Friday, September 25, 2009

Chicken Paillard

Paillard is simply quick cooking thinly sliced or pounded pieces of meat. Typically this process is associated with veal or chicken, but beef can also be used.

We eat chicken regularly but I find that sometimes, it gets monotonous. When I spotted these recipes in a back issue of a Martha Stewart magazine, I added them to my recipe binder to break the chicken boredom.

Two very easy, very quick and very delicious recipes. We'll make them both again.

With the fried chicken, it is not necessary to use the amount of lard listed. I used not quite an inch of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet which was plenty to brown the crust.

The grilled chicken cooked quickly on the barbeque due to it's thinness. We had marinated it that afternoon and, although wary of the lime juice, discovered it to be delicious. The chilies added a subtle but noticeable heat that went very well with the lime.

Fried Chicken Paillard

Martha Stewart
Serves 4

1 1/2 cups non fat buttermilk
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
8 slices white bread, crusts removed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup vegetable shortening or vegetable oil

In an airtight container, combine buttermilk, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place a chicken breast half between 2 twelve inch squares of plastic wrap. Using a meat pounder or the bottom of a sauce pan, pound chicken until just more than 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with remaining breasts; place in buttermilk marinade. Chill 20 minutes.

Place bread, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and cayenne pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form, about 10 seconds. Transfer mixture to a shallow bowl.

Remove a chicken breast half from buttermilk mixture, and shake off excess liquid. Dredge both sides of chicken in bread crumbs, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels. Heat shortening in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. When hot, carefully place two chicken breast halves in pan. Fry until bottoms are golden, about 2 minutes. Turn chicken breasts over, and cook until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to prepared pan. Repeat with remaining chicken. Serve.

Grilled Chicken Paillard

Martha Stewart
Serves 4

To prepare the chicken, place the boneless breasts in a resealable plastic bag one at a time, and pound them using the smooth side of a meat tenderizer. Once all of the breasts have been pounded, place them back in the bag to marinate the chicken.

2 cloves garlic, crushed
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the marinade: In a small bowl, combine garlic, zest, juice, chili powder and red pepper flakes. Place the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag, and add the marinade. Seal the bag and toss to coat the chicken. Transfer bag to refrigerator and chill 10 to 15 minutes, or up to 24 hours.

Heat grill; when very hot, remove chicken from bag and carefully place on hot grill. Cook about 5 minutes, discard bag and excess marinade. Turn chicken over, and continue cooking 4 to 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Plum & Peach Galette

I love how summer winds down with one last hurrah from the late season fruits and vegetables. Plums are starting to ripen and the peaches are slowing down (but don't you find they're almost sweeter now, than at the beginning of their season?).

A week or so ago I picked up a 20 pound box of peaches; I froze the majority of them (rinse gently under cool water to remove fuzz; slice, pit and freeze on parchment lined baking sheets then store in freezer bags - peel when ready to use). Several peaches made their way into canning jars, a
very easy cake was thrown together one afternoon but yet I was left with two very ripe, desperate to be used peaches on my counter.

I've always wanted to try my hand at a galette - the most free form pie you ever did see.

Plum & Peach Galette

1 pie crust (I used pâte brisée that I had made some time ago and frozen)

6 Italian plums, pitted and roughly chopped

2 large freestone peaches, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons cornstarch

pinch salt

1 tablespoon buttermilk

granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Toss plums, peaches, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Lay pie crust on prepared baking sheet. Pile fruit mixture in center of pie crust, leaving roughly 2-3 inches around. Fold pie crust up over fruit.

Brush crust with buttermilk, sprinkle with sugar and bake in preheated oven till crust is golden and fruit is bubbling, approximately 30 minutes. Let cool before slicing.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Mac & Cheese With Pancetta

This is most certainly not a dish you'll make often. Not because you won't want to, or that it's not creamy, flavorful and delicious, oh no; no, it's because it's not quite as cost effective as those blue boxes with the mysterious 'cheese' package.

It's a far sight better than those chemical laden preservative filled blue boxes, though - just to forewarn you. Those blue boxes just won't do it for you anymore, once you've tried the real thing.

In any case, this is a perfect dish for the upcoming season - comforting, filling, warm and delicious.

Bon Appétit shared this recipe as part of an article on the foods restaurant employees make for themselves before service starts - this Mac & Cheese with Pancetta is a favorite with staff at the Mio Kitchen & Wine Bar.

Mac & Cheese with Pancetta
Mio Kitchen & Wine Bar
Serves 10

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided

4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped

1 cup finely chopped onion

3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup all purpose flour

3 1/2 cups (plus extra) whole milk

2 1/2 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1-8 ounce container mascarpone cheese

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 pound orecchiette or elbow macaroni

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pancetta and sauté until browned and crisp, about 6 minutes. Add the onion, sauté until lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic, stir 1 minute.

Stir in 3 tablespoons butter, allow to melt, then add the flour and stir 1 minute to cook off the 'raw' flavor. Gradually whisk in 3 1/2 cups milk; simmer till thickened and will coat a spoon thickly, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheeses. Whisk in more milk as necessary to render the sauce thick but pourable. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and toast until very light golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a large baking dish.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al denté. Drain but do not rinse. Return pasta to pot and add the cheese sauce, tossing to coat. Taste, and season as necessary with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into prepared dish and sprinkle crumb mixture over top.
Bake until heated through and crumb topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chocolate Mayo Cake

We hosted a lunch yesterday, to celebrate the baptism of our son. Of the several made-from-scratch desserts I baked especially for this event, this cake was my favorite - and it was actually leftovers from the night previous; a dessert I had brought with us to visit with friends. And horrors, it's made from a boxed mix!

Although I don't believe anything could ever top Beatty's Chocolate Cake; for a wonderfully quick and easy dessert that's moist, flavorful and absolutely delicious, this cake...takes the cake.

Hellmann's Chocolate Mayo Cake
Makes one, 2 layer 9 inch cake

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
1 cup water
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour two 9 inch round cake pans, set aside.

Beat cake mix, mayonnaise, water, eggs and cinnamon for 30 seconds in a large bowl with electric mixer on low speed. Beat on medium speed, scraping sides occasionally, for 2 minutes. Divide batter between the two prepared pans.

Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out cleanly. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack, remove from pans and cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting
Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 2/3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/3 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream the butter in a large bowl. Blend in the vanilla and alternate the cocoa powder and icing sugar with the cream.

Beat with an electric mixer, adding enough cream to reach desired texture.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Apple Tart With Caramel Sauce

Bon Appétit called this recipe a 'grown up spin on the caramel apple' - and if this is what caramel apples taste like, I've been missing out.

I made this tart into 4 individual sized servings using small tart pans. We added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the still warm tarts and scraped our plates clean - it's fabulous.

Don't be hesitant using the ground cardamom. While it's a fairly strong spice, the dimension it adds to the tart is unbeatable - while you won't be able to notice it distinctly, you'd be lacking in flavor interest without it.


Apple Tart With Caramel Sauce
Bon Appétit
Serves 8

Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, diced
2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
6 large apples (about 2 3/4 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored

For the caramel sauce: bring sugar, cream and butter to a boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium high heat, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil until caramel thickens enough to coat a spoon thickly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Can be made 5 days ahead, cover and chill till ready to use. When ready to use, whisk over low heat until warm before using.

For the crust: blend flour, powdered sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and blend until coarse meal forms. Add egg yolks. Pulse until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball, flatten into disc. Wrap and chill at least 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead, keep chilled.

For the filling: whisk first 4 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Add apples and toss until evenly coated.

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13 inch round. Transfer to 9 inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cut overhang even with the top of pan sides. Press sides of dough to bring 1/4 inch above sides of pan. Arrange apple quarters, cut side down, in circle around outer edge of pan, fitting snugly. Cut remaining apple quarters in half lengthwise, stand in center of tart, fitting snugly.

Bake tart until apples are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from oven, brush with some of the caramel sauce. Cool tart to room temperature. Rewarm remaining caramel sauce. Drizzle tart lightly with sauce, serve and pass remaining caramel sauce separately.