A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

Month: January 2016

Non Toxic Shake and Bake Chicken

Non Toxic Shake and Bake Chicken

I don’t know how we started calling this non toxic shake and bake. It is courtesy of my very good friend Beth Eisenberg, so shout out to Beth! It can be used as a crunchy coating for chicken, pork, or fish. The other night I […]

Cinnamon Spiced Apples

Cinnamon Spiced Apples

I have seen these called stewed apples, or fried apples, or just spiced apples. It’s a classic Midwestern side dish (and maybe southern too). The basics tend to be similar, and here is how I make mine. 6 apples – need to be firm so […]

Toucan Chicken

Toucan Chicken

Not because it tastes like toucans. Or that I would even know what a toucan tastes like!  I would never advocate eating a toucan. I like toucans, toucans are cool.

I just didn’t know what to call this, although it is based on a recipe billed as Chicken Stroganoff.  It doesn’t bear much resemblance, other than sour cream and maybe mushrooms, to stroganoff. So a friend suggested Toucan Chicken. Toucan is often what I am called in a parallel universe.
This is based on a recipe from Family Circle magazine in 1996. I have changed so much about it, including ingredients and method, that I have no problem typing it out here.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3/4 lb button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp black pepper
Cube the chicken and slice the mushrooms, and heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken cubes.  Be sure they aren’t crowded, and if they are, cook the cubes in batches.  Cook for six minutes, stirring occasionally, then using a slotted spoon remove the chicken to a plate. 
 
Lower the heat to medium. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir to get up all the brown bits from cooking the chicken. Use a little chicken broth if it is dry or sticking. Cook the mushrooms for six minutes. 
 
Meanwhile, mix the sauce. Start with just two tablespoons of the sour cream and the flour. Mix well with a wire whisk. Add the sour cream a little at a time so you create a smooth mixture.
Next mix in the salt, paprika, and pepper.
Finally, add the chicken broth a little at a time, whisking after each addition.
The mushrooms should be wonderfully brown by now.
Add back the chicken and any of the juices that have accumulated.
Turn the heat back to high and after giving the sauce a final whisk, add the sauce. Bring the mix to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for just five minutes to thicken the sauce a bit. Do not overcook or the chicken will be dry. Take a bite at five minutes.
And serve over rice with a little sprinkle of paprika.  I had to make this dish every time my mother-in-law visited. It was one of her favorite things that I made.
Chocolate Mint Brownies

Chocolate Mint Brownies

I saw this recipe in Food & Wine magazine, and decided to try it and use some of the chocolate mint extract I made last summer from the chocolate mint in my herb pot. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chocolate-peppermint-brownies I’m afraid it was a bit of a bust though. […]

Chicken Thighs and Garlic Gravy

Chicken Thighs and Garlic Gravy

Tonight I made this recipe: http://www.seasonsandsuppers.ca/rustic-chicken-garlic-gravy/ And served it over mashed potatoes. Although I think it might be better over rice. I have made this before, but I think it was a little better this time. Two things that made a difference were that I […]

Mushroom and Champagne Risotto

Mushroom and Champagne Risotto

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to serve with my roast duck last night, so I googled around and came across this risotto recipe.

http://www.mapleleaffarms.com/duck/recipe/304/category/6/risotto-with-exotic-mushrooms-and-spinach/

I had some mushrooms a little past their prime, and some shallots that were beyond middle age, so I thought this was an opportunity to use them up.
While my duck was roasting, I prepped everything for the risotto, starting with the mushrooms. I sliced them fairly thickly as I didn’t want them to ‘melt’ into the risotto. I chopped the shallots, but didn’t have quite 1/2 cup. I didn’t want the stronger taste of onions and I remembered I had some frozen sliced leeks so I thawed some, chopped them, and added to the shallots.
I’m always pleased to find an excuse to use my hedgehog grater.
Everything went in the fridge until time to start cooking.
The recipe I was using for the duck called for twenty minutes of resting. About ten minutes before taking the duck out I started my risotto. The risotto was done and the rest period ended about the same time.
I put the chicken broth on to simmer and melted 2 tbsp butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. The rest was lined up and ready to go.
I added the mushrooms, shallots and leeks to the pan and cooked three minutes, stirring frequently.
The arborio rice went in next, to be toasted for a minute or so.
The recipe called for dry white wine. I didn’t want to open a bottle since I was headed out of town the next day. But I had some leftover prosecco. I thought, hm. It’s dry and it’s white. I conferred with some cooking friends and the consensus was that it would be fine. And it was.
I added 1/2 cup of prosecco, stirred until absorbed, then adding the chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time began.
It took around 20 minutes for all the broth to be added and absorbed. It did take a few more additions of hot water to really get the rice tender.
After seasoning with salt and pepper, I added half the grated Parmesan and stirred it in.
The rest of the Parmesan is used when serving the risotto.
Other than using white button mushrooms instead of wild, prosecco instead of plain dry, white wine, using leeks, and not adding spinach at all, it’s the exact same recipe!
Since it is pretty modified, here’s my version.
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
8 oz white button mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped leeks
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring stock to a simmer over high heat then lower heat to keep at a gentle, constant simmer
Melt butter in large pan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, shallots and leeks and cook, stirring frequently, for three minutes. Add the rice and toast for one or two minutes. Stir frequently. Basically assume from here on out, you will stir frequently.
Add 1/2 cup prosecco and stir until the liquid is completely absorbed. Add one cup of chicken stock and stir until absorbed. The heat should be adjusted so it is at a constant simmer. Now keep adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, after each addition is completely absorbed. It took a full 18 minutes to add all the stock.
I found my rice still had too much of a bite at this point so kept adding hot water a bit at a time, testing after the water was absorbed until it was the texture I wanted.
Stir in 1/2 the Parmesan. Use the remaining when serving.
Five Hour Roast Duck

Five Hour Roast Duck

I have a great rancher from whom I get my beef, chicken, pork, and eggs. He started raising ducks, so now I can get duck too.    There is a recipe from Saveur that some of my cooking buddies (mentors really) had used, and I finally […]

Basic Cucumber Salad

Basic Cucumber Salad

I’m headed out of town for a few days and needed to use up some veggies that would not be good by the time I get back. One item was a cucumber. In the summer it is not uncommon for me to simply slice up […]

Merri’s One-Pot Chicken and Rice

Merri’s One-Pot Chicken and Rice

Aka too lazy to make risotto but still like creamy rice dish.

This is pure comfort food, plus it only takes one pan, so perfect for a week night.
I like to use bone-in chicken breasts. Any other bone-in chicken pieces would work as long as cooking time is enough for both the chicken and the rice.
First I brown the chicken breasts in about two tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil.
Once browned, I remove the chicken and deglaze with just a splash of chicken broth. If I feel like it needs it, I might add another tablespoon of butter before adding a cup (or about one medium onion) of chopped onion.  I cook this over medium heat until softened, stirring frequently and making sure all the brown bits are incorporated, about six minutes.
In goes a cup of rice. In this case one and one-half cups because it finished off the bag and the rice is good so why not have leftovers?  Also, if the pan looks dry, feel free to add butter or olive oil before adding the rice.  In this case, I didn’t need more.
I like to toast the rice for a few minutes before adding chicken broth.  Usually two times the rice added will do it.  Add back the chicken, cover the pan, and put in a 350 Fahrenheit oven.
These were monster chicken breasts so it took an hour for the chicken to come to 165 Fahrenheit.
I never have much luck getting the chicken skin crispy after this, but you can try uncovering the pot and putting it under the broiler for a few minutes. I usually just take off the skin and cut the meat off the bone.

The chicken is moist, and the rice creamy and full of flavor. And it is just so easy.

Bone in chicken pieces (breasts or thighs)
2-4 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit
In an oven proof pan melt two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides and remove to a plate. Lower the heat to medium and deglaze with a splash of chicken stock.
If the pan looks dry, add another tablespoon of butter. Sauté the chopped onion until softened, about six minutes. Add rice and toast for two or three minutes. Add chicken stock and place the chicken back in the pan.
Cover and place in preheated oven. Depending on the size of the chicken pieces, it will take 40 minutes to one hour. I start checking at 30 minutes with smaller pieces, looking for an internal temp of 165 Fahrenheit.
Leave covered and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Oregano, garlic, lemon compound butter

Oregano, garlic, lemon compound butter

The herbs I harvested from my summer herb pot have lasted for months, but I really needed to do something with them. One of the big bunches remaining was oregano. One of my favorite marinades for grilled thick porkchops is oregano, lemon juice, garlic, salt, […]