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Archive for September, 2008

Can’t keep a good recipe down

I have a weakness for fat. It’s so delicious, and flavors things so well: butter, cream, sour cream, bacon, cheese…it plays a big part of my cooking philosophy: rustic food done well with simple flavors and the best ingredients. Unfortunately, this philosophy is why I am so overweight: I love my own cooking so much I gobble it all up, lick my plate, and beg for more.

Hands down my favorite dish is Chicken Madeira: paillards of chicken in a sort of shallot and mushroom sauce suprême. I love serving this with buttered noodles or decadent mashed potatoes made with cream and butter. No, it’s no low-cal, but it speaks to some part of me that is now satisfied and blissful.

Chicken Madeira

Chicken Madeira
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Chicken with Morels

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half transversely (that is, horizontally)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
2 TBSP. cooking oil (I use canola)
4 TBSP. unsalted butter
2-3 large shallots, minced
1# mushrooms, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. Madeira wine
2 oz. dry white vermouth
4-8 oz. chicken stock
The juice of one lemon
8 oz. full-fat sour cream (My favorite brand: Breakstone)
8 oz. heavy cream

Chopped parsley
Hot, buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes

Preheat your skillet (I used a large, rectangular electric skillet) with the oil and 2 TBSP. of the butter over medium heat (about 350*F). Dredge the chicken in heavily seasoned AP flour and saute in two batches until lightly golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the rest of the butter to the pan along with the minced shallots and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to draw out the moisture of the veg. Saute over medium heat until the shallots and mushrooms are reduced and deeply carmelized, about 5-10 minutes. In the last 30-60 sec. add the garlic. Don’t do this step over too high of heat or you will scorch the veg before you have the opportunity to dehydrate them and concentrate their flavours.

Add the madeira, vermouth and 4 oz. of the chicken stock and scrape up the fond; reduce. Add the lemon juice, sour cream and heavy cream and blend. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced. If the sauce becomes too thick, add the remaining 4 oz. of chicken sauce.

To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsely, adjust the seasonings, and serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Nosh, drink lots of wine and be happy.

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The Omnivore’s Hundred

I’d like to think I’m working towards being a more perfect omnivore. I actively seek new foods and will try anything once. I do have my fair share of food phobias, which makes me unhappy. However, just like Jeffery Steingarten, I am trying to rid myself of my food phobias through exposure. Some day soon I’ll reveal my long list of irrational food phobias so you can point and laugh. For now, however, on with the meme:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison (my uncle hunts deer and makes his own venison charcuterie, too.)
2. Nettle tea (definitely trying this soon, it’s supposed to improve kidney and adrenal function.)
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (homemade strawberry wine, blech)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes (grown myself!)
22. Fresh wild berries (blackberry bramble behind the creek. I sound like a hick.)
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (scary, but delicious. New Orleans, LA.)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (Irene’s, New Orleans, LA)
29. Baklava (I actually make a really good baklava and sometimes add chocolate! Heresy, I know.)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (I prefer rosewater lassi.)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (mmmmmmmmm.)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea (Devonshire cream!)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (My aunt Debbie is a lush, I tells ya.)
39. Gumbo (Gumbo Shop, New Orleans, LA.)
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat (Star of India, Fort Wayne, IN.)
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala (Taj Mahal, Fort Wayne, IN.)
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (Too sweet, insipid.)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear (Delicious in a cosmo.)
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer (I’d love to make my own, actually.)
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (Most memorable big mac? Sitting in front of the Pantheon, Roma, IT.)
56. Spaetzle (Homemade, of course.)
57. Dirty gin martini (I’m afraid. Olives creep me out.)
58. Beer above 8% ABV (C’mon. Too easy.)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips (My dog can have them.)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (check, check, check, check. I love fried dough.)
68. Haggis (Surprisingly delicious. Odd texture. Highland Games, Ann Arbour, MI.)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong (Blech.)
80. Bellini (Harry’s Bar, Venice, IT. 14EUR each. Still not sure if it was worth it.)
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict (Makes me fear for me life every time.)
83. Pocky (Oh, how I love thee.)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash (I make a killer goulash with homemade buttered spaetzle.)
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam (Oddly compelling as a child or a drunkard.)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa (I keep a jar in my fridge for my tapas parties. It is really versitle.)
94. Catfish (mmm fried with tartar sauce and lots of lemon.)
95. Mole poblano (I’ve yet to have a really spectacular mole. They’ve all fell flat so far.)
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I’d love to go through the year and mark off what I have tried. The most recent eats I tried was the curried goat. It was tasty. My very first experience with goat was goat pastor-style at Topolobampo in Chicago. It was on sopas with salsa verde. I’m hoping my next experience will be pho. There is a new noodle shop open downtown that I want to try. They have crazy hours, no parking, and cash only. It sounds like it will be delicious already.

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