Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chicken Scaloppine in a Saffron Cream Sauce

Chicken Scaloppine
in a Saffron Cream Sauce
This recipe helped me and my roommates make a dinner for thirteen hungry college kids without having to spend the entire night in the kitchen.  Chicken is one of the easiest and quickest proteins to cook and with the saffron cream sauce it won't dry out on you.  The original recipe is by Giada De Laurentiis but I made a few minor changes of my own, namely, adding much more garlic.  The golden brown chicken breasts are the ideal base for the cream sauce which is a delicate yet full flavored way to liven up any chicken dish! Plus, it was a perfect way for me to use some of my Turkish saffron that a friend brought me back from Istanbul.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Turn down the heat to medium, add the shallots and the garlic and cook until tender.  At this point your kitchen should be smelling incredible.

Now pour the white wine into the skillet and deglaze the pan using a wooden spoon. Deglazing is to scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan in order to further flavor the sauce. Cook until the wine is almost evaporated.

Add the chicken broth and saffron threads, bring to a simmer and reduce for 10 minutes. Add the cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and simmer for about a minute more. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cinnamon Walnut Ice Cream

Cinnamon Walnut Ice Cream
For my recent birthday, my older brother and his girlfriend gave me what any warm blooded, movie watching, library avoiding, 21 year old college girl would be thrilled to own. An ice cream maker. No more trips to the grocery store for that brand name stuff. In twenty minutes or less I can be the proud inventor of my own ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet. My roommates slash sous-chefs are more than happy to be my taste testers. This cinnamon walnut ice cream came about because I was so excited to try out my new ice cream maker that I refused to go to the store to buy any ingredients that weren't readily available in my home. We had a bag of crushed walnuts on the baking shelf, cinnamon in the spice drawer, some light cream leftover from morning coffee, and milk in the fridge for my little brother's cereal before school.  The flavors worked together excellently and its safe to say that my first ice cream making experience was a good one :)
My ice cream sandwiched deliciously between two Tate's cookies.

3 cups light cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

This recipe requires an ice cream maker whose bowl has been placed in the freezer for several hours prior to the preparation of the ingredients.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and walnuts and stir with a spoon until well combined.  The cream and milk must be kept cold for as long as possible before adding to the bowl.  Once the ingredients are combined, pour the mixture into the bowl of the ice cream maker and allow to run for eighteen to twenty minutes.  At this point the ice cream should be solid but still relatively soft.  It can be transferred into a plastic container and placed in the freezer until more frozen or it can be eaten immediately.  I chose to put my ice cream in a bowl and top it with a fresh mint sprig while my brother ate his sandwiched between two Tate's cookies. The cinnamon spices up the vanilla based ice cream for a classic flavor combination and the chopped walnuts add an element of crunch and texture to the creamy dessert. Enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge with Pretzel Topping
I almost feel a silly posting this recipe on my blog because it is hardly a recipe at all.  It requires no measuring whatsoever, has only three ingredients and only takes about five minutes to make.  To use the phrase of Food Network chef Aida Mollencamp, this is a "no-recipe recipe" that is semi-homemade enough to make Sandra Lee proud. The fact that this recipe is so ridiculously easy to make is just an added bonus because this fudge is seriously, seriously delicious.  Technically speaking, it is not real fudge at all.  However, the end result is extremely close to real fudge except for a small difference in texture.  My fudge is actually lighter and less dense than real fudge but with all the satisfaction of real fudge.

1 tub vanilla frosting (any brand, french vanilla works as well)
1 jar creamy peanut butter (don't use natural peanutbutter, creamy sets more firmly)
1 handful of small pretzels (I used Snyder's Butter Snaps)

Get ready for some easy directions.  Place the tub of vanilla frosting in the microwave for thirty seconds on high.  Then, place the jar of peanutbutter in the microwave for thirty seconds on high.  Then, pour both the frosting and the peanutbutter into a medium mixing bowl and mix with a spatula until well combined.  Line and 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking dish with tin foil.  Pour the mixture into the baking dish and spread evenly with the spatula.  Lastly, take a handful of pretzels and crumble them onto the top of the fudge.  Allow to cool for thirty minutes at room temperature.  Cut into small squares and enjoy!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Smoked Salmon Spread

Smoked Salmon Spread 
Woo! My first post of 2011!  Happy new year everyone! Being that I returned from Spain only days before Christmas, I had very little time to prepare my contributions to the holiday table.  This smoked salmon spread is SO easy, delicious and requires almost no measuring at all!  It is also a nice change from the normal cheese platter or chips and salsa appetizers... goes great on crackers, pita chips, or cucumber slices.

1 package wild smoked salmon
1 8 oz package cream cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Pepper to taste

Allow the package of cream cheese to sit outside of the refrigerator and soften to room temperature.  Open the package of smoked salmon and slice the pieces of fish into one or two inch slices just so that they puree more evenly in the food processor.  Once the cream cheese has softened, combine all incredients except the pepper in a food processor.  Once the mixture is smooth and evenly combined, taste and season with pepper.  Place in a small bowl and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes.  Serve with crackers or anything you want to spread it on! Enjoy!

Photos courtesy of Owen Beitel