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Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

An Update and a Romantic Treat

My blog, how I have missed it so! I feel like I haven’t cooked in forever, and I know I haven’t updated this poor blog in forever. I feel like my kitchen is almost a stranger to me at this point. We’ve even bought a few pieces of the cherished Le Creuset since I updated last, but the sad part is I haven’t even used it yet! Don’t worry, it has been broken in a few times, but unfortunately for me, it’s been by my husband.  I will get there though, eventually.

My absence is for good reason though; I got a job! Not only did I get a job, but I got a fabulous job that I am loving so much. The only downside is that my free time has been non-existent, which means my hobbies have been put on the back burner. The good news is that I have every intention of figuring out how to manage my time to where I can put my all into this fabulous new job and still have time to do the things I love, like cook and blog. So please hang in there with me because I promise there will be more fabulous stuff to come.

With that all said, it is now time to share with you a recipe that I have been holding on to now since December!  I think this is the perfect time to pass it along though because it would be a great choice for that little romantic holiday we have coming around the corner. It is something that I saw in a Food & Wine magazine and it intrigued me from the first moment I spotted it.  Red wine, chocolate and whipped cream; need I say more?? I think that has romance written all over it! Did I mention that those ingredients resulted in a cake? Yes, a divinely decadent cake. The best part about it is that it is very simple to make, but will wow a crowd (or just that someone special – whichever you choose).

cake 2-crop big

Chocolate Red Wine Cake

Courtesy of Epicurious and Food & Wine

2 cups (250 g/1/2 lb) flour
3/4 cup (100 g/3 1/4 oz) cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (175 g/6 oz) butter
1 3/4 cup (350 g/15 oz) sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups (300 ml/1/2 pt) well-rounded red wine
confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)

Wine Jelly
1/2 cup (125 g/4 oz) Concord grape jelly
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine

Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C/Gas 4). Butter the 9 inch cake pans, line each pan with a round of parchment paper, and brush again with butter. Sprinkle the pans with flour, discarding the excess.

Sift flour with the cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a bowl; set aside. Cream the butter in an electric mixer, beat in the sugar, and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one by one, and then the vanilla, and continue beating 1 to 2 minutes. Sift a third of the flour over the butter mixture and fold them together, using a spoon. Fold in a third of the wine. Add the remaining flour and wine alternately in two batches.

Spread batter in the prepared pans and bake in the oven until the cakes start to shrink from the sides of the pan, 30 to 35 minutes; a metal skewer inserted in the center should come out clean. Let the cakes cool 10 minutes in the pans, then turn them out on a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile make the wine jelly: Melt the jelly with the wine over low heat, stirring gently until combined. Let it cool.

Shortly before serving, sandwich the cake with the cooled jelly. Sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar and transfer the cake to a plate to serve. Top with whipped cream and and a little drizzle of wine jelly if you desire!

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Finger Lickin Good

Like most people, I am always looking for new chicken recipes. I mean it is just that go-to meat that you always have in your house that is healthy and versatile. You honestly can do a million and one things with it, but of course when you are trying to think of something new, you draw a blank. Well, at least I do. Therefore, any time I come across a new chicken recipe I am sure to put it in safe keeping for those, “I don’t know what I want for dinner,” nights.

I love chicken, but I tend to steer away from dishes that call for chicken on the bone unless it is a whole chicken or it’s being cooked on the grill and eaten with your hands. I don’t like to have to pick chicken off the bone when it is in some type of mixed dish (i.e. chicken cacciatore). Let’s be honest, you can only get so much meat off of the bone with a fork and knife.  Ironically, when I saw a recipe in Cooking Light for Braised Chicken with Vegetables, I just couldn’t resist it. The picture just made the dish look so appetizing and it made me forget about my dislike of picking through chicken that was surrounded by a gravy like substance.

It was a very tasty dish and I must say that I enjoyed it, even though I had to pick through my food.  Unfortunately my version is missing the peas sine Greg told me there were peas in the freezer when really they were lima beans (yuck). I did add some sliced mushrooms to the mix though.

braised chicken

Braised Chicken with Baby Vegetables and Peas

Courtesy of Cooking Light

2 tbs. butter, divided
2 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
2 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
2 chicken drumsticks, skinned
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
12 baby turnips, peeled (about 8 ounces) (I cut up a large turnip)
12 baby carrots, peeled (about 8 ounces)
12 pearl onions, peeled (about 8 ounces) (I used frozen)
6 white mushrooms, sliced
6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fresh green peas
2 tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan.

Add broth to pan; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add wine and next 7 ingredients (through bay leaves); stir. Add chicken to pan, nestling into vegetable mixture; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Discard bay leaves and parsley sprigs. Remove chicken and vegetables from the pan.

Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour cooking liquid into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings back into pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Return liquid to pan. Bring liquid to a boil; cook until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (about 5 minutes).

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture to cooking liquid; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Return chicken and vegetable mixture to pan; stir in peas. Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Yields 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (according to Cooking Light)
Calories: 324
Total Fat: 11.4 g
Cholesterol: 100 mg
Sodium: 818 mg
Carbohydrates: 22.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.2 g
Protein: 32.6 g
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Chicken and Herbs…you can’t go wrong!

As someone who loves to cook, I enjoy using fresh herbs. Unfortunately they are quite pricey at the grocery store and when we do buy them, half usually goes to waste. We have tried growing herbs before, but didn’t have much luck, as they would eventually be taken over by bugs. Since we are now living in a townhouse that has a balcony, we decided to give it a shot again. We are hoping that the elevation will help keep some of the bugs away. We went out and purchased flat leaf parsley, basil, thyme and chives. So far they have been very good.

While searching through the blog, Elly Says Opa, I found many wonderful recipes that I am dying to try. One of which was Chicken with Herbed Pan Sauce. I thought this would be a great recipe to use some of our fresh herbs in. It’s also a new chicken recipe, which you can never have too many of. I knew that Greg would probably be a big fan of this as well. So with all of the arrows pointing to “make it,” I quickly added it to our weekly menu.

Although I adapted it a bit to fit with the ingredients I had on hand, the outcome was excellent. This will definitely be a repeat on our menus to come.

herb-chicken

Chicken with Herbed Pan Sauce

adapted from Elly Says Opa

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 chicken breast halves, pounded to about 1/3-inch thick
1 small shallot, diced (I used onion since that is what I had)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, rosemary & chive (I substituted the original spices with what I had, feel free to do the same)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil to pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and then cook in the oil, about 4 minutes per side or until done. Remove the chicken and keep warm.

Add the shallots (or onion) to the pan and sauté until tender. Add the garlic and herbs and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour in the white wine and reduce down by half. Add the chicken broth and do the same. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sauce over chicken.

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