Sunday, September 27, 2009

Roast Cornish Hens with Panzanella Stuffing

I simply couldn't help myself. At the elementary school book fair, they had some cookbooks for sale for the adults. Most of them were books I wouldn't be interested in having in my kitchen, mere advertisements for brand names and perhaps a [lame] food network star or two.

And then. This book caught my eye. Food & Wine's Quick from Scratch Chicken. It's paperback, while I prefer hardcover, but it benefits the elementary school, right? I just happened to have bought a few Cornish hens for my parents' visit, and what do you know--this book had half a dozen recipes for Cornish hens. Sold.

I decided on this recipe for our hens, because we had all the ingredients. All of the recipes sound great, and fairly quick. This one takes about an hour, so it doesn't qualify as a weeknight or fast recipe in my book, but that's still pretty good for a total time.

Through the first step, though, I can tell you that this recipe is already taking longer than it should. I am glad I started it before 4:00. The "6 minutes" of toasting bread cubes has extended into 18+ and those things aren't even close to golden brown, and my oven is brand new. Oh well.

We cooked 6 Cornish hens, so I doubled the recipe. This would be a nice, easy recipe for a simple holiday meal. Just be sure to allow some extra time. It's very easy to assemble, but I do feel like the times are just a bit off in the recipe. I had to cook our Cornish hens at least 10 minutes longer, but it was worth it!

The Cornish hens were so flavorful and juicy. Although the recipe says to halve the hens, we had bought and cooked 6 hens for 6 people, so everyone got their own. H-Bomb and Sawed Off were so excited to have their own "baby chicken!" The stuffing is aromatic and delicious. A wonderful meal.

the meal

the stuffing

plated, with salad

Roast Cornish Hens with Panzanella Stuffing

Italian bread salad is the inspiration for this simple stuffing that bakes in a dish alongside the hens until crisp and golden brown. Prep time 6 minutes Cook time 40 minutes Rest time 10 minutes Serves 4

1 1/2-pound loaf sourdough or firm country bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)--(I used Artisan bread)
2 Cornish hens
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups drained diced canned tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled, or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1. Set the oven at 425 degrees F. Put the bread cubes in the oven while it heats and toast them until golden brown, about 6 minutes. (or just wing it and toast the darn things however you need to)

2. Twist the wings of the Cornish hens behind their backs and tie the legs together. Put the hens, breast-side up, in a roasting pan. Coat the hens with 1 tablespoon of the oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Dot with butter. Roast the hens until just done, about 40 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, oil a deep 1-quart baking dish. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the garlic, parsley, rosemary, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the toasted bread cubes and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and stir well to combine. Put the stuffing in the prepared baking dish and cover with a lid or with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cover; bake until the stuffing is crisp and golden brown, about 12 minutes longer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Taste & Create XXIII: Garlic Naan

Originally for Taste & Create this month, I was simply going to make my partner Pari's Chana Masala.

Then I was thinking about how much we love The Bombay House when we go visit Grandpa & Mary, and how we always, always order Naan, specifically Garlic Naan, so I searched Pari's blog at Foodelicious. And of course I found a recipe for Garlic Naan. Pari uses part wheat flour to make the naan healthier and to help keep it soft after cooking so it doesn't get so chewy.

I had two hours before our masala dinner, just enough time to whip out a batch of this delicious Naan. I topped mine with some chopped flat-leaf parsley in addition to butter and extra garlic.

The Naan was just about perfect, although we didn't really try for the "pear shape" breads. It was nice to introduce my parents to something they'd never had before, and especially nice since they liked it so much.

Try some today!

Garlic Naan

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
8-10 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
salt to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk
2-3 tbsp yogurt
2 tbsp oil
3-4 tbsp butter

Mix the flour along with the baking powder, soda and salt. Add the garlic (leave 2 teaspoons to apply on top), yogurt and sugar to the flour. Add the warm milk and knead a soft dough (if required use lukewarm water). Apply oil and cover it with a wet cloth and leave the dough to rise for an hour or more (till it becomes double).

Punch the dough and divide it into 12-16 equal parts. Make balls and leave it to rise again for an hour.

Melt butter. Take each ball and flatten it on the palms and apply butter and then dust it with flour and then make balls again and leave them for 15 minutes.

Press a few pieces of crushed garlic on the ball and then roll the balls into 6-7 inch circles of 1/2 inch thickness. Pull it from one side to give it a pear shape.

Heat a griddle. Apply water to the top of the rolled Naan and put this side on the griddle. Apply water on the other side also and then flip the Naan to roast it from the other side. Ensure that the griddle is not too hot. Brush on some melted butter (or spread some butter), sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.

The other way to cook the Naan is to bake it in a preheated oven at 250 C for 6-7 mins.

Pari says: Of the two methods (Griddle and Oven) I personally like the Naan made on griddle. The Naan on griddle cooks fast and has a better texture and gives you the flavor of Naan made in the tandoor.

Taste & Create XXIII: Chana Masala

If you don't know what Taste & Create is all about, please just go here and follow the directions to sign up! It is so much fun to be paired with random partners from around the world, and prepare new dishes from the fabulous assortment of food blogs!

This month, my partner for Taste & Create was Pari of Foodelicious. Pari lives in India, which means I got to go on a culinary adventure finding out about new spices (and where to buy them online!) I found out that "degi mirch" is similar to (or a type of?) paprika, and that "lal mirch" is red chile powder. I was just going to substitute those ingredients, but then I got to "amchoor powder," which is dried mango powder. ( It's sort of like my very first Taste & Create experience, where there is simply no substitute for Loomi, or dried black limes).

So I decided to track down an Indian food store.

Luckily, I found everything I needed (and more) at, a distribution center in Wisconsin which claims to be "America's largest online Indian grocer." (and it didn't take nearly as long as finding the loomi!) Not only do they have Amchur powder and even dried chickpeas (Kabuli chana), they also have Degi mirch, Lal mirch, and yummy treats like Tamarind paste and
Sugar coated Fennel seeds!

My package from arrived last week, and I inhaled the luscious smells from the box! My dad, browsing in the pantry, got into the Fennel seeds, and also sampled some Jaggery (yum!)

On the day of the Masala, I decided first to make some Garlic Naan. The Masala is so easy to put together that I forgot about the second rising of the Naan, and so we had to wait an extra hour for dinner~oops!

When our beautiful dinner was all cooked, and smelling wonderful, Number One and I were finishing up making the Naan while H-Bomb and Sawed Off started eating (everyone was so hungry!)

H-Bomb and Sawed Off promptly declared that it was too spicy, and only ate Naan and rice.

And, ahem, I must agree. Wow!! Spicy!!! My parents and I had to stir in yogurt to cut down the heat, although Number One said the spiciness was about equal to the "medium" sauces at our favorite Indian restaurant. I would like to try this again, hopefully with a milder result! (and maybe with some chicken or lamb)

But everyone did like it (except for the boys) and had more than one helping.

Chana Masala (Chickpea Masala)

350 gms dry Chick Peas (I used two 15.5-ounce cans of chickpeas)

To grind together: (I used a food processor)

4 onions largely chopped

5-6 large garlic cloves

2 inch piece ginger

3 tomatoes chopped roughly

The dry spices:

2 bay leaves

4 whole green cardamom

4-5 tablespoons coriander powder (I used 4)

2 tablespoons cumin powder

1 tablespoon degi mirch (paprika)

1 tablespoon lal mirch (red chili powder)

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 1/2 tablespoon amchoor powder (dry mango powder)

3/4 teaspoon garam masala

2 teaspoons kosher salt

a generous pinch of Nutmeg

and also…

1/4 tsp baking soda

salt to taste

a mixture of ghee (clarified butter) and oil for cooking

If using dried chickpeas: Soak the chick peas overnight / 8 hrs. Mix in 1/4 tsp baking soda. This helps the chick peas to become soft. Pressure cook for 5 whistles and then reduce the flame and cook for another 10-15 mins.

If using canned or cooked chickpeas, just start here:

Heat clarified butter (ghee) and oil in the ratio of 3:1. Throw in the bay leaves and cardamom.

Add the onion-tomato mince and sauté until the oil separates. Add all spices and salt except the nutmeg.

Add the boiled chick peas/Chana and add water to adjust a gravy like consistency. Bring the curry to a boil and then simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Just before removing from heat, add the nutmeg and mix.

Garnish with ginger juliennes and cilantro.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms

I've been wanting to make this recipe all week to use up the last of our mushrooms. Tonight, we finally had time, were home in time to cook, and Number One cooked it up for us. I made mashed potatoes to go with it, delicious with the chicken-mushroom "juice."

It's another recipe from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast. It's turning out to be a great little cookbook, especially for rushed weeknights.

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms
Serves 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)~we used chicken thighs
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/2 inch thick (we used baby bellas)
4 garlic clovers, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional, we didn't have a bottle opened so we left it out)
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (we used one whole can)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

1. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken; cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the hot skillet. Add the mushrooms, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover; cook over medium heat until the mushrooms release their juices, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid. Cook over high heat, tossing occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Pour the wine, if using, into the skillet; cook, stirring, until evaporated, 1 minute. Add the stock and parsley; cook over medium-high heat until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has reduced, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Return the chicken to the skillet. Cover; simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the chicken topped with the mushrooms and a drizzle of cooking liquid. Garnish with additional fresh parsley.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mushroom Ragout with Pasta

Another night, another 5:00 scramble for dinner. We're so busy trying to finish up the last touches on our house addition that sometimes dinner time just sneaks up on us. For the second night in a row, I turned to Everyday Food: Great Food Fast for a quick, delicious recipe. (it even has a Make Ahead option, see below!)

We had a bunch of mushrooms that needed to be used up, and a search for "mushrooms" in the index yielded this simple recipe. It even has bacon in it! Perfect.

Number One helped me by cooking the bacon and the pasta while I chopped mushrooms and picked parsley and rounded up the other ingredients from our newly-built and newly-organized pantry!

Simple yet satisfying, this mushroom bacon sauce is excellent without being overpowering. The flavors are just right, even the boys loved it. As H-Bomb said, "Mushrooms and bacon! Yum!"

We even had leftovers for tomorrow. Here you go.

Mushroom Ragout, before Pasta

Mushroom Ragout with Pasta
Serves 6 Prep time: 30 minutes Total time: 1 hour

4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (we used 1/2 pound of bacon)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 packages (10 ounces each) cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 packages (10 ounces each) white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
(we used about 12 ounces of creminis and a package of oyster mushrooms)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 pound spaghetti
Shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

1. In a large 5-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid (that will be used later), cook the bacon over medium heat, uncovered, stirring until crispy, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain. Set aside.

2. Add the onion to the saucepan; stir until golden, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms; cover. Cook until the juices have evaporated, about 20 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomato paste, thyme and 2 cup water until combined; cover. Cook until the sauce has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the parsley and vinegar. Add the bacon, reserving some for garnish, if desired.

4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions. Drain and return to the pot.

5. To serve, toss the pasta with the ragout. Garnish with the reserved bacon and shaved Parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.

*The sauce for this dish can be made a day or two ahead (keep the bacon separate) and refrigerated. Gently reheat as the pasta boils; add the bacon to the sauce during the last few minutes of heating.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tandoori Chicken with Yogurt Sauce

Even though it's Friday, and we got home at 2:15 instead of 4:15pm, I'm tired. I really didn't want to spend much time on dinner. I pulled out my Everyday Food: Great Food Fast cookbook, and flipped through the index. Tandoori Chicken caught my eye, and we happened to have all the important ingredients!

I really thought I had grown cilantro this year, but I didn't see it when I ran out to the garden, so I grabbed some flat-leaf parsley for the yogurt sauce. I also decided to pick some mint to add to the sauce.

This chicken is fast and delicious! I forgot to charge my camera battery, so you'll just have to imagine a succulent piece of roasted chicken, tinged yellow from the turmeric, complemented by a white apple yogurt sauce speckled with fresh, green herbs...

Even the boys are loving this chicken, although H-Bomb initially said "it's too spicy" but then sat down and ate it ALL. Sawed Off had no complaints at all.

The book says: "Grated apples are an unusual but welcome addition to yogurt sauce. Ours is a variation on raita, the traditional accompaniment to many Indian dishes; its cooling effect counterbalances the spiciness of the meat."

Tandoori Chicken with Yogurt Sauce

Serves 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 bone-in, skinless chicken breast halves (10 to 12 ounces each)*
2 Granny Smith apples (I used 2 Jonathans)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (I used about 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and about 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint)

*I used bone-in chicken thighs (with skin) because they were on sale today at the grocery store--$0.66 per pound! I bought 12 packages (the limit, and I'll buy 12 more on Monday if they've got them!)

1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of the yogurt,the garlic, turmeric, ginger, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken; turn to coat.

2. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast (avoiding the bone) registers 160 degrees F, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, peel the apple; coarsely grate into a medium bowl. Add the cilantro and the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt; season with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce alongside the chicken, with rice, if desired.

Taste & Create XXIII Partner List

Here is the Taste & Create partner list! Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by September 24th. If you have any questions or problems, please feel free to email me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you'd like to enter next month's Taste & Create, the fabulous event which pairs food bloggers randomly and tasks them with preparing one of their partner's recipes,
please visit the how it works page for an email address to sign up. (you'll either email Nicole or me) And don't forget to tell your friends how fun this event is!

Good luck, I can't wait to see your creations!

What's For Supper & My Kitchen Treasures

Seduce Your Tastebuds & JAYASPACE

Culinary Delights & Sweet and Savory Says It All

Columbus Foodie & Shortcut to Mushrooms

La Recette du Jour & No Reason Needed

Parita's World & Tasty Treats

Foodelicious & The Bad Girl's Kitchen

Res-o-puh-leese & Mixcalculations

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sauteed Chicken with Asparagus & Mushrooms

It's an Everyday Food kind of week....that's where I got this recipe too! A bunch of winners so far. If you are looking for a variety of quickly prepared meals that use real food and don't sacrifice flavor, you might want to get yourself a subscription to this little magazine.

Tonight, we served this chicken with miscellaneous pasta (used up a couple half packages). H-Bomb had three helpings!!! (and we thought we would have a ton of leftovers!) He loved the asparagus the best.

Sauteed Chicken with Asparagus & Mushrooms
Serves 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6), cut into 2-inch pieces
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 pounds asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 2-inch lengths
cooked noodles or rice (optional)

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in two batches, turning occasionally, until browned and opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a plate.

To skillet, add mushrooms, asparagus, and 1/4 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing once and scraping up browned bits, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chicken; cook, tossing, until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Serve on top of noodles or rice, if desired.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Parsley and Breadcrumbs

Here's another one from Everyday Food magazine. They are my heroes for quick and tasty recipes from scratch. This one seemed to take a bit longer, but H-Bomb was napping and it threw off my "Dinner @ 5:ish" schedule. There were lots of little prep things to do also. So I really can't give an opinion regarding their total time estimation.

The cauliflower and garlic smell amazing in the oven (mostly the garlic). I used a few slices of Artisan Bread to make the breadcrumbs because we really don't buy sandwich bread any more! (did you read that Becky? Yahoo!) I also used a LOT more Parmesan, as always.

I didn't use a big enough pan for the pasta, not realizing that there would be mixing of everything else in the pan later, so I had to grab a large bowl for mixing. I tell you what, I will be happy when everything I need is in my kitchen, in its place!

The pasta is delicious, if difficult to photograph, of course it doesn't help when two young boys are having screaming meltdowns for various reasons...better luck to you in your kitchen! This would be delicious with a glass of red, and even though Number One isn't back from the fields yet, I just might have a glass by myself!

Oh and yes, the cauliflower is surprisingly nutty! (see below)

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Parsley and Breadcrumbs
Serves 4 Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 30 minutes
Cauliflower tastes surprisingly nutty and sweet when roasted--break it up into small florets to help it cook quickly.

coarse salt and ground pepper
1 head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds) cored and broken into small florets
1 medium red onion, halved and cut into thin wedges
5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup olive oil
4 slices white sandwich bread
12 ounces cavatappi or other short pasta (we used penne)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower, onion, and garlic with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast on lower rack until lightly browned and tender, 20 minutes, tossing once. I probably will roasted mine a bit longer next time.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine bread and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on upper rack until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes, tossing once.

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot. Add cauliflower mixture, Parmesan, and parsley; toss to combine. Tossing pasta, gradually add enough pasta water to form a thin sauce that coats pasta. Serve topped with breadcrumbs and, if desired, more Parmesan.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cuban Black Bean Stew with Rice

I was looking through a few Everyday Food magazines today while I waited for H-Bomb to get out of 1st grade (after visiting a few local businesses for the PTA this morning and a fun lunch with friends). I wanted a recipe that was fast and for which I had all the ingredients. It's hard when we don't get home until 4:00 and try to have dinner on by 5:ish.

So this recipe was the winner today. It truly took only 30 minutes, and it was delicious to boot! You really can't beat that. I even used a yellow bell pepper from our garden in the stew! We served ours with rice and lime wedges, and the magazine suggests chips or tortillas as an alternative. Number One and I think this would be delicious for breakfast, topped with a fried egg and some salsa!

Cuban Black Bean Stew with Rice
Serves 4 Prep time: 20 minutes Total time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed, chopped)
2 cans (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 ounces) vegetable broth (all I had was beef broth; I'm sure any kind of broth would work just fine)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
coarse salt and ground pepper
garnishes (optional): lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and sliced radishes

Prepare 4 servings of your favorite rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add beans, broth, vinegar, and oregano. Cook, mashing some beans with the back of a spoon, until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Fluff rice with a fork. Serve beans over rice, with garnishes if desired.
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