Enjoy! Because life is too short to deprive the palate!


Orange Juice Chicken with Sweet Onions and Bell Peppers

Can someone explain to me where the first week of February went?! Or the last week of January for that matter?

I guess this is what our parent's always told us about growing older... I'm half expecting to wake up middle-aged and married tomorrow! Oy vey, and I remember when it took a lifetime to turn 16.

Here is where my head has been:

In two days I leave for Alaska to help my most fabulous Northern Californian friend, Rachel, move. This is a bittersweet event as I am so excited for such an adventure but sad that I will have to say goodbye to my best friend in the bay area. She's off to experience incredible things and while I am selfishly sad to see her go, I am so very happy for her new life and grateful that I get to be there to help set it all in motion. So come Wednesday, if you would, please send your luck and love to Rachel whom I greatly admire for having such strength to take control of her time and go forward with a wonderfully life-changing move. Love you lady :]

So in the spirit of time and grasping the most out of every minute, I present you with a sweetly simple yet fabulously flavorful weekday meal that won't break the bank either! Plus, even the clean-up is quick; this recipe requires only two pans (one if you use instant rice!), which means you can spend your time on the most important part: devouring every last delicious bite :]

For this recipe you will need a large sauté pan, a wooden spoon, and a saucepan to prepare the rice.

Orange Juice Chicken with Sweet Onions & Bell Peppers
  • 1 Cup Long Grain Rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 2 Boneless Chicken Filets,6 oz each, fresh or defrosted if previously frozen
    • Optional: Blanche up to 24 hours before with 1 tsp Salt and 1 tsp Sugar in a bowl of water, covered in the refrigerator.
  • 1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 Sweet Vidalia Onion, cut into thin strips
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, de-stemmed
  • 2 springs Fresh Rosemary, de-stemmed
  • 3/4 Cup Orange Juice
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
*Begin by preparing the rice according to package instructions. 
*In a large sauté pan heat the butter over medium high until melted. Sprinkle each side of the chicken filets with salt and pepper and add to pan, cooking approximately 3 minutes on each side. Add the fresh thyme and rosemary.
*Turn the heat to high, add the olive oil and toss in the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Cook, shaking the pan frequently so that the vegetables sear evenly, about 4-5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper, and cayenne. 
*Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board, dice and return to pan.
*Next, add the orange juice, pouring over the chicken to completely coat all ingredients in the pan. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 2 minutes until chicken is tender yet cooked through. 

To Serve: Serve immediately, hot out of the pan over rice. Sprinkle in some extra heat with an added pinch of cayenne at the end or top with a dash of fresh cracked black pepper.

*Serves 2-3 and takes approximately 20 minutes start to finish* 

Wine Pairings: Chicken and onion dishes typically pair well with a crisp Chardonnay. I typically gravitate towards Red Wines but in an effort to expand my Vino horizons I have been experimenting with various whites lately. My mother turned me onto La Crema, which makes a lovely 2009 Vintage Sonoma Coast Chardonnay which subtly twists tones of toasted oak and butterscotch to produce a well-balanced round and nutty flavor. I much prefer an oaky Chardonnay to an acidic fruity palate and this bottle blends the notes perfectly. 

And there you have it; a healthy, no-hassle meal that lets you eat gourmet without the added fuss or expense. Try tossing in kalamata olives before adding the orange juice for an extra touch of color and flavor. 

Happy Chinese New Year to all my fellow Rabbits, it is our year! Happy Feasting Friends and expect my next blog to be coming at you from an ice cave in Alaska!

Enjoy :]

<3 Marea


Black Forest Ham & Three Cheese Cookies

This recipe comes to you directly from Martha Stewart's magical mind. I saw these delicious morsels while perusing her site and decided I had to make them asap. I typically tweak a recipe to fit my palate or make small adjustments depending on what I am pairing them with; but this recipe was nearly perfect. I simply switched up the cheeses to make use of the decadent selection I had hiding in my fridge and wah-lah! Deliciously delightful and not what you'd typically expect from a cookie. Plus the rosette design makes for a great companion to an appetizer spread or a savory snack for later. Martha designed this recipe to be thumbprint cookies; after piping them onto the baking sheet she made an indent with her thumb. After baking she then pressed small cubes of gruyere into the indents. I did this with one batch but also elected to make some without as the extra cheese made for a heavier cookie, and I didn't want my guests to fill up too quickly. Find Martha's exact Recipe here: Ham and Gruyere Thumbprints

For this recipe you will need a food processor or chopper, large saucepan, a large bowl, mixing spoons, a pastry bag (optional, you could cut the corner off a large ziploc instead), and a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or tin foil.

Black Forest Ham & 3 Cheese Cookies

  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Black Forest Ham, minced
  • 1 cup Cheese (I used Swiss, Gruyere, and Parmesan), finely blended
    • Plus extra cubes to press into the center, if you so chose
*Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. 

*Using a food processor or chopper, pulse the ham and cheeses separately until finely minced.

*In a large saucepan bring the butter, salt, and water to a rapid boil. Add the flour and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool for 2 minutes. 

*Transfer to a large bowl and add 4 eggs, one at a time, until all are fully blended. Next stir in the pepper, ham, and cheese. 

*Spoon the batter into a pastry bag (or large ziploc) and pipe into rosettes onto a lined baking sheet. If you so choose, make a small imprint in the center with your thumb. 

*Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan at least once, until the cookies are a delicious golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately. If you are going to add the extra cubes of cheese, do so as soon as the cookies exit the oven. This will allow the cheese to melt into the thumbprint. 

Wine Pairings: I experimented with various cheeses and different drink pairings and I encourage you to do the same! White wines typically fair better with cheese pairings due to the fat content in the dairy, which can mute the characteristics in red wines. Chardonnay pairs quite well with the Gruyere or a mild cheddar. If you make this recipe using goat cheese (which is delicious!) try pairing it with a Sauvignon Blanc. If you use heavier cheeses such as a brie or camembert pick a sparkling wine or champagne. 

This was my first experience with a real live pastry bag and I must admit I fell in love just a little. I didn't realize how much fun I was missing using actual decorating tips. The rosette design definitely kicks up the elegance a notch and makes these cookies even more exciting to bake and eat. 

Enjoy :] 

<3 Marea

Linking up to The Friday Potluck @ Ekat's Kitchen


Baked Brie with Fig Jam in a Puff Pastry

Is it really January 12th already?? Where does the time go? 

I hope everyone has had a fabulous Holiday Season and are settling into 2011 with great ease and flair. I, for one, have not stopped moving for the past three weeks. Christmas was amazing; full of fantastic feasts, fabulous family and friends, and far too many perfect presents. We were all spoiled silly at my household. I then got to kick off the New Year with a city trip and several days showing off my new home, celebrating life and positivity with my wonderful friend Amber and her boyfriend Rob. The day they left I went straight to work, ringing in two back to back twelve hour days, before I packed up and headed out to play in the snow in Tahoe for the weekend with my new favorite friend Rachel. Have I mentioned how much I love snow?

 Home Monday night, work all day Tuesday, and that brings us to today; my first day of semi-relaxation (minus caring for my mother who just came out of the hospital and tackling piles of laundry! Whew.) More importantly, it is finally time for a blog post!

So there is my long winded explanation for my absence and my segue into the New Year. I don't know how you kitchen gods and goddesses find time for daily blogging while raising families, running households, or holding down careers! I admire you all. My New Year's resolution is definitely to find more time for my recipes. And since I am applying for my business license and getting my kitchen certified I do see this as a resolution at which I will most likely succeed! So cheers to you all and thank you for the continued support and positivity!

And now I present you with a very simple yet exceedingly mouthwatering appetizer: The Infamous Baked Brie. I was first introduced to this delicious dish by my friend Jackie in college and have been pulling it out for dinner parties ever since. Baked Brie is an exquisite starter and although it can be easily prepped and prepared, with a few finishing touches it will look nothing less than gourmet.

For this recipe you will need a parchment or tin-foil lined baking sheet, a knife, a pastry brush, and measuring cups.

Baked Brie with Fig Jam
  • 1 15oz Round of Brie Cheese
  • 1 Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup Fig Jam, or Jelly of your choosing (I love Apricot and Raspberry!)
  • 1 egg, beaten + 1 tsp Water
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Raspberries
  • Crackers, for Serving
*Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. 

*Carefully slice the wax away from the top of the brie round. Trim the wax from the edges of the brie as well, but do not remove completely.

*Remove the thawed puff pastry dough and lay it out on a flat surface. Center the brie round on the dough and cut about 2 inches off the dough, so that the edges when folded will come up around the sides but not cover the top of the brie round.

*Using your knife cut thin strips from the edges of the excess puff pastry. If you do not have enough you can cut the strips from a second piece of dough. You need 8 in total. Set aside.  

*Wrap Place the brie round in the center of the remaining puff pastry sheet. Spread the top with a thick layer of jam. Pinch the puff pastry up around the edges of the baked brie as you would a pie crust. 

*Now layer the puff pastry strips, criss-crossing them over the top of the brie round in a lattice design. Brush the top and sides of the puff pastry with the egg wash using a pastry brush. 

*Place the brie on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until the dough has reached a beautiful golden brown color. 

To Serve: Remove from the oven and place on serving dish. Garnish with the rosemary sprigs and raspberries and serve immediately with crackers. 
Wah-lah! A lovely start to a fancy meal!

This can be pre-prepared and frozen for an even quicker dinner party addition. Simply defrost and bake before your guest arrive.

This dish is also fabulous with fresh sliced pears, honey, and walnuts. Or you can make a savory brie using garlic and herbs. Have fun with it!

Happy New Year's Friends and Happy Feasting!



Linking up to Mangoes and Chutney's


Mini Caprese: Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, & Basil Bites

Here's a quick and easy appetizer idea that takes minimal effort, looks dashingly sheik, and boasts the beautiful colors of Christmas! Not to mention, it's bite-sized and delicious, a perfect pairing for a Christmas Cocktail party. C'mon who doesn't love caprese?

Check out my other seasonal twist on Caprese Salad: Sliced Tomato Summer Salad

Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Bites
  • 1 pack Cherry Tomatoes (or however many you need to accommodate your guests!)
  • 1 wedge/package of Mozzarella Cheese
  • Several Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (optional)
*Using a very sharp tomato knife (or serrated knife) cut a thin slice off the top of each cherry tomato. Using a melon baller or metal spoon, carefully scoop out the center of each cherry tomato; do not scrap the edges, only scoop out about 1/2 tsp from each tomato. Discard the centers.

*Carefully cut a very thin slice off the bottom of each tomato. This will allow them to stand up straight on your serving plate. 

*Next, slice the mozzarella into 1/4 inch or smaller squares and tuck them into the centers of the tomato.

*Using a very sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut the basil leaves into long thin strips. Roll the strips up around themselves, and tuck them next to the mozzarella. 

*TO SERVE: Arrange the tomatoes on your platter or serving plate and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and a crack of fresh black pepper. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and wah-lah!

I made these caprese bites, as well as several other "tapas-style" fancy finger foods for my Christmas Party this past friday. I will be updating throughout the week with the recipes to the other goodies I prepared, so stay tuned!

Enjoy :]

<3 Marea


Savory Eggs Benedict with Sautéed Arugula and Shallots- Daring Cook's December Challenge!

Breakfast for dinner is one of those rare yet decidedly delicious events in my household, and last night I saw it as the perfect way to serve up this month's Daring Cook's Challenge. 

"Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num."

While these kind ladies did provide us with recipes, the mandatory part of this month's challenge was the art of poaching an egg. I chose to forgo the recipe and cook up some eggs benedict the way I like it to taste. When out to breakfast, I'm always torn between the florentine and the classic benedict because I want the meat and the greens. So I decided that my recipe would definitely have both. One staple that is always in my refrigerator (and in my garden!) is arugula. I thought the delicate peppery flavor of these sautéed greens with a few slices of shallot and some butter would make a great addition to my benedict dish. 

Before we dive right into the recipe let's talk about "the art of poaching an egg", which for me, is definitely an art. There are a few factors that need to be set in place to procure the perfect poached egg. First of all, you need a skillet that will hold approximately 3 inches worth of water. Adding a pinch of salt and tsp of white vinegar to the water will help the whites harden more quickly and stay together better. Other tips include breaking the eggs into a shallow bowl or coffee cup to ensure that you do not crack the yolk, and also to make the process of pouring the egg into the water easier. I experimented with using a large deep spoon to ladle the egg into the water and found this technique worked best for me. Another trick is bringing the water to a boil and then reducing it to just under a boil before you add the eggs. And finally, gently swirling the water before adding each egg will help to keep the whites together. 

For this recipe you will need a double boiler or two saucepans that fit inside each other, a 3+inch deep skillet, a whisk, a frying pan, a large spoon or small bowl, a slotted spoon, and a good knife. 

Eggs Benedict with Sautéed Arugula and Shallots

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 English Muffins, halved
  • 4 Slices Canadian Bacon 
  • A handful of Arugula Leaves
  • 1/2 Shallot, sliced
  • 1/2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • Hollandaise Sauce:
    • 3 Egg Yolks
    • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Chilled and cut into Tbsp.
    • Juice from 1/2 Lemon
    • 1/2 Tbsp Warm Water
    • 1 tsp Sugar
    • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder 
    • Cayenne, Salt and Pepper, to taste

*Begin by making your hollandaise sauce. Using a double boiler or two slightly different sized saucepans that can rest one inside the other, bring about 2 cups of water to a light boil. In the smaller saucepan whisk the egg yolks with the 1/2 Tbsp of water. Reduce the boiling water to a simmer and place the pan containing the yolks over the water (without touching the pan to the water!) and heat, whisking rapidly. As the yolks begin to thicken, squeeze in the lemon juice, whisking continually. 

*Whisk in the butter, one Tbsp at a time, allowing it to completely melt before adding the next Tbsp. As the yolks thicken and meld with the butter add the sugar and garlic powder. Continue whisking until all butter is added and melted. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside. 

*In a frying pan melt the 1/2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the arugula and stir to coat with the butter and shallots. Sauté until arugula has wilted, about 1 minute, and then remove from heat. Cover to keep warm. 

*Return the frying pan to the stovetop and heat on high. Add the Canadian Bacon and cook, approximately 2 minutes on each side. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

*While the canadian bacon is cooking, fill your skillet with water 3 inches deep. Add a pinch of salt and a tsp of white vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce to just under boiling and add the eggs following the techniques mentioned above. Depending on how you prefer your yolks cook anywhere from 3-4 minutes. When finished remove your eggs from the water using a slotted spoon and place on a bed of paper towels to dry. Gently pat the edges the egg to remove any excess stray whites. 

*Slice the english muffins into two pieces and toast. I toasted mine in the oven under high broil. 
*Serves 2-4 People*

Someone else thought it looked mighty good too!
TO SERVE: To assemble the benedict place your toasted english muffin halves on the plate and top with one slice of canadian bacon each. Spoon the shallots and arugula over the bacon and top each with one poached egg. Drizzle with the hollandaise sauce and finish with a pinch of cayenne and black pepper. Wah-lah!
I served our benedicts open-faced with a side of pan-fried red potatoes and garnished with thin slices of green onions. 

One big Holiday tradition for our family is good food; Christmas morning, after we've opened all our presents, we start the day off strong with a benedict breakfast. Thanks to this month's Daring Cook's Challenge, I will have the most perfectly poached eggs!

Enjoy :] 



Grilled Hanger Steaks, Caramelized Shallots, & Matchstick Frites with a White Truffle Aioli

For a recent dinner party I wanted to put a classy twist on a classic dish: steak and fries. I wanted a layout that would satiate grown men with hearty appetites but still be delicate and classy for us ladies. After experimenting with my marinade and taking a pairing inspiration from a recipe for Steak and Fries by Martha Stewart, I found a perfect combo - a meal which boasts full palate pleasing flavors and will make a stunning spread for guests.

I found a nifty peeler to julienne vegetables (Safeway- $4 and comes in various colors!) and thought I'd put it to the test making matchstick "frites", which is so much more fun to say than fries, right?! The key is getting them perfectly crispy so they provide that wonderful crunch!

For this recipe you will need a sauté pan, grill pan, baking sheet lined with tin foil, a julienne peeler or mandoline (optional), and a whisk.  

Grilled Hanger Steaks & Caramelized Shallots
  • 1 1/2 lb Hanger Steak
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil- For Marinade+ 4 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided (For Cooking)
  • 1/4 Cup Sherry Vinegar 
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Pressed
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • Cayenne
  • 5 Medium Shallots, halved
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
*Begin by rubbing down the hanger steak with salt, pepper, and cayenne (to your heat preference!). In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup Olive Oil, Sherry, Garlic, Dijon, Worcestershire, and Soy. In a large tupperware, lay out the steak and coat it with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2+ hours. 

*About 20 minutes before the steak has finished marinating, you will want to begin caramelizing your shallots. In a sauté pan heat 2 Tbsp of oil on medium-high. Toss the shallots with the sugar and add to the pan, cooking 2-3 minutes. Shake the pan or stir frequently to ensure even cooking. Add a pinch of salt to speed up the process and season the shallots. Reduce to medium-low, and cook slowly, adding water in 1/4 cup batches as the shallots turn golden. This is called "deglazing" and the water should evaporate quickly while the onions soften and caramelize. This process can take 30-40 minutes. 

*In a grill pan, heat the final 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook, 10-12 minutes on each side. Baste with any remaining marinade and season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Tent with foil when finished cooking, and let sit for ten minutes. 

Matchstick Frites with a White Truffle Aioli 
  • 2 Large Russet Potatoes, peeled
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp White Truffle Oil
For the Aioli:

  • 3 Tbsp White Truffle Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Pinch of: Sea Salt, White Pepper, Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
*Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

*Either using a Julienne Peeler, mandoline, or a very sharp knife, julienne the potatoes into extremely thin, long strips. Toss them with sea salt, and a tsp of white truffle oil and spread them out evenly on a tin-foiled baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake, tossing them frequently and turning the pan to ensure even browning. Let bake for 20 minutes. If you find that your potatoes are not cooking evenly, or are not crisping up enough, broil them on high for 2-3 minutes at the end. 

*In a small bowl, combine the truffle oil and the mayonnaise for the aioli, whisking the oil into the mayonnaise slowly to make an emulsion. Add the remaining ingredients and season to taste. 

*Serves 4-6 people

To Serve: Try to time your frites and steaks so that they will finish in the same general time frame. If needed, reheat your shallots. Using a very sharp knife, slice the hanger steaks, being sure to not cut against the grain (I made this mistake the first time I cooked these steaks and while it was still delicious, the meat was very chewy and tougher than it should have been!) 

Prepare your plates with slices of steak, a garnish of frites, and a dollop of aioli. Pair with a small salad, such as greens topped with cherry and sunburst tomatoes, and tossed with a light vinaigrette.  

Wine Pairings: My lovely friend Rachel brought a bottle of Pinot Noir which was absolutely delightful with the flavors in the meat and goes well with grilled meats. I would also recommend a Syrah which pairs quite nicely with red meats and herbed sauces. 

This meal makes a lovely addition to any winter menu. 

Enjoy :]


Linking this post to Friday Potluck #13 @ EkatsKitchen 


Homemade Chicken Pot Pies

Another cold weather favorite and definite comfort food for me has always been Chicken Pot Pie. This recipe is fairly simple and can be pre-made and frozen, and then baked at a later date. Also, the ingredients are ones you may already have in your pantry and freezer, or ones that you can buy and store ahead of time, which makes this meal good for a midweek, low-key dinner. Plus, if you are cooking for a couple or a small family, this recipe ensures leftovers, which are absolutely delicious for lunch the next day. Of course, if you still have Thanksgiving Turkey leftovers, sub them in! Delicious!

For this recipe you will need: 1- 9inch round Baking Dish, Pie Weights (optional), a Spatula, a Medium Mixing Bowl, Measuring cups and spoons, Wooden Spoon, and a Medium-Sized Frying Pan. 
Chicken Pot Pies
  • 2 Cups or 2 Medium Chicken Breasts, rubbed down with:
    • Garlic Powder, Italian Spices, and Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 Pre-Made or Homemade Pie Crusts (Recipe Here
  • 1/2 Vidalia Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Carrots
  • 1/2 Cup Peas, fresh or previously frozen
  • 1/2 Cup Corn, fresh or previously frozen
  • 1/2 Cup Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/2 Cup Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 Cup Cream
  • 1 bunch of Fresh Sage
  • Several Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
*Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees F.

*In a medium frying pan heat 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil over Medium High heat. Add the seasoned Chicken Breasts and increase heat to High. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and cover. *Chicken should still be slightly pink in the center!*

*While your chicken is cooking, spray your baking dish with canola oil, and press one crust into the bottom and up the edges of the dish. If using, place pie weights on top of bottom crust. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside, but leave oven on.

*In the same pan that you used for the chicken, add the other Tbsp of Olive Oil and heat on Medium High. Stir in the diced onions and cook for 2 minutes, or until slightly softened. Stir in the carrots, peas, and corn, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. 

*In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Pour over the vegetable mixture in the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. 

*While the Vegetable mix is simmering, uncover the chicken and dice into 1/4 inch chunks. Add to the mixture and simmer for another 1 minute. 

*Pour the mixture into your previously baked pie crust and cover with the top crust. Using your fingers, pinch the top crust into the edges of the bottom crust to seal. Return to your preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes, until top crust is golden brown. 

*Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes. Slice and serve hot.

I chose not to add any additional salt as the Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken Soups tend to run fairly salty, but feel free to use your own palate and season to your taste bud's delight! If freezing, skip the 35 minutes of baking time, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer until you are ready to bake and eat.

Enjoy :]

<3 Marea

Linking up to Friday Potluck @ EkatsKitchen.com


After-Thanksgiving Turkey & Mashed Potato Croquettes

'Tis the season for Turkey! While turkey soup and cranberry turkey sandwiches are a definite must-make, I also like to get a little creative with my Thanksgiving leftovers.

So for Seasonal Sunday this week I present: Turkey and Mashed Potato Croquettes; blending all your Thanksgiving favorites into one deliciously crunchy morsel. Paired with gravy, sour cream, or homemade cranberry sauce, these savory croquettes are fun, simple, and serve up a nice spin on your holiday extras.

For this recipe you will need a food processor or chopper, a large, deep frying pan, small sauce pan, whisk, 1 sheet of wax paper, a cookie sheet, and a slotted spoon.

Turkey & Mashed Potato Croquettes 
  • 1 1/2 Cups Turkey, finely minced in a food processor
  • 1/2 Cup Stuffing, finely minced in a food processor with:
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 2 Tbsp Cilantro
  • 1 Cup Mashed Potatoes 
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
*In a food processor, combine turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and garlic. Pulse lightly and then transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with italian seasoning and black pepper. Set aside. 

*In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and one Tbsp of flour, stir to coat. Cook for 2 minutes, adding the second Tbsp of flour after one minute. Pour in the chicken broth and milk, and turn up the heat. Add the garlic powder and bring to a light boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Stir in the final Tbsp of flour and allow to thicken for approximately two minutes. Remove from heat.

*Combine the flour mixture with the turkey mixture. Blend thoroughly. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed (the saltiness of your stuffing, mashed potatoes, and turkey will vary from person to person). Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

  • 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Corn Meal
  • 2 Cups Herbed Breadcrumbs, finely ground
  • 2 large Eggs, whisked with 1 Tbsp cold Milk
  • Wax Paper Lined Cookie Sheet
*On a large plate combine the flour and corn meal and spread out to cover the surface of the plate. On another plate, spread out 1 cup of the bread crumbs. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk. 

*Remove the turkey mixture from the refrigerator and scoop out in 1/4 cup intervals, shaping into rounds. (This will be messy and sticky!) Dredge the rounds in the flour mixture, coating all sides and then dip into the egg mixture. Shake lightly to remove any excess egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs, patting them into the turkey round, to form a thick shell. Set on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  

*Repeat until all croquettes are formed. Let sit, uncovered in the refrigerator, for 1 hour. 

Cooking the Croquettes:
  • Canola Oil, for frying
  • Large, Deep Frying Pan
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Paper Towels, for Drying
*Pour the canola oil into your frying pan, approximately 1/4 inch deep. Heat for 5-8 minutes, or until temperature reaches 370 degrees F. Cook the croquettes in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the pan, until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a bed of paper towels. 

*Makes 8 Large Croquettes

To Serve: Serve the croquettes immediately drizzled with hot leftover gravy, a side of sour cream, and/or topped with cranberry sauce. Pair with a light salad or with a cold side of my Gingered Butternut Squash Soup

With a crispy crunchy shell on the outside, and a creamy savory Thanksgiving twist on the inside, these Turkey and Mashed Potato Croquettes are a great way to reinvent your typical holiday leftovers. 

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving as much as I did! Now onto Christmas! 

Enjoy :]

<3 Marea

Linking up to The Friday Potluck @ Ekatskitchen.com

Turkey Breast- صدر الديك الرومي- صدر الحبش


November's Daring Cook's Challenge: Soufflés!!

I've been so excited about participating in The Daring Kitchen-- and then I go and miss the post date!!! Alas, here is my lovely November Daring Cook's Challenge- still delicious even two days late.

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided many of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

After much research on various methods, I chose to create a savory soufflé using my utmost favorite ingredient: GARLIC. My Roasted Garlic and 3 Cheese Soufflé, which, after a few small tweaks to the flavor, came out absolutely beautifully! The process is fairly tedious but it helps if you create a clean and organized mise en place- plan, gather, and pre-prep. A key to a good soufflé is cooking in a state of constant readiness; this includes the guests! The best part of the soufflé is its glorious moment when it first emerges from the oven, that brilliant rise which every mouth must witness! Even on my second run I wasn't able to capture the full rise in time *ahem, Santa Claus please bring me a better camera pretty please? :]

To complete this recipe you will need: An electric mixer, whisk, saucepan with lid, skillet, and a deep 9-inch glass dish, or 7-8 oven-proof ramekins, or soufflé cups.

Roasted Garlic & 3 Cheese Soufflé

  • 3 Whole Garlic Cloves, tops cut off
  • 3 additional cloves, pressed
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1/2 large Vidalia Onion
  • 3 Thyme Sprigs
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Whole Peppercorns
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Herbed Bread Crumbs, finely ground
  • 5 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 Large Eggs, separated, plus 4 Additional Egg Whites (room temperature!)
  • 1 Cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp Apple Pie Spice
  • 1 Cup Aged Swiss Cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 Cup Beemster Cow's Milk Cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Crystal Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Canola Oil Spray
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Fresh Sourdough for serving

*Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bundle the whole garlic cloves in tin foil and drizzle with the olive oil. Wrap to seal and place in the oven for 1 hour. When finished roasting, uncover and set aside to cool. At this time turn the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

*In a saucepan, bring milk, pressed garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, and pepper to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes, covered.

*Lightly spray individual soufflé cups, or one large round 9 inch glass dish with canola oil. Add 2 Tbsp of Bread Crumbs to each individual dish, or 1/2 cup to the one glass dish. Shake to thoroughly coat the bottom. Set aside.

*In a skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, to create a thick roux. Let simmer, whisking frequently over low heat until lightly browned.

*Strain the milk mixture through a fine mesh sieve and add the liquid to your roux. Bring to a soft boil and simmer, whisking frequently for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

*Vigorously mix in the 4 egg yolks (8 egg whites have been set aside) one at a time. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skins and add. Next whisk in the parmesan and apple pie spice plus 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper.

*In a standing mixer or large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

*Fold in the swiss and beemster cheese to your roux and milk base, alternating between folding in 1/3 of the egg whites. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites and quickly transfer to your soufflé cups or dish. Smooth tops and sprinkle with italian seasoning.

*Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until fully risen and golden brown.

To Serve: Remove from the oven and serve immediately before the center falls, with warm fresh slices of sourdough or crackers. I served my soufflés as appetizers but they can definitely constitute a meal if paired with a light salad, such as a frisée.

Wine Pairings: I suggest pairing with an American Cabernet Sauvignon, such as 2005 Ravenswood Vitners Blend ($12 bottle) which boasts unusually soft tannins, with a more generously round and juicy taste. Also, to play off the flavors of the cheese, you may like to try a 2004 Domaine Lorache ($25) Chablis.

As my guests commented, this soufflé had a distinctly "Christmas-y" "holiday" feel (definitely due to the apple pie spice!) which provided for a warm, cheerful belly and a nice segue into my main course of hanger steaks and matchstick frites! This dish makes a nice edition to any winter menu.

Enjoy :]

<3 Marea
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...