Monthly Archive for January, 2012

Open Faced Skillet Chicken & Savory Stout Beer, Bacon and Cheddar Waffles with Horseradish Apple Slaw

As I plotted my Super Bowl post I decided that an anti-Super Bowl foodie post might be a bit more fun to prepare …something unusual. My requirements – the dish needed to be both sweet and savory, could be served as finger food and would add a new food element to usual game fare. Voilà – my crazy take on Chicken and Waffles. (I’ll be honest, I had hoped to serve these when the San Francisco 49ers made it to the Super Bowl this year; but alas, that was not to be. It was fun to get our team colors on, celebrate with family and friends and create this post. Many thanks to our game time hosts, Ken and Rochelle, for sharing their home and their waffle iron.)

There are quite a few theories on how this now in vogue combination of fried chicken and waffles came into being. One theory seems to date back to 1940s and 1950s with the New York City Jazz scene and artists such as Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk. In this theory, legend goes that this northern soul food tradition began when artists in New York like Monk ordered chicken for breakfast after missing dinner the night before because they were performing, then he ordered waffles as hot bread to eat with the fried chicken. That’s one historical theory, the other is that in Pennsylvania Dutch Country people had been eating a similar combination for years but smothered the chicken with gravy. It makes since knowing that waffles culture here in North America started with Dutch colonist in sixteenth century New York, New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania. No matter which story you subscribe to, this dish is divine and had my biggest skeptics going back for seconds.

Open Faced Skillet Chicken & Savory Stout Beer, Bacon and Cheddar Waffles with Horseradish Apple Slaw

Spicy Skillet-Fried Chicken Wedges

Chicken Ingredients

2 TBS kosher salt, divided

2 tsps plus 1 TBS black pepper

1 1/2 tsp paprika

3/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

5-6 chicken breasts, flattened to 1/4-inch

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/2 cup water

3 cups flour

1 TBS cornstarch

peanut or vegetable oil

Chicken Directions

In a small bowl, mix together 1 TBS salt, 2 tsps black pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder. Season chicken in spices, cover and let chill 4 hours to overnight. One hour before cooking, remove chicken and allow to come to room temperature. In a medium bowl, mix buttermilk and water. In a medium size bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch 1 TBS salt and 1 TBS pepper.

Pour oil into a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, setting temperature on medium high (if you have a deep frying thermometer, temperature should reach 350 degrees). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, set a wire rack down (or if one is not available line with paper towels).

Using one hand for wet ingredients and the other for dry ingredients, dredge one piece of chicken at a time first into buttermilk mixture (allowing excess to drip off) then into four mixture (tapping against bowl to shake off excess flour). Place all piece in skillet and fry, turning with tongs every 2-3 minutes. Adjust heat to maintain approximately 300-325 degrees, until crust is a deep golden brown.

Using tongs, remove chicken from skillet, allowing excess oil to drip back into skillet; transfer chicken to prepared rack. Allow to cool before serving. Cut pieces in half, or to fit the size of the waffle, and set aside.

Savory Stout Beer, Bacon and Cheddar Waffles

Waffles Ingredients

6-8 slices thick cut bacon

4 TBS brown sugar

2 tsps black pepper (more or less, to taste)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 lb cheddar cheese, shredded

1 egg

1/2 cup Stout Beer or Amber Ale

1/3 cup vegetable oil

maple syrup, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place wire cooling racks on the sheets. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and pepper until well combined.

Lay the bacon out on the cooling racks and sprinkle evenly with half of the brown sugar and pepper mixture. Press the sugar and pepper into the bacon, and bake for 10-15 minutes. Then flip it over and sprinkle the remaining sugar and pepper on the bacon, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Check the bacon regularly to prevent burning. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before chopping into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, flour and salt. In a second bowl combine buttermilk, beer, egg and vegetable oil. Mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly until there are no lumps. Lastly mix in the bacon and cheddar cheese.

Preheat a waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron; the oil in the batter should allow the waffle to release easily. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles.

Makes 10-12 waffles.

Horseradish Apple Slaw

Slaw Ingredients

2 tsp cider vinegar

1 TBS prepared creamy horseradish

1/4- 1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded (4 cups)

2 crisp small apples (such as Granny Smith), cut into matchstick-size strips

1 bunch scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Slaw Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, horseradish, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the cabbage, apples, and scallions and toss.

To assemble the open faced sandwich…waffle, chicken, slaw and enjoy it is a great blend of textures and flavors.

When the game was over, I captured one of my nephew’s devouring this 49er cupcake. While this photo has nothing to do with my chicken and waffles recipe, it has everything to do with the end of our football season. And besides, who could resist those blue eyes?!

Orange Marinated Pork Tenderloin, Carrot Salad with Dijon Dressing and Potato Soufflé

Every cook needs an easy, throw-together dinner that can be made ahead of time so that little to no preparation needs to be done before guests arrive (or your family sits down) for dinner. Featured in this photo are three dishes: Orange Marinated Pork Tenderloin, Carrot Salad with Dijon Dressing and Potato Soufflé (from my original cookbook Taste This!).

While I highly recommend this combination of flavors, this is not an all or nothing post. If you are just looking for that salad that can be made on a moment’s notice – this nutritious carrot salad is as chic as it is classic. It’s found in nearly EVERY French cook’s repertoire (and can easily be adopted as a salad staple by those who just want to play-French). Crunchy, fresh carrots blend with bright, zippy lemon mustard dressing in what is perhaps one of the easiest preparations in authentic French cuisine.

Orange Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Tenderloin Ingredients

1 cup orange juice

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 TBS fresh rosemary, chopped

3 tsps, garlic, minced

2 (3/4 pound) whole pork tenderloins

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Tenderloin Directions

Make the orange marinade by whisking together the orange juice, soy sauce, rosemary, and garlic. Pour over pork tenderloin and marinate for at least one hour, preferably overnight. (This is enough marinade to double the portion of meat being used if serving a larger party.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain pork, reserving the marinade, and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20-30 minutes until internal temperature has reached 160 degrees.

Meanwhile, strain the reserved marinade and bring it to a simmer in a small saucepan. Serve this as a sauce for the meat and/or over mashed potatoes.

Carrot Salad Dressing with Dijon Dressing

Salad & Dressing Ingredients

1 TBS lemon juice

2 tsps Dijon mustard

3 TBS olive oil

1 lb carrots, peeled and shredded

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 TBS fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh chives, chopped

2 TBS pine nuts, toasted

Salad & Dressing Directions

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, mustard and olive oil together until the dressing is completely blended. Stir the dressing into the carrots, chives, parsley and pine nuts. Add salt and pepper. Toss the salad again to blend the seasonings and chill it for 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6.

Potato Soufflé

Caught in the act! Prima steals the prepared plate.

Fruity Breakfast Pizza

I had the opportunity to spend some time Pam Anderson on her recent book tour for “Cook Without A Book – Meatless Meals“. Even at a glance, I could tell that this collection of recipes and techniques, for part-time and full-time vegetarians, was going to leave me wanting to turn the pages over and over again. The format of the book really breaks the chains of strict recipe cooking by providing one master formula recipe then suggesting numerous proposed variations. Call me a cooking geek, but this book is FUN!

And since we are discussing fun – how about a give-away? Yes, I have two copies of this book to give away and I can promise that the lucky winners will not be disappointed. At the end of this post, leave a comment and let me know if you consciously ever observe one (or more) meatless days (that includes you my vegetarians, sport your bravado!).

Note: Of the three pizza’s (AKA nearly danish like delights) depicted, I made were two of Pam‘s fave combos, and then, in keeping with the theme of her book, I created one of my own. (Photo cooking highlights at end of post.) I made some minor changes – wheat dough and no extra drizzle of honey so that a few of my diabetic friends could also indulge in these beauties:

– Blueberries, sliced almonds, and lemon zest

– Raspberries, sliced almonds, and lemon zest

– Fuyu Persimmon, green apple, cinnamon and pecans (Gina’s creation)

Master Formula Fruity Breakfast Pizzas

Ingredients

1/2 cup (4 oz) Neufschatel (or reduced-fat cream cheese)

2 TBS honey or agave nectar, plus more fore drizzling

Flavorings (pick 1)

1 lb store bought pizza dough (I purchased wheat)

Cornmeal, for baking sheet (or cooking spray)

2-3 cups fruit (pick 1 or more)

1/2-3/4 cup nuts (pick 1)

Directions

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Microwave the cream cheese for 15 seconds to soften slightly. Mix the cream cheese with the 2 TBS honey and the flavoring.

Cut the dough into 4 equal parts and stretch each portion into a rectangle about 12 inches by 4 inches, arranging all 4 crosswise on a large cornmeal coated (or cooking spray coated) baking sheet. Spread the cream cheese mixture over each portion of the dough. Top with fruit and sprinkle with nuts.

Bake until the crusts are crisp and golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven; drizzle with additional honey or agave, cut into portions, serve hot or warm.

Serves 6-8

**Flavoring Options (pick 1)**

– 1 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1/2 tsp ground ginger

– 1/4 tsp finely grated lemon or orange zest

– 1/4 tsp almond extract

**Fruit Options (pick 1 or more)**

– Firm, crisp apple or pear — quartered, cored, each quarter halved crosswise, and sliced

– Fresh Figs — quartered

– Apricots or plumps — pitted and sliced

– Peaches (peeled) or nectarines — halved, pitted, each half halved crosswise, and sliced

– Strawberries — stemmed and sliced

– Fuyu Persimmons –- peeled and sliced into thin squares

– Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries (halved if large)

– Pineapple — peeled, cored, and cut into medium dice

– Seedless grapes — halved

**Nuts (pick 1: buy roasted nuts or toast them yourself)**

– Toasted walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, chopped

– Toasted whole (chopped), slivered or sliced almonds

**Pam’s fave combos**

– Apples, hazelnuts, and cinnamon

– Figs, pistachios, and vanilla

– Apricots, slivered almonds, and orange zest

– Strawberries, sliced almonds, and orange zest

– Blueberries (or raspberries and/or blackberries), sliced almonds, and lemon zest

– Pineapple (or peaches), pecans, and ginger

– Grapes, walnuts, and cinnamon