork.
Whisk together 6 Tbsp. red wine vinegar; 1/3 cup olive oil; 3 Tbsp. red pepper jelly; 1 shallot, minced (about 2 Tbsp.); 1 Tbsp. coarse-grained mustard; ¼ tsp. kosher salt; and ¼ tsp. black pepper in a small bowl. Makes about 1 cup

                            **Peach-Poppy Seed Vinaigrette**
Pair with any lettuce, or drizzle over grilled pork.
Process ¾ cup frozen sliced peaches or mango, thawed; 3 Tbsp. peach preserves; 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar; ½ tsp. Dijon mustard; and ½ tsp. kosher salt in a food processor until smooth. With processor running, pour ½ cup canola oil through food chute in a slow stream. Process until smooth; stir in 1½ tsp. poppy seeds. Makes 1¼ cups

Cobb Salad

Total time : 2 hours 35 minutes          Makes 8 servings

1pound baby red potatoes, quartered
1/3              cup sliced green onions
1                 (11.5-oz.) bottle refrigerated blue cheese vinaigrette, divided
2                 large avocados
1                 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6                 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1                 pt. grape tomatoes, halved
1                 cup (4 oz.) shredded white Cheddar cheese
2                 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
6                 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
1.       Cook potatoes in boiling salted water to cover 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain. Toss potatoes with green onions and 1/3 cup vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours.
2.       Peel and chop avocados; toss with lemon juice. Toss lettuce with avocado mixture, tomatoes, and next 2 ingredients. Arrange lettuce mixture on a large serving platter; top with potato mixture, and sprinkle with bacon. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.
       **TIP: I use Marie's Blue Cheese Vinaigrette**
Transform a Cobb salad into a potato salad by adding avocado, blue cheese, bacon, tomato and lettuce to boiled red potatoes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Coconut Cream Pie

                                       Makes  8 servings

1/2                  (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
1/2                  cup sugar
1/4                  cup cornstarch
2                     cups half-and-half
4                     egg yolks
3                     tablespoons butter
1                     cup sweetened flaked coconut
2-1/2              teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
2                     cups whipping cream
1/3                  cup sugar
               **Garnish: toasted coconut**

Fit 1 piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides of piecrust with a fork.

Bake according to package directions for a one-crust pie.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan. Whisk together half-and-half and egg yolks. Gradually whisk egg mixture into sugar mixture; bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter, 1 cup coconut, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, placing plastic wrap directly on filling in pan; let stand 30 minutes. Spoon custard mixture into prepared crust, cover and chill 30 minutes or until set. Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Spread or pipe whipped cream over pie filling. Garnish, if desired.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tyler's Country-Fried Chicken with Uncle Ellis' Cornmeal Gravy

Prep / Total time : 1 hour 15 minutes      Makes  6 servings

6           (6-oz.) top sirloin steaks, cubed 
1           teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2     cups finely crushed round buttery crackers
6           tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
3           large eggs 
2           cups buttermilk Vegetable oil

1.       Sprinkle cubed steaks with salt and pepper. Combine flour, crackers, and marjoram in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs and buttermilk in a bowl.
2.       Dip steaks in egg mixture; dredge in cracker mixture. Repeat procedure.
3.      Pour oil to depth of 1 1/2 inches in a large heavy skillet. Heat to 325°. Fry steaks, in batches, 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan.
Serve with gravy. (RECIPE BELOW)
Uncle Ellis' Cornmeal Gravy
 Total Time : 20 minutes         Makes about 1 2/3 cups

1/2        cup plain red or white cornmeal
1/2        teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1           teaspoon bacon drippings
1           cup buttermilk 1 cup hot water

Cook cornmeal in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in salt, pepper, and drippings. Stir together buttermilk and hot water; gradually whisk into cornmeal mixture. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. Whisk in additional buttermilk for desired consistency.

Grilled Chicken & New Potatoes

                      Ready in 35 Minutes

1            medium leek
1-1/2     pounds small new potatoes, halved 
2           tablespoons crushed red pepper-and-garlic seasoning (such as McCormick), divided 4           tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-1/2     teaspoons table salt, divided
1-1/2     pounds chicken breast tenders
2           tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
2           bunches green onions 

1.      Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Remove and discard root end and dark green top of leek. Cut in half lengthwise, and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove grit and sand. Cut into thin slices.
2.     Toss together leek, potatoes, 1 Tbsp. garlic seasoning, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. salt.
3.     Divide leek mixture among 2 large pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bring foil sides up over mixture; double fold top and sides to seal, making packets.
4.     Grill foil packets, covered with grill lid, 12 minutes.
5.     Meanwhile, toss together chicken, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and remaining 1 Tbsp. garlic seasoning, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt.
6.     Shake foil packets, using tongs, and return to grill. At the same time, grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 5 minutes; turn chicken. Place green onions on grill, and grill chicken, onions, and foil packets 4 to 5 minutes or until chicken is done.
7.       Open foil packets carefully, using tongs. Arrange grilled vegetables, chicken, and green onions on a serving plate.
Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.

This updated and healthier take on classic chicken fingers is a fuss-free dinner! Use a foil packet as a cooking vessel for the leeks and potatoes (or any vegetable).

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lemon Pork Chops & Quinoa Salad

                             Makes 6 servings

6               (1/2-inch-thick) bone-in center-cut pork rib chops (about 4 lb.)
2              tablespoons lemon-herb seasoning
1-3/4        teaspoons kosher salt, divided
6              tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-1/2        cups uncooked quinoa
1              (8-oz.) package fresh sugar snap peas
1              garlic clove, sliced Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette (Recipe Below)
1/3           cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4           cup chopped dry-roasted almonds

1.        Rub pork chops with herb seasoning and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Sear half of pork in 2 1/2 Tbsp. hot olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. Keep pork warm on a wire rack in a 200° oven. Repeat procedure with 2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil and remaining pork. Wipe skillet clean.
2.       Bring quinoa, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 4 cups water to a boil in large saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until tender; drain. Return to saucepan; cover. Let stand 10 minutes.
3.      Cut sugar snap peas in half crosswise. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat; cook peas in hot oil 1 minute or until bright green and tender. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat.
4.      Fluff quinoa with a fork. Add quinoa and Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette to sugar snap pea mixture, and toss to coat. Stir in parsley and almonds. Serve with pork.
 Ready in 25 Minutes:Your family will love pork chops on the bone (gives them more flavor) with a crunchy almond topping. And for perfectly fluffy quinoa simmer, drain, and let it stand, covered, to steam, then fluff!
Garlic Vinaigrette
This recipe goes with Lemon Pork Chops with Quinoa Saladon
2       tablespoons lemon juice
1       tablespoon olive oil
2       garlic cloves, minced
1/4    teaspoon kosher salt
1/4    teaspoon pepper

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, kosher salt, and pepper.
Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette livens up simple salad greens, or toss with quinoa and sugar snap peas as done in our recipe for Lemon Pork Chops with Quinoa Salad.


Brighten Up Your Plate Braised Flank Steak

                             Makes 4 to 6 servings

2          teaspoons light brown sugar
1-1/2   teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1         (1-1/2- to 1-3/4-lb.) flank, skirt, or tri-tip steak
4         tablespoons olive oil, divided
1         (22-oz.) package frozen potato wedges, thawed
3         tablespoons butter
1         (9-oz.) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
3         garlic cloves, minced
3         tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3         tablespoons drained capers 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1         medium-size sweet onion, chopped

1.       Stir together brown sugar and next 3 ingredients. Rub steak with sugar mixture, and let stand 5 minutes.
2.      Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Add steak; cook, turning once, until seared, 12-16 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from skillet; cover loosely with aluminum foil. (Alternatively, cook steak on gas or charcoal grill.)
3.      Meanwhile, cook potatoes in remaining 3 Tbsp. hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from skillet.
4.     Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in skillet. Add onion; cook, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add artichokes and garlic; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, next 2 ingredients, potatoes, and remaining 1 Tbsp. butter; cook, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes.
5.     Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices, and serve with potato mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Made with Alexia All Natural Oven Reds with Olive Oil, Parmesan & Roasted Garlic potatoes.

Spring vegetables are here! So hit the market and use the season's bounty to cook five colorful weeknight meals short on prep time and full of garden-fresh flavor.