December 30, 2009

Cuban Chicken Stew

Here's is a delicious recipe adapted from one of my favorite Sunset Potluck Cookbook. It is rich with flavor and it's perfect for the holidays.
4-5 lbs skinless chicken thigh meat, cut into halves
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium-sized onions, sliced thinly
1 red and green bell peppers, seeded and chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika (optional)
2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce
¾ cup dry white wine or chicken stock
5 red skinned potatoes
1 cup each raisins and chopped pitted black/green olives
2 cups frozen peas, thawed (optional)
1.Rinse chicken and pat dry. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Add chicken, 4-5 pieces at a time (do not crowd), and cook until well browned on all sides. Remove and transfer into a deep 6 quart casserole. Pour off and discard all but 2 Tbsp. of the drippings.
2.Add onions and bell peppers and fry till onions are soft but not browned. Stir in garlic, spices and then tomato sauce and wine. Cook, stirring often until sauce comes to a boil. Boil gently uncovered for 5-8 minutes. Add potatoes, raisins and olives. Mix well and pour sauce over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for a day.
3. Bake, covered in a 375° degree F. oven for about 1-2 hours. Serve with crusty bread or rice.
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Smoked Salmon with Endives

Endives or Chicory is an European salad vegetable. It is crisp and with a delicate flavor, perfect if you want to serve an elegant and festive dish during the holidays. Here's another recipe adapted from "Sunset Potluck Cookbook".
8 Endives
1 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup (4 oz) sour cream
½ cup smoked salmon, minced
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. onion, minced finely
3 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
1. Rinse endive with cold water, drain and wrap with paper towels and keep in refrigerator.
2. In a bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream, salmon, lime juice, and onions. Beat until with an electic mixer until well blended and fuffly. Mix in dill. Cover and refrigerator (can be made a day ahead)
3.To serve, place spread on a tray. Break endive spears from core of each head. Surround bowl with endive spears, tips pointing outward.

December 15, 2009

Roast Pork Florentine with Pomegranate Sauce

This is one of my favorite dish to serve on festive holidays. I can prepare it ahead of time and bake it the following day.
2 pork tenderloins (trimmed and cut open flat)
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Kitchen strings
3 cups chopped spinach
¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
¼ cup red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pomegranate juice
1½ cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp honey
1½ tsps. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. water
1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F. In a skillet, cook garlic in oil until tender, stir in spinach, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 minutes till spinach is wilted and set aside. Place the cut meat flat on a piece of plastic wrap. Using a mallet, pound the pork to an even 1/2 inch thickness. Remove the plastic wrap. Using a spatula, spread the filling evenly on the pork leaving a 1-inch border on all sides; sprinkle cheese on top.
2. Starting at the edge, roll up the roast tightly to completely enclosing the filling. Rub the pork with salt and pepper. Tie the roast at 2 inch intervals with kitchen strings. Place the roast seam-side down on a baking rack. (I've added a bed of kale drizzled with olive oil) Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 155°F.
3. Transfer pork to a clean cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes.
4. For the sauce, combine the ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Scrape remaining juices from baking pan to pot. Reduce mixture to about 1 cup. Thicken sauce with cornstarch and water, whisking till slightly thickened.
5. Remove string and slice roast into 3/4 inch thick slices. Serve with sauce.
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December 5, 2009

Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée, is French for burnt cream, a dessert of a rich custard base with a layer of caramelized sugar on top. It is one of my family's favorite dessert!
2½ cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
6 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
pinch of salt
extra sugar for caramelizing
4-6 ramekins
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Combine milk, cream, and vanilla bean in a saucepan and scald mixture. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Whisk sugar and egg yolks in a large metal bowl to combine. Stir the milk mixture a little at a time. Pour this mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl.
3.Scoop the mixture into 6 oz (individual) ramekins and set them into a large oven proof pan that will hold warm water halfway up to the ramekins. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the custard is just set. Let the custard cool and then chill in refrigerator.
4. Sprinkle the top evenly with sugar and carmelize the top in the broiler.
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