Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mom's Orange (Lemon) Thyme Chicken and Rice

Time: 45 min.
Serves: 2-6 (depending on how much rice you make and how big the people are who eat it)

Chicken: 1 to 1.5 lb boneless or 2-3 lb w/ bones
Flour for dredging chicken: 3-4 Tbs for boneless or more for boned
1 medium onion, diced
5 long sprigs of lemon thyme. Pull off all the leaves to get about 1 Tbs of fresh thyme (use 1 to 2 tsp if it's dried). Set aside 1/2 tsp of it (1/4 tsp if dried) for the rice.
1 c. rice for every two hungry adults you want to serve
1 tsp of orange peel zest (optional)
1 cup of milk (optional)

Start the rice cooking. Use a 2 to 1 ratio of water to rice BUT substitute 2-3 Tbs of orange juice concentrate for 2-3 Tbs of the water. Mix in the reserved 1/2 tsp of thyme leaves.

Sautee the diced onion in about 1 Tbs. of butter or oil.

Dredge chicken in flour mixture (consisting of the flour, the majority of the thyme and the optional orange zest). If you want it to stick well, dip the chicken in milk first.

Add the dredged chicken to the sauteed onions and brown the chicken on all sides (but don't cook it all the way through). Add about 4-6 oz. of concentrated orange juice (from a can of frozen juice) and a cup or two of water (depending on how much gravy you want at the end). Simmer chicken until it's tender and cooked through (about 20 min. for boneless, 5 minutes longer for boned). Put a lid on it if you want more gravy when you're done.

You can make this recipe substituting concentrated lemonade and lemon rind if you prefer, and it will come out much more sour and bitter. But you may like it!

Monday, September 8, 2008

No Knead Bread

Karen and I attended a class on making bread and rolls at our RS SuperSaturday.
We got to sample this bread: nice and chewy with a tough crust, spongy texture and a slightly sour taste. It would be wonderful toasted and dipped in flavored oil. Use it as the basis of your own artisan bread.

Please note that you have to start the yeast sponge about 18 to 24 hours before you want to eat the bread.

No Knead Bread

Makes one 1 1/2-pound loaf

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for work surface

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Olive oil, as needed

Cornmeal or wheat bran, as needed (optional)

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Coat a second large bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough to oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, but preferably up to 18, in a room about 70° in temperature. When surface is dotted with bubbles, dough is ready.

2. Lightly flour work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Sprinkle just enough flour over work surface and your fingers to keep dough from sticking; quickly and gently shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton, non-terry cloth towel with flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran; place dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran. Cover with a second cotton, non-terry cloth towel and let rise until it has more than doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

4. After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 500°. Place a 6 to 8-quart heavy covered pot, such as cast iron or Pyrex (a dutch oven is great), in oven as it heats. When dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove top towel from dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel; turn dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover, and bake 20 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking until browned, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. (My oven bakes this at 475 degrees.)

Note: Recipe courtesy of Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, and New York Times

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Breakfast Omelet

6 eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
some other spice
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
1/2 cup milk
sliced Swiss cheese
sliced Cheddar cheese

Mix ingredients (except cheese) and beat with a wire whip until fluffy. Pour into pan and heat on medium low until nearly cooked. Don't stir in the pan. Top with the cheese, wait for it to melt, and it's done.
Serve with vegetables on the side.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Zucchini "Pasta"

If you miss pasta, because you don’t eat wheat or you’re on a low-carbohydrate diet, this dish makes a nice stand-in for fettuccine. Be careful not to overcook — it will be al dente with a few minutes of cooking, after which it will quickly fall apart. When made just right, it’s silky and wonderful. You can serve as is, or toss it with a fresh tomato sauce. Use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to make the thin zucchini strips.

2 pounds zucchini (or a combination of yellow and green zucchini)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup fresh tomato sauce (optional)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving (more to taste)

1. Using a vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini into lengthwise ribbons. Peel off several from one side, then turn the zucchini and peel off more. Continue to turn and peel away ribbons until you get to the seeds at the core of the zucchini. Discard the core. You can also do this on a mandolin, adjusted to a very thin slice.

2. Cook the zucchini strips in two batches. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the zucchini ribbons and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, tossing and stirring the zucchini, for two to three minutes, until softened and beginning to turn translucent. Adjust salt and add freshly ground pepper to taste, and transfer to a serving dish. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and zucchini. Serve, topping with tomato sauce and freshly grated Parmesan if desired.

Yield: Serves four

Advance preparation: This dish is best served right away. But you can enjoy leftovers, which I like to eat cold, doused with lemon juice and a drop of olive oil.

from NYTimes

Easy Oreo Truffles

These are so yummy. A lady at work made them last Christmas and I devoured most of them. She had a great idea and made them with mint Oreos too. I can't wait till Christmas!

Prep Time:

30 min
Total Time:
1 hr 30 min

3-1/2 doz. or 42 servings, one truffle each
1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) OREO Cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 pkg. (8 squares each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

MIX 3 cups of the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls.

DIP balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover melted chocolate can be stored in tightly covered container at room temperature and saved for another use.) Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

from Kraft

Chicken Parmesan Bundles

Prep Time:
35 min

Total Time:
1 hr 5 min

6 servings

4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1-1/4 cups KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
6 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 egg
10 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 cups spaghetti sauce, heated

PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 3 Tbsp. of the Parmesan cheese until well blended; spread evenly onto chicken breasts. Starting at one of the short ends of each breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure with wooden toothpicks, if desired. Set aside.

BEAT egg in shallow bowl or pie plate. Mix remaining 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese and the cracker crumbs in separate shallow bowl or pie plate. Dip chicken bundles in egg, then roll in crumb mixture. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF). Remove and discard toothpicks, if using. Serve topped with the spaghetti sauce and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Heather's tips: let the chicken thaw in the fridge or on the counter if you're using frozen breasts. I found they pound out nicer than if you defrost them in the microwave. I usually need more crackers than they suggest. I've never had them be done at 30 min either, so be prepared to wait a bit longer unless your oven runs a lot hotter than mine does.

from Kraft