Monday, August 30, 2010

Beer Braised Chicken

So for some reason I totally love Claire Robinson from 5 Ingredient Fix. Plus, 5 ingredients for a tasty dish? Yes please! I watched her make this beer braised chicken and knew I had to make it! Plus I've never cooked with fennel before, so this was perfect. It was so good!

3 slices thick cut applewood bacon
1 whole chicken, quartered (I just used breasts and thighs)
salt and pepper
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
1 bottle dark beer
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon until nice and crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and crumble when cooled.

Pat the chicken dry and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken on all sides in the pan with the rendered bacon fat, until the outside is brown and crispy. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the fennel to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until caramelized and tender, about 10 minutes. Add a little water if the fennel starts to burn. Pour in the beer and bring it to a simmer. Nestle the chicken and all the resting juices, breast side down, in the fennel and beer. Cover and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, flipping the chicken over after 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and put over low heat. Remove the chicken pieces to a warmed serving platter. Add the vinegar to the sauce and simmer to reduce to a thicker consistency, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces, top with the crumbled bacon and serve immediately. If you want a smoother sauce, just strain the sauce after it has reduced.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcakes

I've been in the mood to make cupcakes lately and decided to try this delicious strawberry cupcake recipe. It certainly did not disappoint and I could totally eat the frosting with a spoon! They were a hit at work!

2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature

1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
pinch of coarse salt
3-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

For the frosting:

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter (sort of)

While on vacation at our cottage a few weeks ago, I saw Ina Garten whip up this tasty salmon platter on her show. It looked simple enough and oh so delicious. I didn't quite have all the fixings on hand so I made do with what I had. I didn't have the haricots verts, tomatoes, watercress or olives. Lol, so why even bother calling this salmon nicoise? Because I can and it was delicious. I also cut the recipes in half. I added some radishes to the plate and used spinach in place of the watercress. I guess I could have thrown some capers on the plate to add the saltiness that was missing from the olives/anchovies, but obviously I didn't. The salmon marinade was excellent as was the dressing. Maybe one day I'll try making this again the correct way. But for now, below is what I did.

2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 lbs. skin-on fresh salmon fillets
1.5 lbs. small Yukon gold potatoes
3-4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in half
1 bunch spinach
6-7 radishes

1/8 cup champagne vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar)
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

For the marinade, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, mustard, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Place the salmon on a sheet pan that has been covered in aluminum foil, and drizzle the marinade over the salmon. Allow the salmon to sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot off the heat and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Leave the potatoes to steam for 15-20 minutes, until tender but firm. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in thick slices and set aside.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until it is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the skin and break into large pieces.

For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Set aside.

Arrange the salmon, potatoes, radishes, spinach and eggs on a large platter. Drizzle some vinaigrette over the fish and vegetables and serve the rest in a pitcher on the side.