Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Monster Chicken

This is not only what I call this recipe but also describes the bird the breasts must have come off of when I made it last night! Seriously! One HALF of the breast was enough to feed Hubs and I WITH LEFTOVERS! Crazy what they are doing to these poor birds! Frankenfood at it's finest if you ask me. Honestly, I don't know how I feel about it but we ate it and enjoyed it nonetheless. This recipe came from my Ex-MIL and everybody that tries it loves it. It is super simple to make and comes out juicy and delicious every time so give it a go and feed it to some friends.

Chicken Cutlets with Muenster Cheese (a.k.a.Monster Chicken)

1-2 chicken breasts, thinly filleted - No Joke - fillet them as thin as you can
2-3 eggs lightly beaten
2 Cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 Cups Parmesan or Romano cheese
Frying oil (I use peanut)
1/4-1/2 lb deli sliced muenster cheese
1 can chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400F
Heat frying oil in a wide shallow pan to 350F

Place beaten eggs in a wide, shallow bowl
Soak fillets in egg mixture and toss them to coat - you can work in batches if you have a lot of fillets.
In a separate shallow dish, mix bread crumbs and Parmesan/Romano cheese
Remove a fillet from the egg mixture and dredge in breadcrumb mixture to coat evenly and place in hot oil to fry - repeat until pan is full. Turn fillets once to brown on both sides.
Once browned on both sides remove fillets and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Once all of the chicken is cooked, arrange cooked cutlets in a single layer in a baking pan/casserole dish - you need something with a little depth.
Pour chicken broth over the cutlets. You do not want to completely submerge them but want all of them to be sitting in as much broth as possible
Top cutlets with muenster cheese (you can substitute mozzarella) and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and broth is bubbling

Serve Hot! YUM!

I traditionally serve this with angel hair pasta as the broth makes a nice light sauce for the thin pasta. The leftovers make fabulous sandwiches.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Summer Bounty

Man, am I wiped out today. Last night was a late one but it had to happen. There was no way I could, in good conscience, let all those beautiful tomatoes and tomatillos of mine rot on the counter. So, even though it was a school night, I stayed up late for a hot and sweaty canning marathon. While I am quite pleased with myself today, I have to admit for all the work it takes to can veggies, I sure thought I would end up with more! LOL! Canning really isn't all that difficult it is just a tad time consuming and HOT! Even on a cool evening that big pot of boiling water really heats up a room (or 2). But now I have lots of tomato puree, enchilada sauce and salsa verde to get me though the winter without having to use any chemical laden canned stuff. yay me! If my house were bigger I'd invest in a big-ass freezer and forgo the canning process altogether but unless I hit Lotto that won't be happening anytime soon, which means my little deep freezer is reserved for meats only!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Simple is Better

Well, the summer is officially over. BOOOO! Thankfully, the relatively cool start has resulted in a bumper crop of end of season tomatoes and man are they good! To celebrate the Labor Day weekend the Hubs and I, along with some friends, decided to hit the Big Apple. You know what that means.....FOOD! First we hit Lombardi's for some pizza - YUM! Then off to the heart of Little Italy for cheese and deli meats and sausages and cannoli! They were gearing up for the Feast of San Gennaro so between that and the holiday the scene was happening. The result of our trip was one of the best sandwiches EVER! A simple thing made with good fresh Italian Bread, fresh ricotta cheese, good pesto sauce and a ripe tomato straight from the garden. HEAVEN! Seriously, my husband and I ate nearly the entire loaf of bread because we couldn't get enough of this sandwich. Silly me forgot about the prosciutto cotto I had bought - it also would have been an excellent addition to this sandwich.  But in all honesty we didn't miss it and appreciated the lightness of this combination. I highly recommend that you try it while the fresh tomatoes are still with us!

UPDATE: I revisited this sandwich this week and added a little prosciutto cotto and prosciutto di san daniele. OMG so over the top I can't even describe it. This sandwich went from being awesome to completely off the chain!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Going Green

With Salsa Verde, that is! oh how I adore this stuff and thanks to my beloved public TV cooking show line up I now have a recipe that I simply adore! It all started with an episode of Pati's Mexican Table. There she was making her rendition of the sauce I loved but had yet to master. Fast Forward to this weeks CSA share - tomatillos, jalapenos, while onions - practically all the ingredients I needed. I had a bunch of cilantro in the freezer from the spring so I knew it was time to give this sauce a try albeit with a few tweaks cuz that's just how I am, lol. I am so happy I did. It was perfect! No more canned stuff for me. I will be canning my own from now on. My CSA farmer said we would have tomatillos and hot peppers for several more weeks so I will be making this several more times I am sure! I recommend that you make some too. This stuff is great with tamales or enchiladas or just as a dip for plain ol' corn chips! Thank you Pati!

about 10 green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 jalapeno chiles, or more to taste
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped
2 packets chicken bouillon powder, or to taste
2 tablespoons oil (I used olive - it's what I had but any cooking oil would do)

Place the tomatillos along with the garlic cloves and the jalapenos in a pot and just cover with water. Place over high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer at medium for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos change their color from a bright to a pale green, are cooked through and are soft but are not coming apart.You may need to turn them because they float. I actually forgot to put the jalapenos in and just threw them in the blender in the next step. The end product was still delicious.

Place tomatillos, garlic and jalapenos (you may add one chile first) and the cooking liquid in the blender and puree until smooth (if you used a LOT of water only add 1/2 Cup for now - you can add more later if you need it). Add the cilantro, onion and 1 packet of bouillon to the blender and process again. Taste for salt and add more bouillon (and/or cooking liquid) if need be. Also taste for heat, you may add more jalapenos until you reach your desired heat level. 

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, pour in the sauce and bring it to a boil (watch for splatters). Simmer over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, until it thickens a bit and deepens its flavor and color. Turn off the heat. 

Once it cools down, you may store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for weeks. However, the heat level of the sauce will diminish as the days go by.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Tomato Season

I am happy to say that my stubborn tomatoes have FINALLY started to ripen. However, my plants are not looking all that great these days. Wouldn't it be just my luck that the moment they finally decided to ripen they get some sort of disease and croak entirely. Hmph! I will be keeping an eye on them and hopefully that doesn't happen. Good thing I have lots of windowsill space for them to finish off in case the unthinkable happens! While I don't have quite enough to start canning like a maniac, I did have enough for some lovely tarts. I made a French version with asiago cheese that I fell in love with last summer as well as this Italian version I saw on Proud Italian cook. I did deviate from recipe a bit in that I used a regular pastry crust instead of brown rice and garlic powder instead of grating the fresh stuff - I was in a rush and didn't feel like peeling garlic. The end result was still quite yummy and husband an I enjoyed it with some chicken parmesan for dinner. These tarts come together so quickly and are so delicious with fresh summer tomatoes it is really hard to refrain from eating them all in one or two sittings! They would make excellent additions to any meal any time of day.

Italian Tomato Tart (adapted from Proud Italian Cook)

  • 9 inch deep fluted tart pan with removable bottom or a deep dish pie pan
  • 1  disc pre-made pie crust dough
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup of grated romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella
  • basil and parsley, fresh chopped, 2 tablespoons each
  • vine ripened tomatoes, any kind, sliced
  1. Turn up oven temp to 350 degrees.F. 
  2. Line tart pan with pie crust dough
  3. Mix ricotta, cheeses, herbs, egg and garlic for the filling then spread evenly onto the crust.
  4. Place your tomatoes all over,slightly sinking them into the ricotta mixture.
  5. Drizzle olive oil on top of the tomatoes and tart then bake for 30 minutes or until ricotta is set.
  6. To finish it, I like to place mine under the broiler to get it a nice golden color on top, but if you do that, keep checking and don't walk away from the stove!
  7. Let it cool a little before slicing.
  8. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Peachy Keen

So for some mysterious reason I have been craving peaches lately. Can't tell you why since I have never EVER been a fan of them. Something about that fuzzy skin was always so off-putting for me. This weekend I decided to satisfy my craving now that peach season is in full swing. I found a recipe claiming to be the best peach cobbler I'd ever have- a claim, in hindsight with which I do not agree. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but I found it to be much too sweet for my tastes. The recipe was easy and I had everything I needed on hand but I doubt I would make it again. the recipe says you can use other fruits so maybe something more tart would offset the sweetness of the dessert.  I actually enjoyed eating the peeled and cubed pieces of fruit better than the cobbler itself. But, if you would like to try it here is the recipe.

 Best Cobbler You’ve Ever Had

1 box yellow cake mix (not baked, just the powder)
1/3 cup butter, softened
2  eggs
30 ounces canned peaches, drained (or 4 fresh peaches, peeled and pitted)
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Vanilla ice cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, butter, and 1 egg. Mix ingredients until crumbly. Separate ½ cup of crumble for topping.
  2. Spray a 9x13 glass dish with cooking spray. Press remaining crumble into base of dish.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes. While crust bakes, slice peaches into small, 1 inch pieces.
  4. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, 1 egg, and vanilla until creamy. Layer peaches on top of baked crust. Spread cream cheese mixture on top of peaches.
  5. Top with reserved crumbs and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 30 additional minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 Mermaid Parade

Yep, it's that time again and what a parade it was! The day started with my traditional hot dog from the original Nathan's. I swear hot dogs here just taste better! Skip the mall versions and head to Brooklyn for the original experience. You won't regret it!

I always get mine with their pepper and onion sauce - so delicious. You have to get them right when they open or you wont get within 30 feet of the place. See what i mean:

Anyway, this years costume was a traditional mermaid in blue. It was a mad dash to finish it when my sewing machine decided to shit the bed but with the help of my Mom (Thanks Mom) we managed to pull it together. I think it came out pretty darn good! I am already starting to mull over idea for next year!
After 8 or so years of attending this parade, I finally have it down to a science! There is no WAY you will get near any of the food stands once this thing gets going so you have to pack food if you plan to eat anytime after noon. Since my fellow marcher was a vegetarian, I brought some hummus and whole grain tortilla chips for us to snack on. I also packed some cheese, dried sausages and crackers (for the rest of us) and plenty of water. Sodas were also on hand but were more to keep us awake for the ride home. I also had buffalo chicken salad sandwiches to satisfy the bigger appetites. We used 2 coolers - 1 smaller one for our food that stayed at the car and need to be kept cold and one with wheels to bring with us as we marched that had plenty of water and our bribes for the judges (Wine, Rum, coke, cups and ice). Marching generated quite an appetite and having those snacks waiting for us at the end made us very happy!

Erika's Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus

1 can chick peas, drained
1 large roasted red pepper (I used jarred)
1-2 cloves garlic (or garlic scapes if you have them, roasted garlic works too)
1 Tbs tahini paste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp salt
Olive oil

Dump everything but the oil into a food processor. Turn on processor and slowly pour oil through the feed tube until desired consistency. Adjust salt to taste. Enjoy!