Monday, December 29, 2008

King Ranch Chicken

King Ranch Chicken
1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (10 oz.) Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
12 corn tortillas (6-inch), torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Filipino Adobo

1/2 cup white cane vinegar
1/4 cup toyo (our local soy sauce)
3/4 – 1 cup water (you may not use all of it)
3 chicken legs (drumstick) and 3 chicken thighs (I like to use dark meat – this should come to about 600-650 grams of chicken)
350-400 grams pork belly (the part with the bone, skin on), cut into generous chunks (about 2 inches)
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
8-10 cloves garlic, just slightly bashed, skin still on (do not peel!)
2 bay (laurel) leaves

Freshly cracked black pepper, a few twistsMethod:- Put all the ingredients except for the water in a Dutch oven or any heavy duty pot and leave for about 30 minutes to marinate.

- Place the pot over medium heat, add 1/2 cup water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and simmer without stirring until most of the vinegar’s acid has been cooked off – you will know when this is done because it won’t smell as sharp and “sting-y”.

- Keep simmering over low heat until the chicken is very tender - about 40 minutes to an hour. Taste the sauce. If it’s too salty or too sharp for your taste, add some of the remaining water. I usually end up using 3/4 cup total.- When chicken is tender, remove the pieces from the pot and set aside. At this point the garlic will be very tender as well – you can mash some (not all!) of the cloves against the sides of the pot to incorporate it into the sauce.

- Keep simmering on low heat a further 30 minutes to 1 hour or until pork is meltingly tender.- When pork is very tender, remove from pot and set aside.

- Keep simmering sauce until reduced to your desired consistency. Taste the sauce and if you’d like a bit of sweetness, stir in a pinch of brown sugar – I like to do this but you certainly don’t have to.

- Heat a skillet with some oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the chicken and pork pieces to brown.- When the sauce has reduced to your desired consistency add the browned chicken and pork back to the pot.

Toss gently and remove from heat.

- You can eat it at this point but it gains depth of flavour if you let it rest for a day.

Lavender Shortbread

Lavender Shortbread
Yield: 16

1 cup / 150g flour
2tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt1 tsp lavender (I used dried)
¼ cup / 50g sugar½ cup / 125g butter
½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F/170C and lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt and stir in the lavender.
Toss in cubes of chilled butter and blend together until they look like crumbs. (I made it this way as opposed to creaming butter and sugar together).

Place the crumbs into the pan and press down with the hands or a potato masher.
Now is when you can shape the edges with a pattern of your choice and pierce the dough uniformly to prevent it rising when it’s baking.

With a knife, make 16 wedges, so that it’ll be easier to have 16 distinct pieces after it’s done baking.

Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly golden.

Cut pieces when it’s still warm along the lines that were made earlier.

Transfer to a rack to cool.

Beef Braised in Red Wine

Tbsp. olive oil
boneless chuck roast (3 to 3 ½ pounds)
Black pepper
lb. sliced pancetta, diced (or ½ cup thinly sliced and finely chopped prosciutto)
medium onion, finely chopped
medium carrot, finely chopped
celery ribs, finely chopped
garlic cloves, minced
sprigs (4 to 6 inches long) fresh thyme
sprigs (6 to 8 inches long) fresh rosemary
Tbsp. tomato paste
cups Barolo or other full-bodied red wine, such as Côtes du Rhône or Gigondas
cups water
heavy ovenproof pot (4 to 5 quarts) with lid


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Heat oil in pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Meanwhile, pat meat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In the heavy ovenproof pot, brown the meat in hot oil on all sides, about 10 minutes total. (If the bottom of the pot begins to scorch, lower the heat to medium.) Transfer meat to a plate using a fork and tongs. Pour off half the oil.

Add pancetta to oil in pot and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until browned and fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. (If using prosciutto, add it to the pot with the onion, carrot and celery.) Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden-brown. Add garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and sauté, stirring, until garlic begins to soften. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced by about one-third. Add water and bring to a simmer. At this point the cooking liquid should taste lightly salted. Return meat along with any juices accumulated to the pot. Cover pot with lid and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is very tender, 2½ to 3 hours.
Cool completely in sauce, uncovered, and then chill, covered, for 2 to 3 days. Flip the meat every day so it absorbs the cooking liquid evenly. For serving, discard fat from the surface of the sauce, along with the herb stems. Cut meat across the grain into ½ inch slices, removing excess fat as desired. If the sauce needs thickening, boil it over high heat until reduced by about one-third. Season with salt. Return meat slices to sauce and reheat, covered, in a 350-degrees oven. Serve accompanied with soft polenta or red potatoes (unpeeled) mashed with crème fraîche.

Substituting smoked bacon for the pancetta can overwhelm the flavor of the wine.

Spanish Tortilla Tapas

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound red or white potatoes, waxy
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, ground, to taste
1 yellow onion, medium, sliced
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
4 eggs, large
1 tablespoon parsley, minced

1Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

2Heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in an 8″ ovenproof skillet (preferably non-stick). Add sliced potato and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook potatoes, turning gently, until softened but not browned, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.

3Add remaining oil and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic to onions and cook 2-3 minutes, until softened and aromatic. Return potatoes to skillet, gently stir to combine, and cook an additional 5 minutes.

4Reduce heat to low. Beat eggs with the parsley. Pour eggs into skillet over vegetables and shake the pan to evenly distribute the eggs. Cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Transfer to oven and cook 10 minutes, or until egg is set.

5Cool to room temperature. Remove from pan and cut into 12 thin wedges or squares.
Additional Info

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Carmelized Pear & Walnut Muffins w/Coffee Icing

Caramelized Pear and Walnut Muffins, Coffee Icing

For 12 Muffins

1 1/3 cup (10.5 oz) all-purpose flour
½ cup (4.5 oz) granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup (8 fl oz) milk
1/3 cup (2.6 oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 pears, peeled and finely diced½ cup (4.5 oz)
walnuts, chopped (save one tbsp for the decoration)
1/2 cup granulated sugar for the caramel2 tbsp unsalted butter for the caramel

½ cup (4.5 oz) white fondant2 to 3 drops coffee extract
Pre-heat oven 350°F.
In a skillet, make a caramel,melting the sugar until golden (over medium-high heat).

Add 2tbsp butter then the pears and walnuts. Let cook until the fruits are golden.

Grease 12 2 -1/2 inch muffin cups (not necessary if they are made with silicon).

Prepare muffin batter : stir together AP flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients : eggs, milk and butter.
Add wet ingredients mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until moistened.
Add pear/walnut mixture and mix again. Carefully.
Spoon 2 round tablespoons of the batter in each muffin cup. Each cup should be filled to 2/3.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool muffin pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, remove muffins from the pan.

For the icing : heat white fondant with 2 tbsp water in a sauce pan over low heat. As soon as fondant melts, remove from the heat, add coffee extract, mix and transfer to a shallow plate.

Arrange the remaining chopped walnuts in another shallow plate.

Take each muffin by its base and soak the top in the fondant then in the chopped walnuts.You have to work fast as fondant gets tough very fast. If so, heat it again on low heat.

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