Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Barbecued" Chicken Thighs

Not barbecued, but baked, these chicken thighs are a family favorite. My mom used to make these for us when we were kids, and  I have made them for my family for the last 35 years. I've changed the recipe since Mama made them--she made a homemade barbecue sauce. For anybody who is saying, "Oh, I like white meat, not dark.", you need to take a walk on the wild side. Thighs stay moist and delicious when roasted or grilled. They don't become dry and stringy when cooked 5 minutes too long. I like to serve this with baked beans and cole slaw, or corn on the cob.  If you don't like barbecue, you can change this marinade in many ways (lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and rosemary, salt and pepper, for example) and cook the thighs in the same way.

The John Will's dry rub is something I keep in my cupboard all the time.  I like it in baked beans and even in cole slaw. If you don't want to make it, you could certainly use any commercially prepared dry rub that you like.

Preheat oven to 350 convect roast or 375 conventional

Serves 2-4
4 chicken thighs
1/2 cup or so Wickers basting sauce (thin, vinegar based sauce with spices)
1 tbl or so John Will's Dry Rub

Put all of the above in a plastic zip lock bag and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and spray with Pam. Dump in the chicken and marinade, and turn the chicken skin side up. Roast for 45 minutes.

1/2 Cup prepared barbecue sauce, whatever brand you like ( I used Kraft Original with Hickory Flavoring)
1/4 Wicker's basting sauce
A few shakes of John Will's Dry Rub

Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat all of the above to a simmer.  Reduce heat to very low and simmer til thick. After 45 minutes, slather some sauce on your thighs (the chicken's) and return to oven for about 10 minutes.  Place thighs on a platter and baste with some more sauce. Serve any remainder on the side.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Joy of Cooking's Fruit Galette or Crostata

I made this 2 weeks ago for dinner with friends.  I used 3 apples that I sliced fairly thin and tossed with lemon juice, 1/2 C. sugar, 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon, grating of nutmeg, and a tbl of flour. I  used my own pie pastry recipe (2 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, 2/3 cup Crisco, 4-6 tbl cold water) and not Joy's. I rolled out the pastry into a rough 11 inch circle, brushed it all with apricot jam, and dumped the apples in the middle.  Then I turned up the sides of the crust to form a rim and baked it in the oven on a flat cookie sheet. Let it cool completely before transfering it to a serving plate. I served this with vanilla ice cream.--Deeelicious!

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Serves 8

   ½ recipe Deluxe Butter Pie or Pastry Dough, below
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Roll the dough into an 11-inch round. Lift the dough onto a large baking sheet. Leaving a 1-inch border at the edges, spread evenly over the dough:
   ¼ cup raspberry or other jam
Fold over the border to form a rim. Toss together gently:
   4 medium plums, 2 medium peaches, peeled, or 2 medium nectarines, pitted and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces ( ½ cup raspberries or blueberries)
   2 tablespoons sugar
   4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

Distribute the fruit mixture over the jam. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit juices have thickened, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve warm.

Deluxe butter pie or pastry dough (pâte brisée)
One 9- or 10-inch double crust
This dough refrigerates well after baking and reheats to perfection.
Sift together:
   2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
   2 teaspoons sugar
   1 teaspoon salt

   1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
   ¼ cup chilled vegetable shortening

Cut half the shortening into the flour mixture until it has the consistency of cornmeal. Cut in the remaining half until it is pea-sized. Sprinkle the dough with:
   6 tablespoons ice water
Blend the water gently into the dough until it just holds together; you may lift the ingredients with a fork, allowing the moisture to spread. If necessary to hold the ingredients together, add:
   1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon ice water
Divide the dough in half, shape each into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I am so fortunate to have friends who are not only wonderful cooks, but generous as well.  Friday afternoon I stopped by the grocery and bought lamb chops to grill. I felt like having company so I bought as many as Butler and Bailey had.  When I got home, I called my friend, Connie, who offered to bring potatoes.  Then I called my friend Kathleen who said that she had made an almond torte that day that she would bring for dessert.  Et voila! a fabulous, easy dinner party with friends.  Kathleen's torte was fantastic! It was an elegant and delicious end to our meal.  She also has generously shared the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350
Line a 9" iron skillet with Release aluminum foil and spray with Pam. Let foil extend over sides.

Mix together with an electric mixer:
¾ cup butter (do not substitute)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Beat in two eggs, one at a time.

Add 2 teaspoons almond extract

Then mix in a pinch of salt and 1 and ½ cups flour.
Mix well.  Batter will be slightly stiff.

Pour into the iron skillet that has been lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with Pam.

Sprinkle sliced almonds (not slivered) on top or make any design you wish on top and
   then sprinkle about 1 and ½ tablespoons sugar evenly over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (until golden brown).

Let cool completely in pan.  Lift carefully by foil out of pan, peel off foil and place on serving plate.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Orzo and Rice Pilaf with Vegetables

This is Ellen's recipe from  She added the Parmesan cheese to it, and her guests loved it.  She served it with veal chops, but I'm sure that it would be delicious with any simple grilled meat as well.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (3/4 cup)
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice (2/3 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 3/4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (14 fl oz)
1 cup water
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Heat oil and butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté orzo, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add rice and sauté, stirring, until coated with oil and butter. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until liquid is absorbed, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly stir in zucchini, then let stand, covered, 5 minutes. (Zucchini will steam.) Stir in parsley and serve sprinkled with almonds.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Apple, Peach, or Plum Cake Cockaigne from Joy of Cooking

I made this today with 3 ripe, juicy pears and it was delicious. I added cinnamon and nutmeg to the cake batter and brown sugar in the topping. Delicious! This recipe is so quick to make, and it is wonderful for breakfast or dessert, especially with some ice cream.

I have made a few comments and changes. If you want the recipe straight from the horse's mouth follow this link: Joy of Cooking's Plum Cake

Line a 9x9x2 1/2 inch pan with Release aluminum foil and spray with some Baker's Ease.
Preheat oven to 425
In a bowl, mix together with a fork:
1 cup all-purpose flour (White Lily)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbl sugar

2-3 tbl cold butter, cubed
Cut the butter in with your finger tips or 2 knives until it looks like cornmeal.

Beat well in a measuring cup:
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Enough milk to make 1/2 cup. (If your fruit is very juicy, reduce the liquid by 1 tbl or more.)

Combine to make a stiff dough and pat or spread it into your greased pan. (It doesn't matter what it looks like you're going to cover it with fruit.  Just get it more or less evenly spread.)

Top with:
4 cups sliced apples, peaches, or plums

Sprinkle with a mixture of:
1 cup white or brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbls melted butter.

Bake 25 minutes

Sauteed Veal Chops with Sage and White Wine from Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook

 I got beautiful veal chops from Butler and Baileys the other night and fixed these for dinner. They were melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Fast and easy to do, although they are a budget buster. My chops were at least 3 inches thick, so they took about 20 minutes to cook on medium.  I just kept touching the middle of the chop to test for doneness.

For 4 persons
3 tbl vegetable oil
4 veal loin chops, cut 3/4 inch thick.
3/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper on a pie plate
12 dried sage leaves
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tbl butter

Put your platter in the oven on warm.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.
Pat the chops dry and flour them on both sides, patting off excess flour.
Add the chops and the sage to the hot oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes altogether, turning the chops 2 or 3 times so that they cook evenly.  (Veal should be medium when done.) When cooked, remove to the warm platter.
Spoon out most of the cooking oil.  Add the wine and raise the heat to high, scraping up any brown bits and boiling until the sauce has thickened somewhat. Turn the heat to low and add the butter.  Return the chops to the pan coating them with the sauce, and return all to the platter and serve.

Tomato and Cream Sauce for Pasta from Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook

If I could only have one Italian cookbook, this would be it! Marcella Hazan's recipes are deceptively simple and outrageously delicious. I served this simple sauce over small bowties (farfalle), but Marcella recommends serving it over Tortellini or Green Gnocchi. We ate this with the veal chops with sage and white wine and spinach as a vegetable; however, it is certainly rich enough to be a main course sauce. This might be the recipe to use those incredibly expensive San Marzano tomatoes. Let me know if you can tell the difference.

For 6 servings
1 stick (1/4 lb) butter
3 tbls finely chopped yellow onion
3 tbls finely chopped carrot
3 tbls finely chopped celery
2 1/2 cups canned Italian tomatoes with their juice
2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Put all the ingredients except the cream into a sauce pan and cook for 1 hour at a bare simmer, stirring occasionally.
Puree with your stick blender (or regular blender or food mill) You can refrigerate or freeze the sauce at this point.  Pour back into the pan, bring up to the simmer, add the cream, and cook for 1 minute more, stirring.
Taste and add salt if needed.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Chops

4 boneless pork loin chops (5 to 6 ounces each)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces total)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Sprinkle thyme leaves over each, pressing, to help them adhere to the meat. Wrap 1 prosciutto slice around middle of each chop, like a belt; press ends to seal
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Cook chops until golden brown and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. (Cook in two batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding.) Serve chops with lemon wedges, if desired.

I made a pan sauce for these chops, I put a little flour in the pan drippings, made a quick roux. Then I deglazed with some Grand Marnier, added some chicken stock and thyme. Really delicious.