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Mmm… Pizza!

DSC_9692 (1600x1060)Mrs J called for pizza and because it’s been a while since we had a white pizza, this broccoli/chicken/roasted garlic pie was just perfect.  I rolled some string cheese into the edge of it and made a sauce from Monterey jack and a basic white sauce.  I added two heads of roasted garlic to the sauce and troweled it on then added the par-boiled broccoli and the grilled chicken breast.  Brush some olive oil on the crust and add a good sprinkling of kosher salt.  It spent about 17 minutes in a 350 oven while in the pizza pan but still wasn’t quite there.  I managed to get it out of the pan and onto a peel without mishap for transfer to the pizza stone that pretty much lives on the bottom rack on my oven.  I kicked the dial up to 500 and kept an eye on it, giving it an additional 5-7 minutes.DSC_9696 (1600x1060)A cheese crust seems like overkill, given the cheesy nature of the sauce but I find myself eating the crusts apart from the rest of the pizza, saving them for the last.  They eat like a big soft pretzel – a cheese stuffed pretzel.DSC_9700 (1600x1060)I placed the uneaten slices back into the pan for flash freezing in the big box.  When they’re frozen solid I’ll vacuum seal the slices, they make great lunches for Mrs J to haul with her to the shelter on her volunteer days.

Maple Cranberry Glazed Chicken

DSC_9678 (1600x1060)This was going to be maple mustard glazed chicken but I used my leftover cranberry sauce instead of the mustard.  It was a last minute call influenced by my extreme desire to not waste anything.  I’ve been looking at the cranberries stuck way back there in the fridge ever since the holiday and decided now or never. The mustard will keep.  It went down just like in the linked recipe.  The chicken was juicy and tasty but I don’t know if I’d go with the maple syrup again.  Honey would work.  I have a big box of dried cherries and this is giving me ideas.

Dinner Menu: Oven Baked Chicken and Garlic Baked Potatoes

Oven Baked Chicken

I’ve had this in my files to post for a while, so I thought it would make a good full dinner menu. I had run across two different techniques to improve on oven-baked chicken and decided to combine them to see what would happen. I will not make it any other way going forward.

The first thing that is different, you add the flour to the egg mixture, making a bit of a batter. Dip the chicken in it and coat completely. Hold up and let excess drip off, back into the bowl. Then place the chicken piece into the breadcrumb mixture.

P1020737

Take a spoon and generously spoon bread mixture over the entire chicken. Using a fork, press the breadcrumbs into the egg wash. Turn it over gently and repeat on the other side. Place on a baking sheet (I like to use parchment paper for ease of clean up).

Baked Chicken Prep

Bake according to directions below. This technique  works well with boneless or bone-in and any meat you would dredge in flour or breadcrumbs. It coats piece evenly, creates a tighter seal and you lose less of the breading. By adding flour to the egg mixture the batter keeps the chicken very most and creates a great, crunchy crust.

On the board tonight:

  1. Oven Fried Chicken
  2. Broccoli
  3. Garlic Baked Potatoes
  4. Sliced Pears

Oven Fried Chicken

  • 2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
  • 2 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 2 chicken legs (or two additional thighs)
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups Panko
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup water**
  • 1/8 tsp ea. salt & pepper (or to taste)

large mouth bowl, large plate and baking sheet lined with foil or parchment

Wash and pat dry chicken. In large bowl, add water, eggs, flour, oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Spread breadcrumbs and panko evenly on large plate. I often use extra seasoning in the breadcrumbs – garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil and oregano, lots of pepper.

Take chicken pieces one at a time and dredge in the egg mixture, coating completely, dredge in bread crumbs until lightly coated on all sides. See technique above. Place on baking sheet. Bake  at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, or until temp registers 160 degrees. I usually cover for 10 or 15 minutes with foil at the beginning to avoid burning the crust. For even crisper chicken, place a wire baking rack on the baking sheet and cook chicken on that. I don’t have one big enough, so I haven’t tried it.

** add more if needed

Baked Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Butter

  • 4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 to 4 metal skewers

Spread

  • 1 or 2 large head of garlic
  •  olive oil
  • 1 to 2 sprigs of rosemary, minced
  • 4 to 8 tbsp of butter

Skewer each potato (depending on the size of the skewer you can sometimes get 2 on it, leaving room between potatoes). Rub oil liberally on potatoes and then coat with a light layer of salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, peel white paper skin from garlic and slice off 1/4 inch off the top. Coat well in olive oil, place in a small baking dish (I saw a great recommendation making several and using a 6-cup muffin tin). Cover with foil and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, or until cloves are soft when pierced. (Of course you can use a garlic roaster if you have one). You can cook this while you are prepping the chicken and potatoes, then reduce heat.

Once garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves out of their skins. Using a fork, mash garlic, butter, pinch of salt and minced rosemary to smooth paste. Serve with potatoes.

Shopping List:

  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts, 2 bone-in thighs, 2 legs (or additional thighs)
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups Panko
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large head Broccoli
  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 4 large pears
  • parchment paper (my preference) or foil
  • 2 heads of garlic

Also: rosemary sprigs, olive oil, salt, pepper, and butter

 

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Chicken

DSC_9518 (1600x1060)Don’t ever ask me what my favorite meat is when I’m eating a nice juicy cheeseburger but at most any other time I’ll answer that with a “hmm… chicken, I guess”.  These are chicken enchiladas with jack cheese in a tomatillo sauce.  Yummy!DSC_9519 (1600x1060)I made some beans to go with them, and added a daub each of guacamole and sour cream.  I like the chips for the crunch they add.DSC_9508 (1600x1060)I ordered in a bucket of duck fat after a search turned up a source that wasn’t asking an arm and a leg for it.  I have the tub broken down into smaller containers and most of it is frozen save for about a half pound in the fridge.  I read all kinds of good things about it and am really looking forward to some turkey leg confit.  I did use a spoonful of it when I browned these thighs and really got a nice color on them.  I braised the thighs in stock and squeezed in the juice of a lemon and added capers at the finish to make a nice lemon sauce.  It was good on the steamed broccoli, too.DSC_9506 (1600x1060)The rice is a box mix that works well for me – Zatarain’s is a good brand.  I really like their wild rice mix.DSC01248 (1600x1060)… and a puppeh!  I love the expression on his little puppy face.  Mrs J says he is a chihuahua terrier mix and was adopted today.  Yay!

Lemon Garlic Sticky Chicken

DSC_9180 (1600x1060)I could have easily called it lemon garlic ginger honey sticky chicken because all of those played a role in the dish.  This started with boneless thighs and a couple of lemons and evolved from there.  I started thinking sticky chicken because I have done that and had good luck.  Mix the juice from two lemons, the zest of one lemon, a couple good squeezes of honey, grated fresh ginger root, grated garlic, some brown sugar, and a slug of soy sauce and use it as a marinade for the chicken.  I chopped the chicken into one inch pieces but it would be fine to leave them whole.  Let it marinate for an hour then array the chicken on a foil lined baking tray and let it brown in a 400 degree oven, about 30 minutes.  Turn once to brown both sides.

While the chicken is cooking, add more lemon juice, honey, and soy sauce to the remaining marinade in a small sauce pan, heat to boiling, turn down to a simmer, and thicken with a cornstarch slurry.  I added a couple tablespoons of chili garlic paste to add some zing.  When the chicken is nicely browned toss with the thickened sauce and serve over rice.  I added steamed broccoli for this dish but it can be served on the side.

Dinner Menu: Crispy Pecan Fish, Broccoli in Wine Sauce, and Shortbread

I thought I might post a grilling recipe this week, but our weather has been unsettle with thunderstorms, hail and tornado warnings that means grilling is out at the moment. This is a good menu if you’re stuck inside. I’ll have a grilling theme for the recipe exchange tomorrow. On the board tonight:

  1. Crispy Pecan Fish
  2. Hearty Bread
  3. Broccoli w/Garlic Wine Sauce
  4. Shortbread

Crispy Pecan Fish

  • 4-6 oz fish fillets –you’ll want a firm fish such as: red snapper, catfish, tilapia or haddock
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp thyme, crushed
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

2 bowls, skillet Mix together in a bowl: flour, ½ of each: cayenne, thyme, paprika, salt & pepper in large bowl. Heat oil in skillet. Put milk in separate bowl. Dip fish in milk, dredge in flour mixture and add to pan. Cook over med-high heat, turning once until golden brown on both sides. About 5-6 minutes. Remove fish, keep warm. Drain oil and then add butter to skillet, melt and add pecans, remaining half of spices, cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until pecans are lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Add lemon juice, spoon evenly over fish portions & serve. Broccoli w/Garlic Wine Sauce

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 16 oz broccoli crowns
  • 1 cup dry white wine (non-alcoholic ok)
  • salt & pepper to taste

skillet w/cover Heat oil, add garlic & broccoli, sauté 3-4 minutes. Add wine and let it boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover, lower heat to medium-low and cook for 2-3 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium and let remaining liquid simmer away, about 5 minutes more. Keep a close eye; you don’t want it to scorch. What you’re doing with this method is reducing the liquid until it is absorbed completely by the vegetables. Salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Shortbread

  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour

baking sheet Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in flour. Chill for an hour. Divide in half. Place each half on baking sheet and pat each into approx. 7 inch circle. Prick each with a fork to make 16 wedges (total of 32). Bake for 30 minutes at 300°

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Pizza Pr0n – Roasted Garlic White Cheese Sauce

DSC_8301 (1600x1060)These may be my favorite pizzas.  For today, anyway.  I roasted three heads of garlic and squeezed them into the white sauce along with fresh grated pecorino.  The dough used up 3-1/4 cups of bread flour so there was plenty for a 14″ pie.  The edges puff up so that they are like soft pretzels, especially when they are brushed with butter and sprinkled with kosher salt.  I rolled string style mozzarella into the edge to make it a cheese crust.  I gave the crust five minutes in a 400 oven before I added the toppings.  I’ve done it both ways, par-baked and not, and I have yet to decide which method works the best, my practice hasn’t really been rigorous enough and the time between pies is playing a role.DSC_8311 (1600x1060)I par-boiled the broccoli for a couple of minutes and cooled it in running water prior to assembling the pie, the chicken was sauteed to just barely done as well.  The completed pie baked for about 12 minutes then finished under the broiler until it looked good enough.  I like to see a little crust on the cheese topping and the edge should be browned nicely.  Let the finished pie sit for a few minutes before slicing to give the cheese time to settle a bit.DSC_8309 (1600x1060)I have to wait to get my slice to the plate before I can add the red pepper flakes.  I usually give it a grind of black pepper, too.

Lo Mein Pr0n – with Chicken and Shrimp

DSC_8166 (1600x1060)Wikipedia tells me that “lo mein” translates from the Cantonese to “stirred noodles”.  This dish had chicken breast chunks and shrimp with broccoli, onions, and carrots along with rehydrated mushrooms that I bought dried.  I’ve learned to simmer them for at least an hour before they are anywhere near tender enough to eat, and don’t try to save the stems.  I simmered these with the dried cayenne peppers, and used the broth from that in making the brown sauce.  I ran across a good discussion of brown sauces here.  Mine has dark soy, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken paste in that mushroom stock, a little chili paste, tamari, and a lot of garlic.  I sweeten ours with Splenda but sugar is more common.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

DSC_8156 (1600x1060)I’m on a chicken recipe spree!  At least until I run out of chicken breasts, anyway.  This recipe from Emeril Lagasse looked pretty good, with the added bonus of  the side dish calling for the truffle oil that rounded out a recent online order I placed a while back and was looking for a place to use.

I didn’t have the proper arborio rice so I used the  jasmine variety that I do keep on hand and has worked for me before.  Instead of Parmesan I used fresh grated pecorino.  The mushrooms were the usual supermarket white buttons, nothing fancy.  I think I can take or leave the truffle oil, it not adding any particular enjoyment for me but I’ll wait a while and try it elsewhere before I make up my mind.

The goat cheese filling worked very well, every time I made a cut a little more oozed out and was quickly mopped up.  I used a lot more garlic than the recipe wanted.

Chicken Fried Chicken

DSC_8038 (1600x1060)This is similar to the schnitzel dish I did a while back, except this just has the flattened chicken dredged in flour without a dip into eggs.  The gravy is the classic milk gravy made in the same pan.

 

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