Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sausage, Chicken, Peppers and Potatoes

Farewell to March and heavy winter foods...It was 70F today and it makes me look forward to spring with all of my flowers and vegetables beginning to grow. The other day I saw the ground cracked and the daffodils and crocus' are starting to push their way up to see the sun. Not far behind will be the irises and the phlox; I love the color they are bring to my yard, not to mention the yummy fresh herbs which will start to appear.

This recipe is one from Elodia Rigante's Italian Immigrant Cooking. My boyfriend is half Italian and when we started dating I found this cookbook was just the sort of Italian food that he would eat. I wouldn't say he is a picky eater, but once I started cooking from this cookbook I couldn't stop. I had to finally put it down in order to eat less heavy foods in summer. It also made me aware of just how much olive oil and garlic one could actually consume in a meal was far greater than I had ever used before. I broke down and bought a gallon of olive oil. However, the food is hearty; the portions generous. I haven't even tried out any of the dessert yet.

Sausage, Chicken, Peppers and Potatoes
Serves 4

Rinse a large skillet. While pan is still wet, put over medium heat and add the sausage. Turn the heat down low and sauté until the sausage is browned. Remove the sausage and set aside the bowl.

Sauté the chicken pieces in the oils from the sausage in the skillet. Turn the heat down low and sauté, covered, until the chicken pieces are very tender. Transfer them to the bowl with the sautéed sausage.

In the same skillet, heat up the olive oil, and add the potatoes, peppers, and onions. Brown the vegetables over low heat. Stir in the oregano, and when the vegetables become tender, season them with salt and pepper.

Add the browned sausage and chicken and sauté until all the flavors are mixed together and the sausage and vegetables are tender. For additional spiciness, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes or other chili seasoning.
This reheats very well. Enjoy!

Chicken Biryani American Style

Yet another cookbook with delicious recipes...this one came from Pam Anderson, Perfect One-Dish Dinners.  The recipe I based it on was Chicken Biryani American Style, though like most of my cooking I modified as I went along.

The recipe called this dish distinctly spicy, which I have to disagree with as I tend to like things spicier.  Next time I make this I will definitely make it spicier by  adding more red pepper flakes or add some other chile for more spice.  I would also recommend not adding the cashews as they do not reheat well and are rather chewy.  It is much simpler to add what you would like to each portion.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch chunks
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon grated gingerroot
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon curry
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 roasted cashews

Generously sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; set aside.  Heat half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add half of the onion, ginger and pepper flakes and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and continue to cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute.  Add chicken and stirring constantly and until it looses its raw color.  Add yogurt and lime juice and cook until juice thicken slightly.  Transfer chicken mixture to bowl.  Wipe out pan and return to heat.

Heat other half of the butter, remaining onion and cook, stirring until soft (about 5 minutes).  Stir in rice and saffron.  Then stir in coconut milk, 1/2 of the chicken broth and a little salt.  Cover and bring to a simmer, about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Heat oven to 375F and pour about 1/3 of the chicken mixture into a medium bowl.  Spread remaining rice evening over the bottom of the skillet.  Pour chicken and juices over rice in skillet and then top with remaining rice.  Pour second half of chicken broth over rice and cover the pan with foil.  Bake until heated through and rice starts to crust around the edges, about 30 minutes.  Remove from over, sprinkle with cashews and serve.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Long Pause - Salad without lettuce

After a month of random friends and family staying, eating and socializing, I am back to my blog.  First up really should be the most wonderful recent salad that I threw together this weekend when I was craving fresh vegetables.  I really can't wait until summer comes with all the great fresh ingredients.  In the meantime, I looked to see what I could find that would satisfy such a salad craving.  When I questioned my boyfriend if he wanted to join me in salad eating, he informed me that it wasn't a salad if it didn't have lettuce in it.  While I disagree with him, I explained what I was making and he whole-heartedly ate it with me.  This is a twist on the classic caprese salad since I wanted to balance the colors with the fresh veggies in my refrigerator.

Twisted Caprese Salad
 Since I didn't have large slices of tomatoes, I cut everything into the same sized pieces.  So I chopped the tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and cucumber into bit-sized pieces.  I chopped fresh basil for the top and added a touch of salt and pepper.  Then a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil later, this salad was ready for the eating.