May 31, 2004

Chicken Saute with Armagnac

Chicken Saute with Armagnac
from James Beard's Theory & Practice of Good Cooking

8 TBSP unsalted butter
4 half chicken breasts, wings attached
salt, freshly ground black pepper
6 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Armagnac

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet and when the foaming stops add the chicken and saute over medium-high heat on both sides until golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste, reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken breasts are just cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a hot flameproof serving platter, or put in the top part of a chafing dish, and pour a little (about 2 TBSP) of the melted butter over it.

Add the shallots to the pan and cook them in the remaining butter until just limp and golden, stirring them so they do not brown. Beat the eggs and cream together lightly in a measuring cup or small bowl and stir into them a couple of tablespoons of the hot pan liquid, which tempers the yolks and prevents them from curdling when added to the pan. Pour the mixture into the pan and stir constantly over low heat until the sauce is well blended and slightly thickened. Do not allow it to get too hot or to boil or the eggs will curdle. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Heat the Armagnac in a small pan, ignite with a match, and pour blazing over the chicken. When the flames die down, spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: This would be the first time that I ever intended to set something in the kitchen on fire. And it went beautifully. Plus, it was lots of fun. Of course, since we were only two for this meal, I made roughly half the amount of sauce and used a single whole chicken breast sans the wings.

I'm curious about whether doing something flambe actually changes the taste of the food. Or is it all just for show? Googling on it came up with some cautionary comments, at least: (1) Never pour from the bottle (the flame can follow the stream of alcohol into the bottle and cause it to explode), and (2) always ignite the fumes and never the liquid (this is why it needs to be heated first). And a search on the eGullet forums suggested that it's largely a fixture of culinary theatrics.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)
May 19, 2004

Tequila-Lime chicken

Grilled Tequila-Lime Chicken
Bon Appetit (August 2002)

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup orange juice
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeno chilies
3/4 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 boneless chicken breast halves

Mix first 8 ingredients in bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat. Cover; chill overnight.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush grill rack with oil. Grill chicken until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 18 minutes. Transfer to platter.

Notes: Simple. Yummy. 'nuff said. Goes nice with a crisp white wine. As always, I used my trusty cast iron grill pan.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:28 PM | Comments (0)
May 16, 2004

Rabbit With Mustard Sauce

Rabbit with Mustard Sauce
Gourmet (April, 1998)

1 medium onion
a 3-pound rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (13 3/4 fluid ounces)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Finely chop onion. Pat rabbit pieces dry and season with salt and pepper. In a deep large heavy skillet heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and brown rabbit pieces on all sides in 2 batches. Transfer rabbit as browned to a large bowl.

In skillet cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced by about half. Return rabbit to skillet and add broth. Simmer rabbit, covered, until tender, about 40 minutes.

Transfer rabbit to cleaned large bowl and boil sauce until reduced to about 2 cups. In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup sauce and mustard and whisk mixture into sauce. In another small bowl stir cornstarch into 1 tablespoon cold water and whisk into sauce. Simmer sauce, whisking, 3 minutes, or until thickened. Whisk in remaining tablespoon butter, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Return rabbit to skillet and cook over moderately low heat, turning rabbit to coat with sauce, until heated through.

Notes: As has become usual lately, I'm behind in posting updates. I actually made this two weeks ago. For reasons unknown to me, my local grocery store has suddenly added rabbit to their meat department. I'd never cooked it before, so I decided to give it a shot. I had only a partial rabbit, so I made about half the amount of sauce as well. I was quite pleased with how it turned out, very savory and extremely tender. This recipe is relatively simple compared to some of the others I'd found, and I think it was a good choice for a first attempt. But I'll likely try something a bit more complex the next time the opportunity presents itself. I may even get my hands on the recipe for the "Rabbit Stifado" at Molyvos, which is a very yummy dish.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:38 PM | Comments (0)
May 15, 2004

Guest Cook...

....or, rather, guest of the cook. Spent the evening of Cinco de Mayo in MA for dinner and conversation at caulay's. He was feeling brave. Braver than he knew. For, he, was the first to ever cook me one of my own original recipes: Lamb Apple Bake. It came out absolutely marvelous. Bravo.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:03 AM | Comments (1)
May 11, 2004

Chicken Gorgonzola

Chicken Gorgonzola
a Jennifer original

1 TBSP vegetable or olive oil
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 shallot, minced
garlic, minced (to taste)
dried basil (to taste)
rosemary (to taste)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup sour cream
4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 TBSP dijon mustard

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add basil and rosemary. Place chicken in pan. Cook covered 7 minutes. Turn chicken, and cook another 7 minutes, covered. Remove chicken and keep warm.

Add chicken stock to same pan along with mushrooms. Deglaze and reduce liquid to 1/4 cup. Add sour cream, gorgonzola, and mustard. Cook until thick and smooth.

Notes: This recipe was actually originally crafted by combining four or five others that I found in various sources some months ago. But I always felt it was missing something. I'd made a note last time I attempted it (which was simply ages ago) to try adding a little dijon or maybe some mushrooms. I did both last week and it came out the best it's ever been. I think I'll keep it.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:16 AM | Comments (6)
May 3, 2004

Happy Anniversary

This weblog is one year old today!

I've been having a ton of fun learning new things and trying to challenge myself in the kitchen over the last year. And I'm certainly a different cook now then when I started. Here's to the next year and more adventures in pursuit of the next great taste experience. Cheers!

Also, a feed has been made available through Live Journal: here.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:50 AM | Comments (2)
May 2, 2004

Boston: China Pearl

Last Sunday (April 25th). I accompanied Michael to a Sleater-Kinney concert at Roxy. Beforehand, we had the opportunity to dine out at China Pearl, mention of which was made on the Chowhounds site. Located in Boston's Chinatown, this place has earned a lasting reputation and received a few awards -- mostly in the area of dim sum (which is a particular favorite of mine).

Because we'd never had it before, and watch far too many Iron Chef episodes (okay, we haven't watched them all yet, so I guess it's not quite "too many"), we felt we just had to try the Shark Fin soup. I'm glad I had the chance, but I'm not quite sure I see what all the fuss was about. The cosistency was a bit odd, and got odder as the soup cooled. I liked how it tasted, but it didn't change my culinary world (like the first time I ever had truffles). We also split an order of Peking Ravioli (better known, perhaps, as pot stickers - pan fried dumplings filled with spiced pork and spinach tastiness).

For my main entree, I had deep fried squab. It tasted vaguely duck-like, but lighter. I was most intrigued by the fact that the presentation included the poor guy's deep fried little head, complete with a tongue sticking out inside the beak. Michael had beef - Hong Kong style. I'm not sure if it had an official title. I tried a piece or two and found the sauce tangy, with a taste that nudged me towards thinking about good barbecue. All in all, a filling and very pleasant meal.

China Pearl touts its great ambiance, and we had an extra treat that night -- entertainment. There was no translator available, so we made our best guess as to why most of the dining room (we sat in a small little side alcove with only a few tables) was filled. Our first thought was a wedding reception, and then a business award dinner. But we finally concluded it must have been some sort of talent contest or variety show as we were treated to various groups performing traditional-seeming singing and dancing. Mostly children. There was even someone dressed up in a Chinese dragon outfit.

I'm not very good about reporting on the restaurant side of my pursuit of the next great taste experience. I have a significant backlog. I think I'm going to have to see what I can do about that.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:24 PM | Comments (1)
May 1, 2004

Steak Marinated in Scotch Whiskey

Steak Marinated in Scotch Whiskey

1/3 c. Scotch whiskey
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. soy sauce
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
4 New York strip sirloin steaks

In a container large enough to hold the steaks, combine all ingredients for marinade. Place steaks in marinade and leave in refrigerator overnight. Remove steaks from marinade and broil as desired.

Note: I didn't use the good Scotch - so, Speyside 10 year, it was. Which worked out fairly smoothly in this. Very nice. Though, I chose to use my favored cast iron grill pan rather than broil - 4 minutes per side, covered, and resting for another 4 minutes for a wonderfully rare steak.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:54 PM | Comments (0)