Monday, April 18, 2011

Cauliflower Soup with Frizzled Beets

So I was watching Hoda and Kathy Lee the other morning and saw a segment all about chilled soups. I'll be the first to admit it, soups aren't really my thing. There are really only a few kinds that I like...and none of which are chilled. So I made my own version of Souper Jenny's cauliflower soup with frizzled beets yesterday (and I made my version hot, not chilled)...and it was AMAZING! Click here to follow Jenny's recipe.

I did not have all the ingredients for her I changed a few things around and was still very happy with the end result! This is what I did---

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3/4 of a large red onion, chopped
a few pats of unsalted butter
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of sake (it was all I had left...)
1 cup of low sodium chicken stock
1 cup of water
1 tbsp. potato flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 beets, cut into matchsticks
vegetable oil, for frying beets

To start, place a few pats of butter and a hefty drizzle of olive oil in the bottom of a large pot. Once heated, throw in the diced onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over don't want them to burn. Once the onions are soft, toss in the cauliflower. Next, add in the sake, chicken stock, and water. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, put the soup (carefully) into a blender. Add in the potato flour and blend the soup until it is velvety smooth.

To make the frizzled beets you will need to put some vegetable oil into a pot and when the oil is hot enough toss in the matchstick sliced beets. Leave them in there a few minutes. You want them to have a nice little crunch. Place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Top the soup with a handful of the beets. They add a sweet crunch to the soup. Chris hates beets...but he couldn't get enough of these!!!

Souper Jenny said this soup is a chilled summery soup...but I really prefer to eat it hot.

Pizza Party

There are a million recipes out there for pizza. Want one? Google it. Today we just want to show off pictures of our most recent pizzas we made the other week. Are you drooling yet???

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chicken Breasts with Pan Sauce

I'm constantly learning new techniques for roasting chicken. The goal is to get a crispy skin and juicy, tender flesh. This takes lots of practice and experimenting with oven temperatures, utensils, and little details here and there that seem so insignificant that you would never imagine they make such a huge difference in the end product. Follow these instructions carefully on how to prepare this chicken.

1 skin on, bone in split chicken breast (this is actually 2 breast halves)
1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 heaping tbsp. of dijon mustard
2 shots of brandy
1/4 cup of low sodium chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 sprigs of thyme and rosemary, stems removed, leaves chopped

5 hours before you roast the chicken, rinse under cold water, dry well with paper towels, and liberally season with salt. Put the breasts on a plate (uncovered), and place in the fridge. 1 hour before roasting, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Add black pepper and rub into skin. Place the chicken into an oven proof saute pan or casserole dish. With the point of a sharp knife, prick the skin in several places. Pierce the skin but do not stab the meat. We are creating spots for the fat to drain out of. Place into a 475F oven. You do not need any olive oil or want the meat dry so that the skin will crisp. In exactly 20 minutes lower the temperature to 350F and wait another 10 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven, and cover with tin foil. Put the pan onto a stovetop burner over low heat and saute the onions and garlic, along with the thyme and rosemary, until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and brandy. Careful with the brandy...or you will burn off your eyebrows! Whisk the sauce, scraping the pan to get all the burnt on bits of chickeny goodness. When the sauce starts boiling and has reduced by half, whisk in the butter (a small piece at a time). When the sauce has emulsified you are done. Pour the sauce over the chicken and enjoy!!! We paired our chicken with some oven roasted potatoes and a quick arugula salad.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Turkish Pita Bread

It's 3am, you've been drinking all're in front of Kebab Garden and you don't know how you got there. There is only one thing that can make you feel good right's calling to you. The smell of lamb grease and garlic has drawn you to this mystical spot. You are ready to stuff delicious Turkish food in your face, and it will be delivered by this utensil, Turkish Pita Bread. Don't get me wrong, this bread is perfectly delicious making any other type of sandwich, but it is the most superiour of the "drunk foods". Any kind of kebab stuffed into this bread will be heavenly.

Chris adapted this recipe from one he got out of The Sultan's Kitchen. The main differences are the wetter sponge starter and the period of time spent in the fridge following Peter Reinhardt's pain ancienne method. Here is how Chris made his bread---

1 tbsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water from tap
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp. salt
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk
black caraway seeds (also called nigella or black cumin seeds)

In a bowl combine the yeast, sugar and water and stir very well. Wait 10 minutes. Sift 1 cup of the flour into this liquid. Stir very well. You'll get a soupy batter. Cover the bowl and wait 30 minutes. Now sift the other 3 cups of flour  and salt into this mixture and stir well. Empty out onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth (this should take around 10 minutes). Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise until it is doubled in size (around 1 hour). Put in fridge overnight. 3 hours before you are ready to bake, remove the bowl from the fridge. Give the dough an hour to take the chill out, then remove it from the bowl. Roll it into a cylinder. Cut it into 6 equal size discs. Gently stretch each disc out into a 6-8" flat bread. Try not to squeeze all the air out of it while doing this. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Give them 2 hours to re-inflate. They are now ready for the oven. The oven should be pre-heated to 450F. Take the egg yolk and beat it into the milk. Cover each loaf with the egg glaze (use a brush or your hands). Sprinkle the seeds onto the loaves (they will stick to the glaze). Now place into the oven. They will take around 10-15 minutes.