Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Week or Two of Recipes

As I mentioned previously, the last couple of weeks were very chaotic. Aside from my trip to Chicago, most days were a blur of good food. Thank goodness there was a long weekend to break it all up! After our shopping trip on Memorial Day it was time to try my Aunt Joan's Chicken Marsala recipe. It definitely earned a spot in my recipe box. It's a great staple recipe; easy to make and full of flavor. I love the process of deglazing the pan with the Marsala wine and watching it slowly reduce to a sauce. The hypnotic motion of scraping the pan while tasting the sauce to determine if anything is missing just makes you feel like you know what you are supposed to be doing (see the recipe at the end of the post).

Tuesday after work I made Garlic Chive Chicken from my Allrecipes recipe box. I have a slight obsession with garlic so this recipe touched my heart. Along with the garlic obsession, I realized that Matt and I consistently enjoy chicken on pasta dishes. It was no surprise that we awarded this meal a sacred spot in the Longaberger recipe box.

Wednesday was date night. Matt planned a romantic night out with drinks at Avila followed by dinner at Market by Jean-Georges. It was a great night; special enough that it will get it's own future blog post.

Thursday I made Pork Medallions with Cherries from an old Women's Health magazine recipe. I tried to get a cool shot of the cherry sauce reducing but I couldn't quite capture the steam. It ended up looking just foggy.

I served the finished dish over brown rice. It was fantastic but the cherries were slightly overwhelming. I would recommend using less cherries than the recipe calls for, however it is still a keeper.

On Friday we left work a little early to pick up Matt's mom from the train station to bring her to Winthrop. She was visiting friends for the evening before meeting me at the airport in the morning for our trip to Chi-town. After dropping his mom off, Matt & Bailey headed north to Maine to help run the B&B for the weekend. Since I was home alone Friday night I decided to make seafood. These seafood recipes are reserved for nights when Matt is not around (he cannot stomach seafood, much to his dismay). I picked hazelnut-crusted scallops from Coastal Living. I enjoyed the scallops on a bed of whole wheat spaghetti with a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Two things I don't have very often, white wine and seafood. It was weird not having one of my two boys home with me but my meal was good enough that I forgot they weren't here while I ate.

My fun weekend in Chicago will be detailed in another post.

The Chicago trip extended through Monday, so my weekly planning of meals was disrupted. Tuesday night I stopped and picked up a whole wheat pizza shell for a mindless dinner. It bought me another night to figure out what we were going to eat. Last Thursday was the first night I got to cook at home. High off of my recent seafood excursion, I decided to make a twofer. Candied Salmon from my Allrecipes collection for me, and Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops, for Matt, courtesy of Epicurious. The candy-shell-esque topping on the salmon reminded me of a taffy brittle with onions. I even convinced Matt to take a bite... and for a moment, he forgot he was eating fish... and then he made that gagging sound again... baby.

Matt enjoyed the pork, but commented that the Maple-Balsamic Glazed Pork Medallion should remain as the top spot of the "P" tab in the Longeberger box.

All in all we had an assortment of recipes for a less than planned out couple of weeks. I would say the highlight was eating fish twice, even once within mere feet of my husband...

Here are the recipes:

Aunt Joan's Chicken Marsala


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt

1/4 t pepper
1/2 t dried basil
3 T butter
3 T olive oil
6-8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 c marsala wine

Pound chicken to 1/4" thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Combine flour, salt, pepper, basil, mix well. Heat oil and butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Cook chicken until lightly browned on first side (2 minutes). Turn chicken and add mushrooms around chicken. Cook about 2 minutes more until lightly browned; stir. Add marsala wine to pan. If you like more sauce, you can add chicken broth and more marsala (to taste). Serve over fresh linguine with a nice loaf of Italian bread. ENJOY!

Serves 4

Garlic Chive Chicken
1 head garlic
1 (8 ounce) package egg noodles
1 cup chicken broth
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Wrap the garlic head in foil, and bake 30 minutes, until cloves are soft. Remove from heat, and cool enough to handle.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.
Slice off the top of the garlic head, and squeeze the softened cloves into a medium bowl. Mix in the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat the chicken breast halves with flour, and cook in the skillet about 10 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Set chicken aside, retaining skillet juices. Stir in the garlic mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and return chicken to the skillet. Continue cooking the chicken about 5 minutes on each side, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove chicken, and arrange on plates over the egg noodles.
Mix the butter into the garlic sauce mixture in the skillet until melted, and stir in the chives. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and egg noodles to serve.

Serves 4

Pork Medallions with Cherries


1 lb pork tenderloin, sliced into half-inch-thick medallions
1/2 C finely chopped red onion
16 oz bag frozen dark sweet cherries, defrosted slightly in microwave and drained of juice
1/2 C reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp honey
3 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme

Season medallions with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook pork until light pink in the center (2 to 3 minutes per side). Transfer to plate and cover with foil.
Add remaining oil to skillet. Add onion and saute until soft (about 3 minutes).
Stir in cherries, broth, honey, vinegar, and thyme. Simmer until sauce thickens (5 to 8 minutes).
Divide medallions evenly onto four plates and top each dish with 2 tablespoons cherry sauce.

Serves 4

Hazlenut-crusted Scallops


5 tablespoons butter, divided
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of grated or ground nutmeg
1 pound sea or bay scallops, drained
¼ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
¼ cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Hot cooked pasta

Preheat oven to 375°.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a cast-iron or ovenproof skillet. Stir in wine and next 5 ingredients. Add scallops, turning to coat. Remove from heat.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small bowl in the microwave, and stir in panko and nuts. Sprinkle mixture over scallops. Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with hot cooked pasta. Garnish, if desired. Makes 2 servings.

SERVE *This is a great go-to salad dressing*
Mixed Greens with Honey-Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Whisk together ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon grated onion, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons poppy seeds, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve over fresh salad greens.

Candied Salmon


1/4 cup butter
1 clove garlic, minced
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and grease the foil with cooking spray.
Combine the onions, vinegar and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
Melt butter with garlic in a small skillet over medium heat. Lay salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet, and brush with garlic butter. Pour the onion mixture over the fillets.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the fish flakes easily. Cooking time may vary with the thickness of your fillets.

Serves 6

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops Ingredients

4 (3/4-inch-thick) center-cut pork chops (about 2 lb total)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 oz small shallots (about 8), quartered and peeled, leaving root ends intact
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Pat pork dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pork (in 2 batches if necessary) along with shallots, turning pork over once and stirring shallots occasionally, until pork is browned and shallots are golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes total. Transfer pork with tongs to a plate and add vinegar, sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to shallots in skillet. Cook, stirring until sugar is dissolved and liquid is thickened slightly, about 1 minute.

Reduce heat to moderate, then return pork along with any juices accumulated on plate to skillet and turn 2 or 3 times to coat with sauce. Cook, turning over once, until pork is just cooked through, about 3 minutes total. Transfer pork to a platter and boil sauce until thickened and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour sauce over pork.

Serves 4

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