Chicken, Sausage, Apple & Onion Recipe

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I was extremely bored today.... What does Allie do when she's bored? She cooks! There was a pumpkin curry recipe that I have been dying to try, so I decided to make that for my mom and I. As for my brother and dad, I raided the fridge and came up with this recipe:

Chicken, Sausage, Apples, Onions & Beer:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 package apple gouda chicken sausage (or any flavor sausage)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1-2 granny smith apples, thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. sugar
dried thyme
dried rosemary
1 pumpkin beer (or your favorite beer--this beer worked out awesome though!)
2 T. Olive oil
1 T. all purpose flour
1 T. whole butter
Cooked Brown Rice

1. Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary.
2. Sear the chicken in olive oil in a large skillet. Remove and reserve.
3. Add some extra olive oil to the pan if necessary and saute the onions and apples until soft.
4. Season with salt, sugar, and a bit more dried thyme.
5. Add the garlic and saute a couple more minutes.
6. Pour in the beer (and take a sip or 2!), scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan.
7. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
8. Add the chicken back in and simmer for about 20-30 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through and tender).
9. Mix together the flour and butter in a small bowl and gradually add it to the sauce until it is thickened to your liking. Simmer another 5-10 minutes
10. Serve over rice (I used brown basmati rice)

This meal turned out fantastic! I will definitely be making this again! It was a lot of fun playing with different ingredients and having a delicious end result.
Gotta give credit to Stu for teaching me to cook sausages in beer... best combination of flavors ever!

While I was working on this recipe, I was also making the pumpkin curry for my mom and I. The recipe can be found here: Pumpkin Curry Quinoa.

I made a few changes to the recipe. We didn't have almond milk, so I used rice milk. I also added about 1/2 cup more stock to thin out the sauce. I added 1 package of frozen spinach and almost a full package of frozen artichoke hearts. Maybe I just don't like curry that much, but I felt like I needed to keep adding spices to this dish.. so I did. I added fresh nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and cayenne. It turned out pretty good. I kind of wish I had some of the beer chicken and sausage. My mom loved the curry though. It was a good introduction to tomorrow's India class!

Chicken Rollatini with Broccoli & Ricotta

Friday, February 26, 2010

It is absolutely ridiculous that EVERY school in NYC was closed today except for mine. There was no way I was getting to school today. My street and driveway weren't even plowed until around noon.

For lunch I definitely wanted to have some of the mozzarella from class yesterday. I decided to make a quesadilla with a sun-dried tomato wrap, the mozz, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper, and some tomato slices. I put it in the panini grill and then drizzled it with reduced balsamic vinegar:
I made the mistake of eating this in front of my brother, so as soon as I finished I had to make another one for him. I added some ham in his quesadilla and he LOVED it! Next, I had to feed my hungry dad. I made him an omelet with the mozz and some ham. I made the mistake of letting my brother see me make this, so I had to make another for him (he's a hungry boy).. So, basically I spent the majority of the afternoon feeding the boys.

Before I knew it, it was time to plan out dinner. Snow days are especially fun because I had to figure out a dinner with whatever we had on hand. I knew we had chicken breasts, so I searched the fridge for some other ingredients.

I started out with a basic tomato sauce:
1. Saute 1-2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 an onion in olive oil until soft and translucent.
2. Add 1 15oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
3. Season with salt, cracked pepper, and dried oregano.
4. Add fresh basil leaves at the end.

I decided to make a "chicken rollatini", so I made a filling with some part-skim ricotta, chopped broccoli (frozen and thawed), and minced sun-dried tomatoes (I used some that I got from Rome back in October). The tomatoes were pretty salty, even after I rinsed them, so I only added some cracked black pepper to the filling.

I sliced each chicken breast (I used 2 packages) and pounded them out. I added a bit of filling to each (with a sprinkle of parmesan) and rolled it up. I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, and a seasoning blend. Then, I coated the bottom of a casserole dish with some of the tomato sauce, placed the chicken roll-ups seam side down, and spooned the rest of the sauce on top. It baked in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and was perfect!
I served it over toasted whole-wheat Israeli cous cous mixed with onions and parmesan:

I made an extra chicken rollatini for my mom that was rolled with some roasted veggies (that she roasted earlier on in the week). She had hers over a salad:

I usually have my mom's version of a meal, but today I had the boy version. I loved the cheesy broccoli filling inside the chicken!

Unfortunately, I had to miss my wine class today too. I at least get to make it up at some point!
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Lesson 64: Bring your momma to school day

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I woke up this morning and peeked out my window to see huge snowflakes coming down and coating my backyard. I thought that school would definitely be closed, but as the morning went on and the snow kept falling, school was still running on schedule. My dad offered to drive me to the train station so that I wouldn't have to dig out my car when I get back from the city. Then, my mom surprised me by asking if it would be a good day for her to come to class with me to observe! I have been dying to have my mom see me in action in the kitchen, so I was very excited. Today was the perfect day for her to come since we were making homemade mozzarella and recipes from the Campagnia region of Italy (where my mom's father is from). My mom inspired me to start cooking and has taught me the basics of cooking and baking, so it was a special treat for me to have her with me today.

I am so excited that I made homemade mozzerella today! It was such a fun, easy process.. my mom and I are going to try and get cheese curd so we can make it at home. There is nothing better than making your own cheese and eating it right away while its warm, gooey, and so fresh.

Each group started out by crumbling about 6 pounds of cheese curd (this was a lot of curd):

Then, we poured hot water (180 degrees) over the cheese curd and let it sit for a few minutes:

We each put on 3 layers of gloves so that the hot water wouldn't burn our hands as we stretched out the curds to form the cheese:

We let it sit for a while longer and formed small balls of cheese. After this, it was ready to eat!

We snacked on some with fresh basil and then made "Mozzarella in Carrozza", a fried mozzarella cheese sandwhich:

My mom helped me with these plating designs!

I also made a fantastic potato dish, "Gatto di Patate". I mixed together cooked potatoes, parmesan, soppressata, egg, half & half, mascarpone, and smoked mozzarella. I layered it in small aluminum cups with some of our fresh mozzerella. I topped each "potato cup" with some more fresh mozz and breadcrumbs. They baked in the oven until they were nice and brown. Unfortunately, mine didn't unmold too nicely for some reason. This is a picture of the other group's plate that was more worthy of a picture than my own:

Other dishes of the day included Agnello Cacio e Uova: Lamb stew with eggs and pecorino:

Perciatelli con Salsa di Pomodoro e Ricotta: A hollow spaghetti with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh basil, pepperoncino, and ricotta. This pasta was so fresh and so creamy from the ricotta. Delicioso!

Pesce all'Acqua Pazza: Sea Bass poached in white wine, garlic, tomatoes, parsley and pepperoncino:

Rigatoni con Cavoifiore: pasta with cauliflower, pancetta, breadcrumbs, and pecorino. This was my favorite dish of the day. I loved the salty flavor of the pancetta, the crunch of the breadcrumbs, and the nuttiness of the pecorino.
The extra potato skins from our potato molds got put to good use. Nora made these tasty stuffed potato skins out of some of the extra ingredients we had on hand. She's so good at utilizing all of the food we have available to us!
I had a lovely day with my mom and was so happy she was able to see what I do every day! Like I said, she has inspired me so much and she is the main reason why I am here today. She supports everything that I do and is the most caring and loving person. I strive to be the amazing woman that she is. Thanks, mom for making today special.

Lesson 63: Chicken Livers!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Have I mentioned how much I love Italian cuisine??? I don't want this week to end! I've eaten more this week at school than any other week and have truly enjoyed everything!

Today's recipes were from the Central Region of Italy. I immediately got to work preparing a batch of pasta dough for our group. Once that was out of the way, I made a very interesting first-course. Honestly, the two recipes I worked on today were the ones I liked the least when reviewing the recipes before class. But, I went into class today feeling very laid back and ready to attack whatever is thrown at me. I didn't request to work on any specific recipes, so I got the last two that the other group members didn't want to work on: chicken liver crostini and artichokes with peas and prosciutto (artichokes are really good, but a pain to trim!) I saw this is a fun an unique challenge. I was going to make chicken livers and make it delicious!

Not only did this crostini have livers in it, but I hated just about every other ingredient that went in it, including anchovies and capers...ugh. I began by sauteing some chopped onions. I added the livers to the pan and got a nice sear on them. Next, I added some white wine and let it reduce out. I then added tomato paste, chicken stock, finely chopped anchovies and capers, and fresh thyme. I let the mixture simmer for a while and pureed it into a smooth, pasty sauce.

The brown mixture didn't look too appealing, but I grabbed a spoon and winced while I tried a bite. It was not bad! I spread some on crostini and added sauteed mushrooms to some of them:

The mushrooms really balanced out the "liver" flavor of the crostini and I actually loved it! Don't get me wrong, I would not go grab a bowl of chicken liver puree and slurp it down, but I did enjoy 2 of these little crostini! I can now add chicken livers to the list of foods I have tried since entering culinary school!

I was able to serve my crostini right away as an antipasto. After cleaning up a bit, I got right to work on my next dish: Carciofi coi Piselli. Like I said, artichokes are a pain in the butt to trim. I'm happy I got some practice on them though just in case I have to prepare them for my final exam! After you trim artichokes it is key to get them right into some acid water so that they don't turn brown! I prepared the artichokes by sauteing them in olive oil with some onions, prosciutto, peas and chicken stock. This was a very nice side-dish!

Other dishes of the day included Triglie All'Anconetana: Red mullet marinated in lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary, then coated in breadcrumbs and wrapped with prosciutto before baked:

Tagliatelle con Ragu Bolognese: This ragu was insanely good! I also love thick cut fresh pasta. We hand cut this pasta by rolling up the sheets of pasta dough and cutting about 1/2 inch strips.

Ribollita: A hearty bean and vegetable soup served with garlic tuscan bread. YUM (A perfect rainy day dish)

Arista di Maiale con Rosemarino: A loin of pork rubbed with rosemary and garlic and roasted in the oven with white wine.

Yet another delicious day. I felt uncomfortably full on my train ride home and had really bad aches in my back.. I have to work on my posture.. or get a massage.

Ummmm more SNOW in the forecast?!?!?!?! You have GOT to be kidding me!

Lesson 62: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Has anyone seen that movie, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"?? I haven't (and have absolutely no desire to), but it made for a good title for today's post, eh? On this cloudy, rainy, dreary day, what better thing to make than meatballs?!

The day's recipes were from the Northeast region of Italy. Our groups divided up the recipes like usual and I immediately got to work on my meatballs ("Polpette Fritte"). These were not your traditional meatballs, which is why I was very intrigued and excited to try them out. It started out with a mix of ground beef, pork, and veal. I soaked some white bread in milk and crumbled the bread into the meat. I also added minced garlic, grated parmesan, eggs, chopped parsley, pine nuts, and raisins. My mom told me that her grandmother used to put raisins and pine nuts into her meatballs, so I loved trying this out. It was actually very good.. I may just have to add these ingredients to meatballs from now on..

I formed the meatballs and coated them in egg and breadcrumbs and pan-fried them in olive oil.

While we were all getting started on our recipes, one person from each group worked on the Antipasto to serve earlier on in class. Henri made our Frico con Patate e Cipolle:

This is essentially onions, potatoes, and lots of cheese! See that brown outer crust? That's pure cheese. (ooey, gooey delicioius cheese that is!) Kim described the dish well saying that it's like a grilled cheese sandwhich when the cheese oozes out and forms a crust on the pan that you pull off and eat (the best part). This was one fabulous (and filling) first course. It definitely gave us energy to finish off the rest of the dishes.

Kim, Henri, and I started working on the Fritto Misto di Mare (fried mixed seafood). I cleaned the squid while Kim filleted the sole and Henri de-veined the prawns. We left the shells and heads on the prawns, since they are meant to be eaten whole. I honestly did not try it because it freaked me out a bit... but I gave it to my brother so we'll see how he reacts.. heh.

Here's the fritto misto all fried up!

Other dishes of the day ingluded Fagiolini con L'Orore di Vaniglia (Haricots Vert with a shallot, parsley, celery mixture, all sauteed in chicken stock and tomato puree). This bean dish was finished with a touch of vanilla extract..interesante!

Zucchini in Scapece (Zuchini fried and served with a drizzle of white wine vinegar and a sprinkle of fresh mint):

Kim made this polenta dish, which was my absolute favorite! Polenta con Sugo di Porri (Soft polenta topped with an Italian sausage and leek ragu):
Nora made this extra dish, which I looooved. It's basically like the gnocchi we made last week, except with a variety of fresh herbs. I loved the fresh flavor of all herbs (especially the mint). She served it with a browned butter sauce:

There was one more dish today that I didn't get a picture of!!!! Minestrone Milanese! Maybe I didn't take a picture because I tasted it and it burnt my tongue so bad. I was probably avoiding it the rest of the afternoon. I'm sure it tasted great (couldn't tell because it burnt off my taste buds). I brought some home though so I'll be sure to have some tomorrow!

Oi, I'm exhausted! To bed early tonight!

Lesson 61: Mangia Mangia!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Today's recipes were from the Northwest region of Italy. It seemed like we had a lot more food than usual today, which can be seen in the picture above. Along with the 7 recipes that were planned for today, some students made some extra recipes with the available ingredients. So lets get to the food, shall we?

Insalata di Olive, Sedano, Aglio e Cipolla: I made this salad with thinly sliced celery hearts, green olives, red onions, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh oregano, and a minced hot cherry pepper. The salad marinated until we ready to serve it at the end of class.

I also made the Costolette alla Valdostana, a breaded porkchop stuffed with fontina cheese. I pan fried the chops and finished them in the oven. They were finished with white truffle butter.

The Riso Al Gorgonzola was a risotto dish finished with gorgonzola, heavy cream, and fresh parsley:

The Calamari Ripieni di Gamberi was a classic seafood dish from Liguria consisting of squid stuffed with chopped shrimp and breadcrumbs. The stuffed squid was then braised in white wine and tomatoes for an hour.

We made a batch of fresh pasta again today to go along with the Ragu di Cinghiale, a wild boar ragu:

The Cipolline Agro Dolce was an amazing side-dish. These cipolline onions were slow roasted with sugar, red wine vinegar, fresh sage leaves, and extra virgin olive oil. Yum!Each group made this final dish a little bit differently: Sfogliata di Radicchio. This is supposed to be a puff pastry tart with radicchio, golden raisins, anchovy fillets, and black olives. Our group decided to eliminate the puff pastry and grill the radicchio to make a warm radicchio salad. The other groups incorporated the puff pastry in different ways.

The extra puff pastry was used to make pastry parmesan twists! I've made these once for a sorority pot luck in college :)

We also had some beautiful heirloom tomatoes that we roasted with some garlic and olive oil:

Another student made a "dessert risotto" by making a rice pudding with the arborio rice:

There was also another dessert served in martini glasses, but I got caught up in cleaning at the end of class and forgot to take a picture :(

Today was another great class! Italian cuisine is definitely my favorite!

Miso Glazed Cod

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tonight I had a lovely dinner that I just had to share with you all.  It has been especially difficult thinking of meal ideas for my family because of several allergies and food preferences from my parents.  I thought of a dish that would satisfy everyone, a fish recipe that my mom has made several times before: Ellie Krieger's Miso Glazed Cod. I have always loved it and was really excited for her to make it again tonight.

I made a spinach & mushroom side-dish that complemented the fish perfectly.  Here is the recipe:
1 T. coconut oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 bag frozen mixed mushrooms, defrosted
1 package fresh baby spinach
2 tsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1 tsp. Emeril's Asian Essence
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Heat a large saute pan on medium-high.  Add the coconut oil.  Saute the shallot and ginger until soft (1-2 min).  Add the mushrooms to heat through.  Add the spinach and lower the heat to medium-low.  Cook until the spinach has wilted.  Mix in the Bragg's Aminos, Emeril's Essence, and red pepper.  Serve and top with sesame seeds.

It was a treat to have my mom cook the fish.  I'm sure all cooks can relate when I say I don't really enjoy the meals I make as much when I spend a lot of time cooking them.  

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I'm excited for the amazing Italian recipes I'll be cooking up in school this week!

Lesson 60: Pasta Heaven!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Yesterday's class began with a written exam on the recipes we have made the past couple of weeks.  I actually don't mind test-taking, especially when it's just on memorizing the methods/procedures of recipes (much better than taking any business exams in college).  I think I did well, so the day was off to a good start!

This class was probably my favorite class so far in culinary school.  We spent the day making fresh pasta with classic sauces.  Pasta is comfort food to me since my mom's homemade pasta with tomato sauce was always my favorite as a child (and still is!).  I was all smiles today while kneading my very own pasta dough and rolling it out into thin sheets.

Every student made their own batch of pasta dough (even though we only used one batch per table).  The dough is made from 3 simple ingredients: flour, salt, and eggs.  We each had a mound of flour with a pinch of salt and made a well in the center.  We cracked 3 eggs into the well and gradually incorporated it into the flour with a fork.  Once it started forming a dough, we brought it together with our hands and kneaded it until it was firm.  We let our balls of dough rest while we prepared the sauces and other components to our dishes.

Here is an example of creativity in the kitchen:

After the dough rested, it was time to roll it out using the pasta machine:

Along with the pasta, we also made gnocchi.  Gnocchi is also super easy to make, and soo delicious!  We baked potatoes and scooped out the filling into a ricer.  We riced the potatoes on a sheet pan in a single layer so they would cool quickly.  After they cooled, we mixed the potatoes with a few handfuls of flour (one handful for every potato used), egg yolks (one yolk for every potato), salt, and nutmeg.  Once the dough was formed into a log, we let it cool in the refrigerator.

We formed out gnocchi by rolling out the dough into a very thin log, cutting small pieces, and rolling each piece on the back of a fork.  The gnocchi take only a couple of minutes to cook and are done when they come to the surface of the boiling water.  I made a cherry tomato sauce to top the gnocchi by sauteing cherry tomatoes and onions in some melted butter and olive oil.

We used our pasta dough to make 2 types of pasta: ravioli and trenette.  For the ravioli, we made a filling with roasted butternut squash, Italian amaretti cookies, mostarda di frutta, parmesan, and nutmeg.  Making the ravioli brought back memories of making homemade ravioli in Italy with my sister back in September :)

The ravioli was served with a browned butter sage sauce MMMM!

The trenette was served with potatoes, haricot vert, and a pesto sauce made with garlic, pine nuts, basil, olive oil, and parmesan.

We even had a few different types of prosciutto to taste with our pasta feast!  

After class, I dusted the flour off my face and walked around the city to kill a couple of hours before my first night of wine class.  

Wine class was absolutely wonderful!  Richard Vayda is the instructor and he is just full of information about wine.  I learned so much!  The room was set up very impressively (I wish I got a picture..maybe next week) with 9 wine glasses, a spit bucket, and a binder of information at each seat.  There was a beautiful cheese spread with cheeses that were paired with the wines we tasted.  Here are the 9 wines I tasted last night and my notes on them:

1. Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, Zonin 2008: $10   Light, citrus, grapefruit, slightly acidic, bright, pleasant, fresh
2.  Hawke's Bay, Chardonnay, Babich Wines 2007: $18   Clean, Sweet, fruity, apple/pear, heavier than the Pinot Grigio
3.  Alsace, Pinot Gris, 'Reserve Personnelle', Trimbach 2001: $38 Heavy, rich, thick, smooth, the flavor lingers, ripe apple, honey  **My favorite white wine of the night
4.  Champagne, Brut, Nicolas Feuillatte NV: $32  Light, apple, vanilla, wood, slightly acidic, dry
5.  Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, J. Vidal-Fleury 2005: $32  SWEET, honey, apricot, dry
6.  Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir, Benton-Lane 2007: $18  Light, sour, cherry, young, nice acidity
7.  Medoc, Cru Bourgeois, Chateau Greysac 2004: $20  Heavy, dark, dense, tannins, blackberry, cedar
8.  Valle de Uco, 'Numina', 'Gran Corte', Salentein 2004: $43 Fruity, ripe, blackberries, dark in color ** My favorite red wine of the night
9.  Porto, 'Six Grapes Reserve', Graham's, NV: $30  Heavy, thick, sour cherry, very alcoholic, dark purple in color

I really enjoyed the class and learned so much.  Can't wait to try more wines and learn more about the different wine-making regions in the next class!

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