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Posts Tagged ‘scanpan’

chicken-breast_p5137169

Like the rest of America, we eat a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Not because they are my preference, but because those of us on a cardiac-health diet are told to eliminate the skin. To make mine look as though they still have that delicious crisp skin, I lightly coat them in seasoned Wondra flour and sear them in a very hot nonstick (Scanpan, usually) pan with just a hint of olive oil for about 3 minutes per side or until golden. I then transfer to a very hot oven for about another 5 minutes or until just barely cooked through. I allow the breast to rest for another 5 minutes to finish cooking and to hold the juices in before slicing it, crosswise, on the bias. Because they are so large, one chicken breast serves both my husband and me. In this photo, I have transferred the cooked breast to a pan of warm old-fashioned creamy chicken gravy that I had saved (and froze) from a roast chicken dinner. I think if you try my method, you will find that you will end up with juicy meat with a slightly crisp exterior.

 

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scanpan-blini-pan

For the same DeGustibus Cooking School by Miele at Macy’s Herald Square I featured pans and knives from ScanpanUSA and Global Knives, two of my most favorite culinary aids. Scanpan makes superb nonstick cookware that I couldn’t live without. To make one of the tidbits to be served with the sparkling wine, we used the Scanpan blini pan to make the following shallot cakes. In the photo you see Amaral and I, cheering on my biggest supporter, Sarah Afana, as she makes the cakes. You can see how perfectly found they are going to be.

For the class, we also made the tapenade, but you could easily substitute a fine quality commercial tapenade. Each guest just had one cake, but you could do 3 slightly overlapping on an appetizer plate.

 

Shallot Cakes with Green Olive Tapenade

Serves 6

 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 large shallots, peeled and chopped

1 large egg, at room temperature

⅓ cup milk

¾ cup self rising flour

Green Olive Tapenade (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Herb sprigs or toasted almonds for garnish, optional

 

Place the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When melted, add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Combine the egg and milk in a small bowl, whisking to blend. Place the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl and whisking constantly, add the egg mixture along with the cooled shallots.

Place either a blini pan or a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the blini indentations or into the frying pan. You want pancakes no larger than 3-inches. Cook , turning once, for about 2 minutes or until the golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the tapenade and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute or just until heated through.

Top each warm pancake with a small spoonful of the warm tapenade. Garnish with an herb sprig or toasted slivered almonds, if desired.

 

Green Olive Tapenade

Makes about 1½ cups

8 toasted almonds

3 cloves garlic, peeled

7 ounces (about 1 ½ cups) chopped pitted green olives, such as Cerignola

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon well-drained capers

2 tablespoons white balsamic or moscato vinegar

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Pepper

 

 

Combine the almonds, garlic, olives, parsley, thyme, and capers in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process just until coarsely chopped. Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the vinegar and lemon zest. Season with pepper.

Serve at room temperature or slightly warm.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Since there are just two of us when I roast a chicken I am faced with quite a lot of leftovers which translates to extra meals without a lot of cooking.  My first go-to is a chicken club sandwich – Steve, my dear husband is a lover of sandwich dinners.  At this time of the year the sandwich is not quite as delicious as it is in the summer with ripe juicy tomatoes on hand, but I chop up some of those sweet Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and they do the job quite nicely.

Even after making our sandwiches, there is still meat on the bones so I put the meaty carcass in a pot with cold water, onion, carrot, celery stalk (if I have it), herbs, and any leftover chicken stock or “jus” I have and simmer up a rich, chickeny broth.  I strain it, discarding everything but any meat floating about and the carcass.  I pull off the meat left on the bones and make a soup that will be dinner one night and a couple of lunches during the week.  For this particular broth, I added some diced carrots and onions along with a bag of chopped organic kale that was lurking in the freezer and some terrific Italian pasta from a brand called Rummo, a family-owned company in Campagna, Italy.  The pasta is what made the soup – it is extremely flavorful and stays al dente so you get that wonderful chewiness that great dried pasta reflects.  I was introduced to this brand by Rita, one of my favorite Italian baristas.  Although I haven’t seen this brand in many stores, Rita purchases it somewhere uptown in Manhattan.  I went on line and checked its availability and found an old review from New York Magazine where 3 NYC chefs rated it extremely low.  I can only assume that the company has changed its process because there is no way I’d rate it at the bottom of a list of dried pastas.  I find it has great flavor and cooks to the perfect “al dente” texture.

 

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Rhubarb

 

The other day Steve, my photographer husband, had to shoot some rhubarb for a client. Since winter was still in the air, I wasn’t sure that I could find it. But, lo and behold, I found bright pink stalks stacked up at my local Whole Foods. Once he photographed it, I couldn’t let it go to waste. So, what does rhubarb say to me? Spring! Strawberries! Pie! But there really has been no sign of spring here in New York City – as March stilled its winds we still had snow in the air.

Besides, I really didn’t have enough rhubarb or strawberries to make anything significant. I cut what I did have into small pieces, added maybe a cup of sugar, a tablespoon or so of lemon juice, and grated a bit of fresh ginger into the mix. I popped it on the stove while we ate dinner and ended up with a lovely 10 ounce jar of rhubarb/strawberry compote that will be delicious over ice cream or yogurt, drizzled on roast pork or even on a slice of whole grain toast. But, most of all I had a taste of spring!

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eggplant

 

My family does not really love eggplant very much so I am always trying to think of ways to make it inviting.  My newest trick works beautifully with baby eggplant.  I trim the stems and then cut them in half, lengthwise.  I toss the cut eggplant in olive oil, whatever fresh herb I have on hand (or none when I don’t), and salt and pepper.  I grill them, cut side down first, in my trusty stovetop grill pan (Scanpan again, of course – loving their nonstick surface) for a few minutes or until just barely cooked through.  I serve the warm grilled eggplant drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette or syrupy aged balsamic (when I have it on hand) with a glass of Prosecco or an Aperol spritzer.  Every single one of those little guys is gone before the drinks are.

 

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Mussels cooking

 

Fortunately, our Union Square Green Market isn’t just vegetables and fruits – we have cheeses, meats, poultry, fish, plants, and cut flowers to complete the outdoor shopping experience.  I was looking for some inspiration on Saturday and found some merguez sausage at the Flying Pigs Farm (www.flyingpigsfarm.com) stall.  That purchase led to a couple of pounds of mussels at Seatuck Fish Company (www.seatuckfish.com) and the two of them led to dinner pulled together in my beautiful Scanpan covered chef’s pan.
Here’s how it came about:  I sautéed some onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil until just softened.  I sliced up the sausage and added it to the pan and cooked it until it had lost its color.  Then I added about 1 cup of dry white wine, brought the mix to a boil and then lowered the heat and simmered for about 4 or 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.  That was followed with ¾ cup of pureed fresh tomatoes, 1 cup of clam broth, and some basil and chile flakes.  I cooked the liquid for a bit to allow the flavors to blend.  Then I added the scrubbed mussels and covered the pan.  Since the lid is glass I could watch the mussels open so just as they began to open I added a big handful of yellow cherry tomatoes and another handful of sliced baby red, yellow, and orange bell peppers.  Again, I covered and watched the mussels finish popping open.  Voila! A one pot dinner came to the table, 1,2,3!

 

Mussels plated

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Sausage_Kale_IMG_0167

This is a quick winter’s dinner that was tasty and satisfying with minimal impact on our calorie intake for the day.  Very, very lean handmade pork sausage, sided with some nutritionally-laden kale, and a little pick-me-up from blood orange.  The sausage and orange slices were easily cooked in my nonstick Scanpan stovetop grill.  The kale was chopped and given a quick sauté with mushrooms, shallots, and a touch of blood orange juice and zest and seasoned with salt and red pepper flakes.  Took all of 15 minutes to put together and an hour to linger over at the table with heart-healthy red wine.

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Newsom's_Bacon_IMG_0215

This Christmas when I ordered our country hams from my kissin’ cousin, Nancy Newsom Mahaffey, at Newsom’s Country Store in Princeton, Kentucky (www.newsomscountryham.com) I thought to add some bacon to the order.  And, boy am I glad I did.  This is old-time bacon at its best; smoky, just enough fat, no sugary stick to the pan, and not an ounce of shrinkage when fried.  All the meats from Newsom’s are done in the traditional manner and the taste sure shows.  If I were you, I’d get my order in today.  And, when a holiday approaches, try Col. Bill Newsom’s Country Ham – there is nothing that says “celebration” like these beautiful hams at the center of the table.  (You can see one of our holiday hams in our most recent book, An American Family Cooks, Welcome Books, 2013 and available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most independent book stores.)

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Biscuits_IMG_3341

Perhaps more than any other dish I make, I get the most requests for my recipe for biscuits.  I’ve posted it on this site a couple of times, but since people are still asking, I’m once again posting.  I have been making them almost weekly all of my life so, although I am going to give you the recipe, I tend to make them by look and feel.  Once in awhile I goof and they are a bit too light and fall apart as soon as you pick them up.  And, once in awhile when I have too many kitchen kibitzers and I get to talking, I forget the baking powder which gives rock-hard lumps that get thrown to the deer.  But I usually hit the mark and a batch is finished up about as soon as it hits the table.  This is the basic recipe but, try to make it by feel also.  If the dough is a little sticky the biscuits will tend to be lighter and stay fresh longer.

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar or more to taste
½ to 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ cup vegetable shortening or butter if you want rich biscuits
Approximately ⅔ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter for the pan

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Process, using quick on and off turns, to mix.  Add the shortening and again, using quick on and off turns, mix to just combine.  With the motor running, add the milk and process quickly to just blend.  The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
Lightly coat a clean work surface with Wondra flour.  Scrape the dough from the processor bowl and lightly pat down and smooth edges with your hands.  You should have an uneven circle about ¾-inch thick.  Cut out circles using a 2-inch biscuit cutter or whatever else you have on hand – I often just grab a glass.
Place the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat to just melt.  Place the biscuits tightly in the pan.  Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the biscuits have risen and are lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and serve hot with plenty of butter and jam or pan gravy.

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Mom's_Chili_IMG_3032

 

Since the weather has cooled down – ranging from the high 40s to 50s, braises, stews, and soups have come to mind.  The other day Steve suggested some chili – not the Texas kind said he, but the kind with chunks of ground meat.  Told him he had to wait a day ‘cause I would have to soak some beans before I could put the chili together.  I always have dried beans on hand, usually from Rancho Gordo (www.ranchogordo.com), but they do take some extra time to soak so you can’t whip up a bowl of red in a few.  (Although if you are really desperate you can use canned beans and have a pot going pretty darned quick).  Lots of chefs disagree about the soaking part and boil dried beans for an hour and then proceed with a recipe.  I do not like firm beans, so I follow the old rule of soaking in cool water for at least 8 hours.

So, I soaked a pound of pinto beans overnight and then got the pot going the next morning.  I decided I would make the same chili I had seen my mom make hundreds of times – rich, filling, and aromatic.  Here’s what I did.

Drained the beans of their soaking water and then added enough cold water to cover them by at least 2½ inches.  Placed over high heat and brought to a boil; then, lowered the heat and kept them simmering while I tended to the other ingredients.

Using a one of my great nonstick Scanpan frying pans, I sautéed about 2 pounds of lean ground beef (You can also use ground pork, chicken, or turkey or big chunks of beef stew meat.  I’m not a fan of lamb chili, but if you like the flavors, why not?) along with a large diced onion, about half a head of chopped garlic cloves, and one jalapeño chile.  (If you like, you can also add some chopped bell pepper to the mix).  The pan was a little too full so it took a bit of time to get the meat browned and most of the liquid to evaporate.  This was good because it gave the beans some time to soften slightly.  I added the meat to the simmering beans along with a lot of seasoned chili powder, ground cumin, and ground pure chile powder along with smaller amounts of cayenne, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.  All of these should always be done to taste – I like mucho heat and lots of seasoning, but you don’t have to agree with me.  I let the mix simmer for about 30 minutes and then I added one large can of tomato puree and one large can of diced tomatoes along with a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste.  Seasoned with salt and black pepper and let the whole mess simmer for another hour or so.  Then, I took the pan off the heat and let the mix cool down before putting it back on the heat to get very hot for dinner.

I always serve chili with some diced sweet onion on top – I love the contrast of the crisp, cool sweetness with the flaming hot chili.

 

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