Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lemony 'Shroomy Chicken Risotto

Lemon Chicken Risotto, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
Note to Self: give the red gratin bowls a rest. Even though this looks like everything else I make, It's quite remarkable. It's delish! No surprises there but it's the first time I've ever made a risotto.
I've found yet another awesome thing to do with my roasted chicken.
Again I've concocted a crazy hybrid two recipes. First up was a Lemon Chicken Risotto recipe I got from Tamasin Day-Lewis's Supper for a Song...yes, sister of one of my favorite actors (thumpita, thumpita). I love her cookbook even though it's a little anglo centric, but at least she uses american measurement here. I've been wanting to make this for weeks so finally decide to do it and set up my little netbook where I'd transcribed the recipe, problem was it was incomplete. When the hell do you add the chicken and the heavy cream! WTF? Thank GOD (yeah I said it) for Americas Test Kitchen.
So happens that just last night I picked up a copy of The Best of Americas Test Kitchen, well, lugged it all the way home from the library last night. In the rain, but that's okay! I LOVE Americas Test Kitchen. I'd carry that behemoth anywhere. The have a Mushroom Risotto recipe that looked super good. So I gave up the sauteed mushrooms I was saving for the Chicken Pot Pie encore and set to work jumping back and forth between the two recipes.
I started with some clarified butter in the dutch oven alternative to the olive oil TD-L calls for and the butter ATK calls for.  Dice up a half a white onion that's been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days, saute that up in the butter a bit  before adding 1 1/2 cups of arborio rice, stir that around a bit just to coat . Then I toss in the leftover sauteed mushrooms, some sea salt, fresh ground pepper and 4 cups of umnn chicken broth (water with of chicken flavored seasoning...yes. Just some of those little green packets of powder. It's fine) oh!I JUST this moment remembered that I forgot to put some garlic in there but ya know, it didn't matter one bit.
So where was I? I made a little bouquet garni with fresh rosemary, thyme and sage (tie a few stems of each with some kitchen twine and toss in the pot-it leaves all the flavor and no stems to stick in your teeth when you pull the bundle out).
Then I let it simmer until it was almost done (after about 15 minutes) then added some lemon zest and about a cup of diced chicken. Let it cook for about 5 more minutes and DONE.
What's nice about risotto is that it's SUPPOSED to have that creamy texture. Man! this will be soooooo good with a poached egg on top in the morning.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Poached & Parm on a Pot Pie

Breakfast, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
I continually find myself amazed by my new found love of the poached egg not only for its oozing goodness but for its ability to make anything into breakfast. My omelet days are over, at least for now and I don't feel any sense of loss at all.
Chicken Pot Pie? I finished it off last night after having it for breakfast, lunch AND dinner...and as I write this I am hungry for more. Chicken Pot Pie is the best comfort food EVER and now that the basics of roasting a chicken down this will be high on my list of awesome eats. I can't even remember the last time I had a chicken pot pie. Seriously I think it was a Swansons frozen eaten on a TV tray while watching Mutual of Omahas Wild Kingdom. That long ago. As an adult? Chicken Pot Pies were a mystery.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie!

Chicken Pot Pie!, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
Another little kitchen triumph! A couple of weeks ago, the Sunday food section of the San Francisco Chronicle presented Pot Pies with Panache. All the recipes looked delicious, even the seafood one with it's flaky layers of crust. The Roasted Vegetable Pot Pie had an herb biscuit crust, what looked to be a blob of biscuit on top a bowl of roasted vegetables. That's where I started.
Then I consulted my Smitten Kitchen and essential went about concocting my own hybrid of the two.
So...I've got all these chicken pieces left over. Thighs and wings and such. I scrape off all the meat and set it aside. Bones and carcass go into a plastic freezer bag and into the freezer.
I roast some carrots and potatoes...diced up and tossed around in some olive oil with fresh thyme, sage & parsley, salt & pepper and 3 cloves of garlic...into the oven. While that's in the oven I take some frozen corn outta the freezer, rinse it in warm water then dry if off with a clean kitchen towel, then toss the corn into a dry non-stick pan. Toast that up then saute a whole diced white onion.  I still had a lot of sauteed mushrooms left from the night before so I cut those up into smaller chunks and throw them into the skillet. then in goes the diced chicken. Now maybe this is weird, because I'd used red wine and beef stock in preparing the 'shrooms the night before, I added the remains of the carton of beef stock and more red wine. Yeah I know....I'm thinking to myself "you're adding chicken to beef stock and red wine! That's just wrong. Isn't it". Well perhaps, but dammnnnnnnnnnn!.....this turned out good. And there really are no rules when it comes to leftovers.  After I added the stock, red wine, the roasted veg, the mushroom stuff, I had a pretty good thing happening I added a butter flour paste ummn roux, to thicken it and some heavy cream. I divided the filling into two casserole dishes. Mixed up the biscuit dough and used my scoop to drop biscuit on top and popped them in a 400 degree oven until the biscuits were browning and the filling started to bubble out, about 20-30 minutes.
This turned out fantastic. The only thing was the biscuit in the center wasn't completely cooked so I put it back in for another 10 minutes.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chicken Salad Sandwich, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.

This is the first incarnation of my roasted birdie. Needing a train snack and having a fresh baguette on hand, I tossed the shredded pieces of white meat in dijon, salt, pepper, fresh thyme and a splash of champagne vinegar. I spread a hunk of Laughing Cow Herb Cheese all over zee baguette and loaded it full of zee Poulet Dijon and a couple of hours later whilst on the Caltrain, I enjoyed a sandwich far superior to anything I've ever bought at Safeway.

My First Roasted Chicken!

My First Roasted Chicken!, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
The idea or impulse to buy a whole chicken and figure out what to do with it (even with detailed photographed instructions) has never ever occurred to me as necessary in my entire life. I cook for one. I rarely entertain and when I do I prefer fancier pizza.
Suddenly, thanks to Americas Test Kitchen, I started thinking about it a lot. Last week I broke down and bought the essential tools: roasting rack, meat thermometer and a big plastic container for brining.
Two days ago I did the deed and bought a scrawny looking bird at Whole Foods. ATK had tested the supermarket brands like Foster Farms and Perdue as inferior of course they're the ones that look all plump and pretty in their shrink wrapped packaging.
This little birdie weighed in at just under three pounds and cost about $8.
I got it home and brined it for a couple of hours, washed it, located and cut out the wishbone (after reading detailed instructions to do that in both my ATK printout AND a Thomas Keller recipe from an Alice Waters book) stuffed some lemons, thyme, sage and garlic inside after I'd sprinkled some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper inside. I then trussed the bird up (again detailed instructions from ATK and TK). Then I slid little pieces of butter under the skin, brushed melted butter over the entire bird, sprinked with salt and pepper and onto the roasting rack wing side up, into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, rotating two more times (other wing side up, then breast side up) for 20 minutes each. Birdie hit the 160 (breast) and 170 (thigh) degrees after exactly one hour.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crusty and Creamy White Beans

Crust & Creamy White Beans, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
oooh! From Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson, the genius behind 101cookbooks. I had a bunch of white beans and earmarked this recipe weeks ago. The cooked beans are sauteed in clarified butter.
I've learned that clarifying butter (cooking it to the foaming point, skimming off the foam, then pouring off the clear butter from the milk fat solids) gives you cooking butter that heats to a higher temperture and doesn't burn. It's the consistency of oil. It seemed a bit wasteful at first but it's cheap Smart and Final butter and a new technique learned. Heidi's recipes call for clarified butter frequently so this will get used.
I cooked the beans in the slow cooker (with chicken flavored broth & fresh herbs) and they were a bit mushy when I got back to them but the dish ended up tasting lovely. Her recipe calls for chard but I just used up the rest of my spinach. Good Eats today. I've missed my kitchen.
I also did a little shopping with the next project in mind: Roast Chicken. America's Test Kitchen's got me on a tear. I bought a 6 Quart cambro type plastic container so I can brine it.
The idea is to make Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Stock.

Pina Colada Cake

Pina Colada Cake, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
This is Smitten Kitchens recent post. Oddly, though not a fan of the Pina Colada, I could not get to the market fast enough to purchase the coconut cream and pineapple, once I'd read that post. A friend had given me a little rum and I had this baking whilst gobbling down the Polenta and Mushrooms I'd cooked up for breakfast.
It's a little under baked but it's really good. I'm definitely going to make this again soon unless I can find another use for the coconut milk, pineapple and rum....oh wait! Is there something weird about making Pina Coladas in the rain?

Grilled Polenta & Sauteed Mushrooms

I've been away from my Little Kitchen way too long! I woke up to a day off with nothing to do (well... I did have stuff to do but my procrastination demon decided to control the day) and a lot of rain. What to do on a rainy day? Noodle around the kitchen of course!
I've been into the polenta lately. This recent batch I started in the kitchen annex at my house-sit. I cooled it in an 8x8 pan and sliced off bits for breakfast for a few consecutive morning. I absolutely love it porridge style (I reheat it in a the microwave adding a little water then mash it up with some butter), with a poached egg on top and some grated parmesean. I could eat it this way for every meal! My new comfort food and it couldn't be more simple.
This morning I was down to the last square and decided to try out the grill pan with a brush of melted butter. It wasn't until it was on the pan that I had the brilliant idea to saute up some 'shrooms. I just used regular white button mushrooms, sauteed with some shallots, garlic, salt, pepper and fresh thyme, cooked that around a bit until the 'shrooms were nice and brown and there was a nice fond sticking to the pan then I added some beef stock and finished it with a little heavy cream.
My two new favorite things-Polenta and Mushrooms.