Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Coq au Vin...

Croissant, Souffle,  Coq au Vin - who dose not love the sounds of french words in their kitchen?!?  I love to prepare Coq au Vin it is so elegant, rich and seeped with flavor.  It sounds so up scale but the literal translation is "rooster in red wine"  not so appetizing but when Julia Child says it there is an aire of excitement behind the dish. 

The classic Coq au Vin is made in a red wine, bacon and onions - so vibrant in color and flavor.  A little different version of this classic french dish is made with white wine or Riesling wine depending on the region of France it is being prepared.  I prefer the Riesling version of this spectacular meal. 

Right about now your thinking a Riesling Coq au Vin that sounds so complicated and involved but trust me it is one of the easiest meals to prepare and the bonus is it tastes better the next day when reheated.  It is the perfect holiday dish that is gauranteed to impress. 

So practice your best Bon Appetit to compliment your presentation of 
Coq au Vin! 

12 Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 Cup Bacon or Pancetta (diced)
***1 Leek (cleaned and finely sliced)
3 Bay Leaves
8 oz. Oyster Mushrooms (torn)
4 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms (sliced)
1 Bottle Riesling Wine

In a dutch oven or heavy pot cook the bacon or pancetta till crisp
Add the leeks, season with pepper and cook for 1 minute
Season both sides of the chicken liberally with salt/pepper 
Add the seasoned chicken, bay leaves, mushrooms and the whole bottle of wine
Season mixture with salt/pepper
Bring to a boil
Cover and simmer for 1 hour
Remove Bay Leaves
Serve warm with crusty bread and buttered egg noodles 

***Leeks tend to be very sandy inside
Slice leeks only reserving the white portion of the stalk
Place leeks in a colander and rinse well before adding to the recipe

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...

Happy Thanksgiving To All...
I hope That Your Kitchen Is Filled With Lots Of 
Love, Family, Friends, 
Turkey, Vegetables, Pies & Drinks
Enjoy Every Minute Of The Holiday And Eat Well

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oreo Truffles Anyone...

Surprise...I made a dessert item!  

If you have been following this blog or know anything about me you know that baking is not my favorite activity in the kitchen.  By all means I can do it if I have to or if the mood strikes me.  This mood usually happens when there is two feet of snow predicted and I know I will be housebound until someone plows me out.  Since it is November and still unseasonably warm in New Jersey the Oreo cookie truffles were because I had to.   At first it seemed like a great idea suggested by my lovely sister, Nicole (she and I were hosting a dinner party).   I was all for it up until the day I actually had to make them and that is when I began dreading the Oreo cookie project.  I am at the store thinking how is this going to work, the directions for the recipe seem too easy and this Almond Bark is uncharted territory.   At this point I am convinced the kitchen, my husband and the greyhounds will all be covered in some type of chocolate goop.  

Here goes -  I pulverize the cookies...that went well.  Mix in the cream cheese...so far so good.  I roll the mix into balls without a sweat.  I set the timer to make sure my little gems set in the fridge.  10 long minutes pass and now its time for the dipping process.  I melt the Almond Bark in the microwave and at this point I think well I can always buy a little sweet treat tomorrow.  It melts like a dream, its like lava in the bowl and I go in for the first dip...with a spoon I roll the cold Oreo ball and the Almond Bark coats its perfectly.  What?!?  Why is my arm not covered in Almond Bark and why didn't my Oreo ball fall apart.  Let's keep going before something happens and something did happen...my Oreo creations turned into beautiful, chocolate covered truffles that tasted amazing. 

Total Time: About 1 hour

1 lb. Package of Oreo Cookies (minus 8 cookies)
1 (8oz.) Package of Cream Cheese (softened)
12 oz. Almond Bark Chocolate Coating 
Special Equipment...
Parchment Paper and a Non-Stick Cookie Sheet

Place the cookies in the food processor or blender and pulverize into a powder
Take cookie crumbs and place in a large bowl
Mix in the cream cheese until no white is showing
Roll into balls and place on parchment paper covered cookie sheet
Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes
Place Almond Bark in microwave safe bowl 
Melt in 30 second increment, stirring after each increment until warm and smooth
Remove Oreo balls from fridge 
Carefully roll each Oreo ball in melted Almond Bark and place back on parchment paper to set 
Make about 36 Oreo truffles 

***Place Oreo ball on a tablespoon to gently coat with chocolate

Monday, November 7, 2011

Red Pasta Take II

Do we have to fight for the right to eat healthy...I think not.  With a little imagination and some great flavor a dish is born.  I am always experimenting with flavor and adding something new to the food rotation in my kitchen and my latest and greatest, of course, has a story.

Once upon a Saturday night I sit quietly with my glass red wine and my new lap top computer.  I decide to scour the Internet in search of recipe contests.  I figure why not a recipe contest I wrote a cookbook.  So I begin the hunt.   To my amazement there just under a million recipe contests.  Tuna, wine, vegetables, cakes, turkey - where to begin.  I click on vegetable side dishes something I love to make and I successfully submit a recipe to Food 52 for my Onion Sage Tart- which if you were wondering I did not win.  Onward to the next recipe contest.  The Aetna Healthy Food Fight.  Interesting...heart healthy, low sodium....Ok let's give this a whirl.

I begin putting in the ingredients for my Red Pasta dish and it bounces back saying too much of this, too little of that, no protein, etc. etc. etc.  The parameters of this contest are very specific.  Ok I amened the recipe maybe I should say I totally revamp the recipe and create something new.   It has the basic idea of my original recipe but it is completely different.  Here goes...

1 lb. of Whole Wheat Pasta
3 Garlic Cloves (peeled)
1 (12oz.) Jar of Roasted Red Peppers
1/2 Cup Shredded Rotisserie Chicken (dark meat preferred)
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Parmesan Reggiano Grated Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Drizzling

Well it sounds pretty good despite the fact it has whole wheat pasta as the main ingredient - as you can tell by now whole wheat pasta is not a favorite among my kitchen.  The recipe passes the test and it gets posted to the Aetna Healthy Food Fight website among the other recipe submissions.  I vote on it and so does my husband.  Watch out 2 total votes for the imaginary Red Pasta dish.

About 2 weeks pass and I get an e-mail that this recipe has been chosen to compete At the Apple Festival in Bucks County Pennsylvania and I have 24 hours to respond if I will be competing or not.  This is all very exciting but the big question remains what in the world does this recipe taste like?  So my husband and I decide to go ahead and respond "Yes" to the invite and take the recipe for a test kitchen run the following night for dinner. I follow my recipe exactly and WOW it is so delicious even with whole wheat pasta.  We decide to take it to the Aetna Healthy Food Fight Challenge  - Apple Festival in Bucks County!

So after a week long of e-mailing back and forth with mt representative at Healthy Food Fight we are a go.  Time slot secured, ingredients on the shopping list, directions, etc.  I get another e-mail...unfortunately we cannot provide you with a Rotisserie Chicken it is considered a pre-cooked item and not an ingredient.  I am now disqualified from the Healthy Food Fight Challenge.  I send back a polite e-mail and decide it was not meant to be but was meant to be was the creation of Red Pasta Take II.

So I challenge all of you to make this recipe and know that this dish is heart healthy and delicious.  We do not ever have to settle for healthy eating.  Healthy eating comes from great, fresh ingredients and it can be done with or without a Rotisserie Chicken.

Cook the pasta according to directions and drain well
In the meantime place garlic cloves and roasted red peppers (with the juice)
In a food processor/blender and process or blend on slow until garlic and peppers are minced
In a small skillet, heat Extra Virgin Olive Oil and season with pepper
Add chicken and garlic/pepper mixture to skillet and cook till warmed
Toss mixture with hot pasta and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Top with cheese
Serve alongside a garden salad