Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chicken Marsala

I think the hardest question to answer (and I get this question a lot) is "what's your favorite thing to make?" Well, I don't really have a favorite thing to make, as I love being in the kitchen making anything, but chicken marsala would definitely be one of my top 5 favorite things to eat! I have been making chicken marsala for years, and I don't think I will ever get tired of it. I learned how to make this dish way back when I had my first job as a dishwasher at an Italian restaurant in Yakima, Washington when I was 15. I know I was the dishwasher, but I was also very good at putting my nose in the kitchen and learning lots and lots of valuable cooking tips. To this day, I think that was the best job I ever had because I learned how to make numerous recipes and desserts. The owner Diane was very sweet, and was always willing to let me ask questions and show me how to make her delicious recipes, and I will always be greatful for that.

Chicken Marsala

4 Boneless Skineless Chicken Breasts
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
3 Green Onions, finely chopped
1 Pound Crimini Mushrooms, sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
12 Ounces Marsala Wine (I just buy the 12 ounce bottle of marsala cooking wine which is kept by the vinegars in the grocery store)
1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
Oil (for frying the chicken)
Salt & Pepper

Place a large heavy bottomed frying pan (do not use non-stick) over medium high heat and add the butter, garlic, green onion, and mushrooms, saute until mushrooms are just barely soft-Remove from pan.
Next, place about 2 cups flour in a paper or plastic bag along with a tablespoon salt and pepper and shake to combine. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour to coat. Heat 1/4 inch oil in your frying pan over medium-high heat and add chicken. Cook chicken until golden brown and fully cooked, about 12 -15 minutes total. Remove chicken from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain any remaining oil from the pan and place back on the stove over high heat. Deglaze the pan with the marsala wine-IT MAY IGNITE-please be careful! Scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan and let the alcohol burn off. Now add 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture to the chicken broth and whisk together then add to the pan. Using a whisk stir constantly until marsala sauce comes to a boil and starts to thicken-just a couple minutes. Add mushrooms back into the pan and season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve place the chicken on a plate and spoon a generous amount of mushrooms and sauce over the top, enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Greek Taziki Sauce & Appetizer

I had a mad craving for Greek food the other day and decided that instead of going out to eat I would cook and invite a couple friends over. I love that Greek food can be really simple or really complicated to make, and being lazy I went with the easy recipes. I decided to make my personal favorite Taziki sauce and then I just added onto that with olives, fresh veggies, hummus, pita bread, feta cheese, and some lamb burgers so we could turn this appetizer into a meal by making gyros. It was so nice to be able to just sit outside in the backyard and relax and graze on the appetizer, which so easily transitioned into dinner. This would also be a great appetizer if your throwing a large party, or need a heavy snack during mid-day. Opa!

Greek Taziki Sauce

4 Cups Whole Milk Yogurt
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice From 1/2 Lemon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

The secret to making a good thick taziki sauce is to drain the yogurt first. Simply line a colander with 2 layers of paper towels and dump in yogurt. Let drain over a bowl for 2 hours, you will lose half the volume of the yogurt, so make sure to use the full 4 cups.
Next place the thickened yogurt into a mixing bowl, add the garlic, cucumber, olive oil, lemon and salt and stir until well combined. Cover and let rest for at least one hour before serving so that the flavors can develop (the longer it sits the more pronounced the garlic will be). Stir again and place into your desired serving dish.
To make a full appetizer plate cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, fetta cheese, and warm pita bread and hummus, and serve.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And The Winner Is...

I feel just horrible that I am doing this late, but it's better late than never, right? I have been living at work the last couple of days, and I completely spaced doing the drawing...oops!

Well without further ado, her is my little munchkin Muppet to pick the lucky winner! I think he was a bit nervous...

And the lucky winner is Pam-For the Love of Cooking. Congratulations Pam, Yeah, Meow!!!

I think Muppet had more fun playing with the papers than doing the drawing! Oh life as a cat is so rough sometimes!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Peach & Berry Crumble

I absolutely love berries, all types of berries and it's definitely berry season here in Portland. I was having friends over for dinner last week and saw all these delicious blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries at the grocery store, and had instant inspiration for dessert. I then walked by the peaches and immediately picked up a bag of those too and put some of my berries back, (as I have a weakness for peaches as well and just couldn't decide on one or the other!)
I love the more traditional biscuit type of topping that my mom usually makes, but was really swayed when I saw Darlene's delicious little berry crumbles, which you can read about here that she posted on here blog, so decided to go that route instead. Well, the end result was absolutely amazing. I have to admit that we only ate half the dessert during my little dinner party and I ended up having the other half all week for breakfast and dessert!

Peach & Berry Crumble

6 Fresh Peaches, peeled and sliced into wedges
1 Pint Blueberries
1/2 Pint Raspberries
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Flour

Crumble Topping
1 Cup Flour
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cups Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Oats
1 Stick Butter, diced

Combine the peaches, blueberries, raspberries, sugar and flour in a large bowl stirring gently, then place into a large greased baking dish or 9x13 inch baking pan.
To make crumble topping combine all dry ingredients, next cut in the butter and mix with hands until mixture resembles small pebbles. Pour topping evenly over fruit.
Bake crumble in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until bubbling and topping is dark golden brown. (I always put my dish on a foil covered baking pan just in case it bubbles over.) Let cool slightly and serve alone or with ice cream if desired!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Blog & Cookbook Giveaway!

Where does time go? I just can't believe that my blog is already 2 years old, Happy Birthday Blog!!!! I have enjoyed capturing all my cooking adventures on film and actually writing up the recipes so I can re-create them instead of wonder "what did I put in that dish?"
Also, I have met many wonderful blogger-friends which brings me to my Giveaway! I am going to put everyone that posts a comment on this posting into a hat and pull out a lucky winner. What's the prize? One of my favorite cookbooks, Tyler's Ultimate, which has beautiful pictures and a variety of recipes that are easy to follow and down to earth. Please provide a link to your blog, or your email address so I can contact you if your name is drawn. I will be picking and announcing the lucky winner Monday, July 20th!
Good Luck!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

There is nothing better than that first sweet taste of fresh corn on the cob during summer. I just picked up some corn on a whim when I was at the store this week and crossed my fingers that it would be sweet and delicious, well I was not disappointed! I love corn grilled, boiled, baked in foil, actually any which way, but this is my favorite way to prepare it.

Corn on the Cob

Parmesan Cheese

Cook the corn your favorite way, I usually husk mine and just throw it on the grill, but it was raining so I couldn't, so I boiled it for a few minutes. Next cover it in butter, Parmesan cheese and paprika. The saltiness of the cheese really brings out sweetness in the corn and the paprika just adds a hint of interest. Please enjoy!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dark & Stormy

Do you ever go out for dinner, have a drink and wonder what was in it? Well I had that experience recently at Toro Bravo, a local Tapas Restaurant. I had a drink called the Dark and Stormy, and yes I ordered it just because of the name! I was surprised with the simplicity of ingredients and the wonderful full flavors that drink has to offer. I had a couple friends over and decided to make this as our featured cocktail. It's refreshing and perfect for a hot summer afternoon!
In reading recipes there is quite a debate on wether to use lime or not, I went ahead and put it in, as I always love the bright citris flavor it adds. Also, it is said that you must use Goslings Black Seal Rum and Ginger Beer, no othere substite will do. I personally think any high quality dark rum would be just fine. I could only find ginger beer at Whole Foods and New Seasons, my regular grocer only sold ginger ale, which is much different. Cheers!

Dark & Stormy

2 Ounces Goslings Black Seal Rum
1 12 Ounce Bottle Ginger Beer

Fill a large tumbler with ice, add rum and ginger beer, stir. Add lemon as garnish, if desired.