Monthly Archives: February 2010

Curried Ginger-Lime Chicken Salad

Curried Ginger-Lime Chicken Salad

We brined and roasted up a couple of chickens the other night… we like to do that sort of thing in big batches.  We ate part of one chicken for dinner, which left us a lot of extra chicken in the refrigerator.  Whenever we have left over chicken, I like to make this chicken salad.  It is simple and quick to put together and tastes really delicious.

Strips of celery

The mayonnaise-yogurt base is creamy and tangy and is spiked with grated fresh ginger, lime juice, and a hint of curry powder.  Throw in some minced garlic and shallot and then toss your previously roasted chicken.  Pile the whole thing on a tangle of thinly sliced strips of celery for crunch and you have a lovely light meal that would be perfect for lunch with friends, or for yourself.

Making the dressing

Curry Ginger-Lime Chicken Salad

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Two

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

2 tbls mayonnaise

2 tbls plain yogurt (whole milk is best, low fat is okay)

1 tbls freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 tsp curry powder

1 small clove of garlic, minced

1 small shallot, minced (substitute 1 tbls minced red onion if desired)

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

4 small stalks of celery

Salt and pepper to taste

Lime zest (optional)

To Make:

Using a vegetable peeler, shave thin strips of the celery stalks.  Place 2 shaved celery stalks on each plate and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, lime juice, curry powder, minced garlic and shallot, and grated ginger until well combined.  Add the cold shredded chicken and mix until the chicken is coated with the dressing.  Refrigerate for 1 hour to meld the flavors (if desired).  Taste and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.

To Serve:

Place half the chicken on top of the celery strips and garnish with lime zest.  Serves two for lunch but is easily doubled or tripled if you want to make a larger batch.  This also keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a few days.

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Filed under Dinner, Meat, Recipes

Spinach Risotto

Spinach Risotto

I have a confession, I am addicted to making risotto in my pressure cooker.  Since discovering the wonder of making perfect risotto in minutes using this amazing device, I make it all the time.  Lunch on a Saturday, let’s have risotto.  Dinner on Tuesday, sure risotto would be a tasty side. 

Fresh spinach

Now I realize this is the third risotto recipe I have posted (if you are hungry, check out apple cheddar risotto and mushroom risotto) but it is too delicious to keep to myself.  This recipe uses fresh mushrooms cooked down until they are brown and meaty and fresh spinach to add lovely color and flavor.  Chicken stock spiked with vermouth adds unusual flavor notes to the rice.  Finally, stirring in some shredded swiss cheese adds a nice bite to the creamy dish.

Browned mushrooms

If you wanted, you could adapt this recipe for stove top cooking.  Just heat the liquid and add it, a ladle at a time, to the rice and stir constantly until it is absorbed.  Repeat until the rice is creamy.

Toasting the rice

Spinach Risotto

Ingredients:

2 tbls butter, divided

5 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbls olive oil

8 oz fresh spinach, washed and tough stems trimmed off

1 cup aborio rice

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup dry vermouth

3 oz swiss cheese

To Make:

In a medium skillet heat 1 tbls olive oil over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the well drained spinach and sautee until just starting to wilt, about 2 minutes.  Remove the spinach to a colander and let drain while the risotto is cooking.

In your pressure cooker (or whatever pot you will be using to make the risotto), melt 1 tbls butter over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook until browned and the mushrooms have given up their liquid, about 15 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter.  Cook the rice, stirring until toasted, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and vermouth, put the lid on the pressure cooker, and bring to pressure.  Cook for 8 minutes.  Release the pressure and stir in cheese, spinach, and remaining tbls butter until smooth and creamy.

To Serve:

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish.

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Filed under Dinner, Mushrooms, Recipes, Rice, Side Dish, Vegetables

Doughnut Bread Pudding

Doughnut Bread Pudding

This post has been brought to you by Fat Tuesday.  Eat on, New Orleans!

Alex, I’ll take oxymorons for $2000.

A:  The absolute best use of leftover doughnuts.

Q:  What is doughnut bread pudding?

Custard

The oxymoron in this case is, “leftover doughnuts”.  Really, how often do you come across leftover doughnuts?  Well, in the rare case that you do, you’ll now know what to do with them.

Doughnuts taking a bath

It’s important to realize that doughnuts come in two primary forms.  There are the yeast doughnuts which are super light, airy, and it’s easy to polish off a half dozen before realizing that you haven’t stopped to breath yet.  There are also cake doughnuts.  These are much denser, but equally tasty.  Both kinds result in a wonderful bread pudding, but in different ways.  The yeast doughnuts will puff up when baked while the cake doughnuts tend to be more dense.  Feel free to co-mingle or make two desserts-in-one as done below.  Either way, this is a rich and decadent dessert that is just right to help celebrate the debauchery of Fat Tuesday.

Fresh from the oven

Doughnut Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

3 glazed doughnuts (yeast)*

3 chocolate glazed doughnuts (cake)

4 eggs

3 cups whole milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

mix of cinnamon and sugar to top (optional)

To Make:

Cut the doughnuts up into approximately 1/2 inch pieces.  Lay out the pieces on a cutting board in order to dry out a little bit (you can skip this step if your doughnuts are already a couple of days old).  Once they have sat for a few hours, make the custard mixture.

Beat the eggs.  Whisk in the milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla.  Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish.  You can lay out the doughnut pieces in any fashion that you’d like.  Either mix and match the two (or more) types of doughnuts or keep them divided.  Evenly pour the egg mixture over the doughnuts.  Use the back side of a large spatula and press the doughnuts into the egg mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours (or overnight), every once in a while pressing the doughnut pieces to be sure they are submerged in the egg mixture.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325F.  Sprinkle the top of the bread pudding with cinnamon and sugar, if desired.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the the center is just set.

To Serve:

Enjoy hot.  Now.  Right now.  This very instant.  Or cold, the next morning for breakfast, with a cup of good coffee or a glass of milk.

* If you are feeling a little crazy, go ahead and use any kind of doughnut you have hanging around… jelly, frosted, crullers, it is all fair game.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dessert, Recipes

Boston Brown Bread

Boston Brown Bread

Boston brown bread is one of those dishes that to me, a non-native New Englander, has always been a little bit strange.  The idea of steaming a loaf of bread rather than baking it is just weird.  To be fair, most of the Boston brown bread I have been served came from a can.  That really never seemed very appetizing to me.  My husband, a dyed-in-the-wool Bostonian, holds a very different opinion about brown bread and he kept urging me to give it a chance.

Ready to bake, er... steam

I gave in one night when we were having pork chops and baked beans for dinner.  How could I say no to brown bread with a meal like that?  Turns out, my prejudices were unfounded.  Made fresh, Boston brown bread is a delicious mix of whole grain flours with some dark molasses for a hint of sweetness and has a surprisingly light and springy texture.  Between the two of us (plus Thing 1) we manged to eat nearly the whole loaf during dinner.

The cooking setup

This recipe makes a small loaf (a little smaller than an average loaf pan) which is good because it has to be cooked on the stove top and, yes, steamed in a small amount of boiling water.  That means you need to have a pot large enough to fit a loaf pan inside.  Luckily, if you use the size loaf pan called for in the recipe, it will fit in a standard 5-quart Dutch oven.  This loaf is the perfect side for a Sunday winter dinner in New England (or anywhere else you don’t mind having the stove on for a couple of hours).

Fresh from a 2 hour steam bath

Boston Brown Bread

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book, 12th Edition

Ingredients:

1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rye flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see note)

1/3 cup molasses (we prefer strong flavored molasses such as black strap)

2 tbls brown sugar

1 tbls cooking oil

To Make:

Grease 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2 inch loaf pan well, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the cornmeal, whole wheat flour, rye flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine.

In another bowl stir together the buttermilk, molasses, brown sugar, and oil.  Gradually add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.  Don’t over mix or the bread will be tough.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Grease a piece of foil and place it, greased side down, over the loaf pan.  Press the foil around the edges to seal.

Place loaf pan on a rack in a Dutch oven or any other pot which is large enough to hold the loaf pan.  Pour hot water into the Dutch oven around loaf pan until the water comes up about 1 inch high on the loaf pan.  Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 to 2 1/4 hours or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center of the bread comes out clean.  Add additional boiling water to the Dutch oven as needed to keep the water level the same.

Remove the loaf pan from the Dutch oven and let stand 10 minutes.  Remove bread from pan. 

To Serve:

Slice the bread and serve warm, slathered with butter or cream cheese if desired.

Note:  Making Sour Milk – If you don’t have buttermilk on hand when preparing baked goods, substitute sour milk in the same amount.  For each cup of sour milk needed, place 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup.  Add enough milk to make 1 cup total liquid; stir.  Let mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.

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Filed under Baked goods, Bread, Recipes