Monday, June 27, 2011

Greenhouse Herb Chicken

 I'd wanted to buy this cookbook for a long time before I found it on sale at Borders a month or so back. I mean, we're talking a cookbook titled "Bite Me." What's not to love about that? But apart from the sheer fun of reading through the book (the photographs are not be missed, both food and other) there were some good recipes that I'd been ignoring for too long.  This was one of those recipes where I had all of the ingredients on hand, but would not myself have thought of putting them together like this. So it's a good thing the authors of this book did as it would have been a shame to miss something this good.  It reminded me a lot of chicken parmesan actually but in a slightly different can't put my finger on it way. Although the dish was good, I think next time I would skip the breading and just season the chicken well before putting it into the sauce to cook for a lighter taste and flavor.

Greenhouse Herb Chicken
Adapted very slightly From 
"Bite Me - A Stomach Satisfying Visually Gratifying Fresh Mouthed Cookbook" 
by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat 

2 large egg whites
1 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp olive oil

Herb Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions
(recipe called for 1/4 cup but there can never be too many green onions)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp basil (optional)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cups chicken broth
4 tbsp tomato paste

Mix breadcrumbs, oregano, basil, salt and pepper in large bowl. Dip Chicken breasts in egg whites and then into breadcrumb mix, pressing down firmly to evenly coat chicken.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in large skillet on medium high heat. Brown chicken breast in olive oil, two minutes on each side, or until brown. Remove from pan and set chicken aside. Wipe skillet clean (or skip it like I did).

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pan over medium heat. Add green onions, oregano, garlic, thyme, basil and parsley. Saute for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and tomato paste. Bring to boil, before reducing heat to low and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes. Add chicken, cover pan and cook for 20 minutes. Serves 6.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

SMS: Pear (Raspberry) Pie with Gingersnap Crumble

 I'm delighted to be hosting this week's recipe for Sweet Melissa Sundays. Although I've been a little lax with baking along with the rest of you due to time restraints for a few months, sometimes you just have to put  down your foot and make the time for a pie that sounds as good as this. Also, after having been given the chance to host one of the recipes, not making the pie in the end is rather like inviting everyone to your home for a party and leaving the guests standing out on the lawn because you went out of town and didn't tell anyone. But having made the pie, I'm thinking I might still leave the guests out on the lawn because I would be too busy devouring the pie in kitchen to answer the door.

Pies have always been a bit of a culinary catastrophe in my house, at least for my poor sister, because when she was growing up she would never be able to enjoy a piece of pie since they were always missing something. My mother would either eat all of the crust  and leave the filling, or I would eat all of the filling and leave the crust. The most unfortunate part of this was that my mom and I NEVER did this on the same pie. Didn't matter what type of pie we had, it would either be missing the filling or the crust depending on how got to it first before my sister had a chance to eat a piece. But this pie would have been the one that finally appealed to all of us at the same time. Which is nothing short of a culinary miracle in my family. It is just that delicious. Between the gingersnap crust and the combination of sweet and slight tart filling, it is the pie that would have finally ended  my sister's long standing drought if we were all still living under the same roof.

Given the fact that I could not find fresh or frozen cranberries at the store as I was told by a clerk that they were out of season and I had my doubts about using canned cranberries, I substituted fresh raspberries for the cranberries.   And considering raspberries were always my mom's favorite thing to snack on, it was a nice way to remember her and her love of all things pie today. I did also go with a frozen gluten free pie crust instead of using one of Melissa's recipes because we're trying to go gluten free in the house and for convenience  I went with store bought gluten free gingersnap cookies because trying to make more than one recipe today was just not going to happen.

I loved loved loved the gingersnap crumble. And despite the fact that using raspberries made it a little difficult to cut the pie because it made the pie a tiny bit more watery (has nothing to do with the fact that I dug into the pie long before it cooled to room temperature of course) I thought the combination of pear and raspberry was perfect. I would totally made this again, maybe with cranberries, definitely with this combination today. Then again, I think skipping the pie crust and making a crumble from this with just the filling and topping would be sublime, especially with a huge dollop of whipped cream on top.

I think my only mistake was removing the pie a little early so the pears will still a little firm but it was still quite enjoyable. 

 Rating: A+. This one for me is a keeper.

Pear Cranberry (or Raspberry) Pie with Gingersnap Crumble
from: The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy

Gingerbread Crumble:
1 cup all purpose (we used gluten free with great success) flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 pound gingersnaps, approximately 10 cookies, crushed

1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Pear Cranberry (or Raspberry) Filling
2 lbs ripe bosc pears (approx 6) peeled, cored and quartered, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cups raspberries (or fresh/frozen cranberries)
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/t tsp salt

Before beginning - preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and place rack in bottom third of oven. 

To Prepare the Pie Crust
Roll pie dough out into a round 12 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Gently fit into 9 inch pie late. Fold edges under and crimp. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

To Make the Crumble
  1. In Medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, gingersnaps, ginger and salt.
  2. Stir in melted butter. 
Crumble will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days on in the refrigerator up to 7 days. Let crumble come to room temperature before using.

To Make the Filling
  1. In medium bowl, combine pears, raspberries (or cranberries), zest, lemon juice and vanilla and mix gently. If using raspberries,they will pretty much disintegrate at this point and turn the pears pink. 
  2. In small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir sugar mixture into fruit mixture. 
  3. Pour fruit mixture into unbaked pie shell. 
To Complete Pie 
  1. Sprinkle gingersnap crumble on top of fruit mixture.
  2. Place pie pan on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until juices are bubbling and thick. remove to a wire rack to cool to room temperature before serving. Pie is best eaten the day it is made.