Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

Okay, fine!  I’ll share my chicken cacciatore recipe (it’s Emeril’s recipe).  It’s also a slow cooker recipe which makes it great to serve to guests when you don’t want to be distracted in the kitchen. Serve it over some pasta with a side of garlic bread and you’re done!

Meredith made her Caesar salad dressing that I love so much.  There’s so much garlic in it, that despite those books about vampires, I knew I had nothing to fear.  Really though, is there ever such a thing as too much garlic?  I'll let her tell you about the croutons she made.

We finished the meal off with chocolate wine and the world's easiest tiramisu recipe.  Delish!

I made croutons! Honestly- I don’t know why I’d ever buy croutons again. Wow- easy and SO good. I melted a garlic clove in some extra virgin olive oil with salt and red pepper flakes. Then tossed the freshly-cubed NEW YORK bread around in the pan until it was toasty and properly coated! OH- and the cacciatore was really yummy. I’d definitely keep in my recipe file as an easy go-to dish. But get the good cheese if you can. I’ve got a list of "must bring backs” for my next Long Island visit. It will probably require a large cooler.

Slainté! St. Patty’s Day Shepherd's Pie

Is there a single person on the planet that doesn’t love Alton Brown?  We didn’t think so.  Picking his shepherd’s pie recipe as the one we made really wasn’t that difficult.

I will start by saying that Shepherd’s Pie tastes 10,000x better than it looks. This dish was absolutely delicious. I used one pound of lamb and a half a pound of lean ground beef and took liberties/heavy hand with the amounts of spices, etc but I was pretty on point with the recipe as written. I did add a splash of Guinness to the pan just before I added the chicken broth. It seemed the dish begged for it and it was on hand anyway. Whatever I did, it was right. As soon as I finished my first helping, I went for seconds. I ate it for a week. THAT is the sign of a truly great tasting meal!

Wait, now I'm cooking lamb??? It was very delicious.  I didn't even think I liked lamb.  Maybe I just didn't like the idea of lamb.  Well, whatever my misconceptions were, I'm over them.  I'd make this again.  When I do, please remind me to make a double batch so I can freeze some.  I really wish that I had some right now!

Wasabi Pea-Crusted Chicken

The Wasabi Pea Crusted Chicken* recipe

I originally ate wasabi pea crusted chicken at Second Street BistroI loved it so much that when we went back there a year later, I was disappointed to find out it wasn’t available.  So, I asked if we could make it for our blog.  It was delicious.  So worth it!  If I’m being honest, using panko bread crumbs was what sealed the deal.  So Second Street, if you're reading this, don’t worry about bringing back that chicken.  I'll just order some other delicious dish when I get there.

Wow I made a mess of my kitchen! I should spare you the graphic images, but I won’t.
I was highly ambitious on the side dishes (fried rice and roasted brussells sprouts) - otherwise this would have been a relatively easy meal. The chicken itself was really yummy. I enjoyed the sauce, the crunchiness of the chicken and the surprising mildness of the wasabi itself. I have some plans for next time, though. I definitely will just oven “fry” the chicken. I don’t think it needed or benefited from the extra grease from pan-frying. It was fun shopping in my Asian market and playing with wasabi powder though!

*On inspection of the recipe Laura posted above, I have realized that I actually used a recipe from Bon Appetit on

Smothered Pork Chops

The show Big Daddy’s House on The Food Network gets kudos for introducing Meredith and me to Smothered Pork Chops.

I got to use my cast iron skillet! That, I think, was my favorite part of this recipe. Not that the food wasn’t tasty. It was. And I’d been craving a pan fried pork chop for some time. The sauce turned out to be a sauce and I think I wanted a real gravy. I added mushrooms to the onion saute, but everything else was by recipe. I served mine with baby spinach sauteed with garlic, mashed Yukon Golds and this bread that Giada had made earlier that day on her show.

Truthfully, this might be my favorite thing we’ve cooked so far. I got a chance to use my cast iron skillet and made something that I don’t make very often. The pork chops were juicy and tender. The sauce was not the gravy that I was afraid it would be. (I’m going to strain the rest and use it as stock.) My sides of choice were red roasted potatoes with onion soup mix and a mushroom and zucchini saute.  All in all, a very yummy plateful of food.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Risotto alla Primavera
Risotto . . . not something I’m planning on making again. The whole meal threw me off. I know we didn't cook the scallops correctly. Anyway, seeing as how this is about the risotto, I’ll just say that I love risotto, but I just hated making it. After cooking it for what seems like forever, it was still too undercooked. I would NOT make it for guests. We promised to blog about the good, the bad and the ugly . . . and this was definitely bad!

Ok- the risotto was NOT as bad as Laura is making it out to be. Granted, it took forever and was still underdone, but the flavor was still there. In fact, the leftovers were much better (this recipe makes an ENORMOUS amount of risotto). I guess the nuking cooks the rice some more. For the broth, we used Culinary Creations vegetable and wine broth that was absolutely delicious. I will be using that again for sure. And you know what? I’m not giving up on risotto that easily. I’ll make it again.