July 17, 2006

Lamb with Tomatoes and Marjoram

Lamb Shoulder Chops with Tomatoes and Marjoram
from Bon Appetit, May 1990

2 1 1/2-inch-thick round-bone shoulder lamb chops (about 14 ounces total)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, coarsely chopped
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled

Season lamb chops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy skillet over high heat. Add lamb and cook until brown, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic and cook until beginning to color, about 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Return lamb to skillet. Cover and simmer until tender, turning occasionally, 30 minutes.

Transfer lamb to plates and keep warm. Boil sauce until thickened, stirring occasionally and adding any juices accumulated on lamb plates, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over lamb chops. Sprinkle with marjoram and serve.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 13, 2006

Parmigiano-Crusted Chicken

Parmigiano-Reggiano interesting facts:
* one of the earliest literary sources to remark on this extraordinary cheese is Boccaccio's Decameron (in the 1300s) - "...and there was a whole mountain of Parmigiano cheese, all finely grated, on top of which stood people who were doing nothing but making macaroni and ravioli"
* Cristoforo di Messisbugo, a chef at the court of Estense di Ferrara and Martino de' Rossi at the house of Francesco Sforza in Milano described a private dinner held on January 17th, 1543 in which the dessert course included as an accompaniment to pears and grapes, apple, peaches, kiwi and figs, "six platesful of Parmigiano cheese," a combination rediscovered by contemporary gourmets as a perfect finale to a grand dinner.
* it takes 600 kg of milk to make one round of cheese and it has been made essentially the same way for over 800 years
* here is what the Accidental Hedonist wrote about parmigiano-reggiano

Parmigiano-Crusted Chicken

from The Cheese Lover's Cookbook and Guide

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
4 ounces parmigiano-reggiano, grated
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 to 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
8 sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish
1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a baking pan large enough to hold the chicken.

Wash chicken and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour on plate or waxed paper. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, parmigiano, thyme, and lemon zest on another plate or waxed paper. Dredge each chicken breast in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dip in the egg, and finally into the bread crumb mixture. Be sure to evenly coat the chicken at each step. Place in the baking pan. Divide the remaining crumbs equally among the breasts, patting them onto the chicken.

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Brush the olive oil onto the bread-crumb crust. Return the chicken to the oven and cook for 15 to 25 minutes or until the breasts are golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes. Garnish with thyme sprigs and lemon slices and serve.

Notes: I halved the recipe. Also, I didn't have fresh thyme on hand so I used some dried thyme and skipped the garnish. And it came out pretty well and definitely featured the cheese as the primary flavor so the finer the cheese is, the better the dish will be. I recommend a quality import.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 7, 2006

Grilled Pork with Pineapple Salsa

Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple Salsa
adapted from Gourmet, May 2006

1/2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
2 boneless center-cut pork chops
5 oz. fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 fresh jalapeno, minced
1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice

Stir together oil, cumin, pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl, then rub all over pork chops, transferring chops as coated to a tray. Stir together pineapple, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and 1/4 tsp salt to taste in another bowl.

Lightly oil grill rack and grill pork chops (covered only if using a gas grill), turning over once, until just cooked through, 6 to 9 minutes total. Transfer to a clean platter and let stand 5 minutes. Serve with pineapple salsa.

Notes: This is a refreshing dish for a hot summer day. The pineapple gives it a fresh bright taste which contrasts nicely with the kick from the pepper. A keeper.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 5, 2006

Spicy Crockpot Hens

Spicy Crockpot Hens

2 Cornish hens
2 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup of butter, melted
3/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp ground thyme
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Thaw hens overnight. Wash hens in warm water. Mix remaining ingredients together in butter. Baste hens with 1/2 of mixture. Fill crockpot with water and stock. Place hens inside crockpot. Spread remaining mixture over hens. Turn on low. Cook for 8 hours or until done. When removing from crockpot, be careful. Hens will be very tender and tend to fall off the bones.

Notes: This is indeed very tender. And nicely spiced. Leftovers make a good sandwich, or so I've been told. I just ate them straight off the carcass myself. Yum.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack