Advertisements

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Chicken Stew

Tired of boring beef stew? Me too! This chicken stew was great even without the prerequisite dumplings…

  • Chicken Stew
    Ingredients
    5 cups (1.25 L) chicken stock
    4 lb (1.8 kg) skinned chicken thighs
    7 small carrots, peeled (WHY?) and cut in half diagonally
    4 potatoes, peeled and cubed I used yams peeled and cubed
    2 cups (500 mL) peeled pearl onions or 1 chopped white onion
  • 1 red pepper diced
    3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
    3 chopped celery stalks
    2 cups (500 mL) button mushrooms or 1 small can
    1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
    1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
    1/2 cup (125 mL) peas, frozen or 1 small can
  • 1 platano chopped coarsely
    1/4 cup (60 mL) whipping cream I omitted this and used the chopped platano to thicken it. Can you tell I am into platanos?

Preparation
In a large Dutch oven, bring chicken stock to boil. Add chicken; cover and simmer over medium-low heat until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 30 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to plate; let cool. Remove meat from bones; cut into bite-size chunks.Better still start with boneless thighs and save some time.

Add carrots, pepper, celery and potatoes to stock; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add (pearl) onions; simmer, covered, just until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to plate. If necessary, add more chicken stock to make 5 cups (1.25 L). OR just add more water…

In same pan, melt butter over medium-high heat; cook celery, onion and mushrooms, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Truthfully I just threw them into the pot with the stock and veggies. Add flour, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Add carrot mixture, peas and cream* (if using), or the chopped platano stirring to combine.

If you are ambitious make up a batch of dumplings. They really are not necessary…This makes great leftovers!

Advertisements

Slow Cooker Roasted Peppers and Platano

What to take to a potluck that is different and easy to carry…et voila! I love the flavours and colours of this dish. Easily made by a young chef with Mom or Dad’s supervision….

Slow Cooker Roasted Peppers with Platano & Zucchini
4 to 6 peppers – red, orange, green, or yellow or combination – Julienned
½ bottle Lawry’s Lemon Pepper Marinade
1 white onion Quartered
2 small zucchini chopped
1 Mexican Platano (this is not a banana, but a Platano macho which is bigger and firmer) chopped into 1 inch segments
Slice the peppers into julienne strips. Quarter the onion. Chop the zucchini. Place all of the vegetables into a Ziploc bag and pour ½ bottle of marinade over the veggies. Let sit a half hour.
Place all of the vegetables and the marinade into a slow cooker.
Cook on HIGH for about two hours. Stir every half hour. They will be a little crunchy. In the last half hour, add the chopped Platano. If you want them softer cook longer. You may need to reduce the heat to LOW if they are cooking too fast. You want the Platano to remain a little firm…do not overcook it…
I serve them as a side dish.
These are great as leftovers the next day on any meat sandwich!!

Creamed Spinach

A long time ago, we used to go to Detroit for dinner at the famous Joe Muirs Seafood Restaurant. It has moved to a great location in the RenCen overlooking the Detroit River and Windsor, my hometown!

http://gmrencen.com/dine/joemuerseafood.axis

My side dish was always the creamed spinach which went very well with a steak. And…its still on the menu after over 90 years!

Since we had an excess of spinach I decided to use it before it went bad and opted for this recipe from Tyler Florence of Food Network. One thing cooks know is that what seems like a lot of spinach does not make much once it is cooked It says the recipe makes 6 to 8 servings. I  ended up with 4 healthy servings. Then again I love creamed spinach. Its the perfect side dish!

Creamed Spinach (courtesy of Tyler Florence – The Food Network )

Ingredients

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds fresh baby spinach, stemmed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Drizzle with a 2-count of oil, add the butter, and stir it around so it melts. Saute the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach in batches, pushing it down with a wooden spoon to help it wilt. Keep adding more spinach when there is room in the pot. Cook the spinach until it is dry, then lower the heat and add the cream and nutmeg. Stir and cook for 10 minutes. Toss in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/creamed-spinach-recipe2.html?oc=linkback

9000 strong!

Yesterday this blog recorded its 9000th view! Thanks to all of you who keep coming back and spreading the word about Buen Provecho…i am encouraged to keep it going for another year….

Until the next blog…Buen Provecho amigos!

Spice Blends – Homemade

Dont waste money on the exotic spice blends, when you can easily prepare them at home at far less cost. Make only what you need and enjoy the fresh taste, courtesy of Women’s Health Magazine.

Spice Chart

EGGS BENEDICT or EGGS MADELEINE WITH HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

I first had eggs Madeleine in a small restaurant on Hazelton Lane in Toronto back in the early 2000s. Needless to say I fell in love with the smoked salmon version of Benedict. Finally got up my nerve to try it since we always have smoked salmon in the fridge. Thanks to Tyler Florence of Food Network for his version, which I modified to include the salmon!

Hollandaise Sauce (Tyler Florence)

The sauce is the trickiest part. Have all of the sauce ingredients ready, put your muffins in the toaster BUT don’t start them. Have a pan ready to make your poached eggs!

Ingredients

4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice OR sour orange juice if you can get it
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt

Directions

Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.
EGGS BENEDICT/EGGS MADELEINE
4slices Canadian bacon* OR smoked salmon
2English muffins, split
2 teaspoons white vinegar
4eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Hollandaise sauce, recipe above
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

*Brown the bacon in a medium skillet and toast the English muffins, cut sides up, on a baking sheet under the broiler.

Fill a 10-inch nonstick skillet half full of water. Add white vinegar to the cooking water. This will make the egg white cook faster so it does not spread. Bring to a slow boil. Gently break 1 of the eggs into the water taking care not to break it. Repeat with remaining eggs. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook 3 1/2 minutes until the egg white is set and yolk remains soft. Remove with a slotted spoon, allowing the egg to drain.
To assemble: Lay a slice of Canadian bacon OR smoked salmon on top of each muffin half, followed by a poached egg. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon Hollandaise sauce over the eggs. Garnish with chopped parsley. Yield: 4 servings
Great served with fresh cooked asparagus spears!

Spice Up Your Life in 2015

Now if that isn’t misleading, I do not know what is…LOL. With this being the year end, after we put away the holiday stuff it is back to cleaning up the house and getting rid of stuff we no longer need or use.

One of the things we often overlook are our herbs and spices! I have been places where the spices seemed to be quite old (the bottles were the same as in my mothers kitchen) or placed conveniently close to the stove or beside the dishwasher or oven. Yes they might be convenient, but moisture and heat are the enemy of spices and herbs.

What follows is some good information about caring for these very important enhancements to our cooking.

What is the Shelf Life of Spices and Herbs?

Dried herbs and spices add a lot of flavor to our dishes and they are easily available and convenient to use. When we blend a combination of spices and herbs we end up with a whole variety of wonderful and unusual tastes. Preserving the quality, freshness and flavor of your seasonings will give you great tasting dishes and really will spice up your palette.

Spices do not spoil but they do lose their strength. Stored in airtight containers in cool dry places, spices retain their potency longer than you might have been led to believe. Whole peppercorns, nutmegs and cinnamon sticks tend to hold on to their flavor for a long time. And potent whole spices, such as cloves, cumin, and cardamom will also last for a long time.

Proper Storage
The greatest importance in getting the best taste and value out of your herbs and spices is to store them well. Store them in tightly sealed containers in a cool dark place. Keeping containers tightly closed will protect them from moisture and oxidation, and they retain more of their essential oil content when stored in glass jars or metal tins. Keeping them away from direct light will keep color from fading.

Never store them above your stove or near other heat sources as heat will degrade the quality. Also keep them away from the heat of the stove and the humidity of the dishwasher. If you have ever heard it is good to freeze spices and herbs forget it! Condensation will be a problem each time the bottle comes out of the freezer and is likely to introduce moisture to the spices. And don’t shake herbs or spices out of the bottle directly into something you’re cooking as that will introduce moisture to your spices.

Red spices like chili powder, cayenne pepper and paprika can be refrigerated to prevent loss of color and flavor. Spices such as turmeric, curry powders, ground cloves and paprika should be stored in glass or metal containers as their flavors will lessen if left in original packaging. The best temperature for herbs and spices is below 70º F.

Whole spices keep the longest because they have not been cracked or ground which would expose their flavors to air. Ground spices have a shorter shelf life. To determine whether or not ground spices are still viable gently shake the container with the cap on. Remove the cap after a moment and smell the container to see if the rich smell of the spice is still present.

So Many Different Recommendations – Which is Correct?
The government recommendations for freshness dating is four years for whole spices and two years for ground and you may hear people say that spices should be replaced every six months. But most spices are only harvested once a year, so it certainly doesn’t make sense to replace these every six months.

If spices and herbs are kept as we have discussed the shelf life will be as follows:

• Whole spices and herbs leaves and flowers will keep 1 – 2 years.
• Seeds will keep 2 – 3 years and roots will keep 3 years.
• Ground spices and herb leaves keep 1 year.
• Ground roots will keep for 2 years.

A good practice to follow is to purchase high quality dried herbs and spices in small quantities so that you can easily use them up in reasonable period of time.