Thankgiving Goodies

Thursday I had the challenge of making a home cooked Thanksgiving Luncheon for 100 people.  First thing I did was contact two of my favorite colleagues to help with this endeavor.  Good thing they were available, as business travels took me out of the country Monday and Tuesday.  This could never have been successful without them!  Our meal consisted of the traditional turkey, fried turkey, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, corn bread dressing, green bean casserole, ham, honey butter rolls, and of course pecan, apple, and pumpkin pies.  However, not so traditional, we made my “Red Skin Smashed Potatoes” recipe and my dads recipe for stuffing.

Turkey….

Turkey….

I have to say, seems like all enjoyed the meal and I have received more requests for the potato recipe…

Red Skin Smashed Potatoes

Red Skin Smashed Potatoes

This recipe is so easy and definitely one of my families favorites….here you go!

Red Skinned Smash Potatoes

3 pounds red skin potatoes, washed, cut into 1-inch size pieces
1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Sea Salt
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Spice Islands® Chives
1/4 cup heavy cream, additional cream if needed (you can also use milk)
Spice Islands® Black Pepper, to taste
Pankos (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Place cut potatoes into a large pot, rinse with cold running water until the water is clear (this removes excess starch from the potatoes).  Place pan on stove over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon salt.  Bring to boil, cook until tender (about 10-15 minutes).  Remove from heat and drain potatoes.

In a large mixing bowl add drained potatoes and butter.  Using a potato masher, mash until butter has melted.  Add cheddar cheese, parmesan, chives, heavy cream and black pepper.  Continue to mash until all is incorporated.  Taste and adjust spices adding additional salt if needed and cream or milk.  Mixture should be creamy and slightly lumpy.

Preheat oven to 375°.  Place potatoes into a baking casserole dish which has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Generously top potatoes with pankos (and additional butter if desired).  Bake 20-30 minutes or until top is golden.

Another favorite was my “Cheesy Honey Butter Rolls”…so easy to make and yet so tasty.  These can be made ahead of time and baked off right before serving.

Cheesy Honey Butter Dinner Rolls

Cheesy Honey Butter Dinner Rolls

Coming soon, Southern Style Sweet Potato Casserole and homemade quick and easy Cranberry sauce (you’ll never buy the can stuff again).

Enjoy!


Butter Poached Lobster

This week is a special one….hubby Bob has a birthday.  Being born in Connecticut and living on the ocean almost all his life has made Bob a lover of seafood.  Especially shellfish!  We use to live on the coast of Long Island Sound and Bob’s favorite hobby was tending to his “40” lobster pots.

Lobsters

Lobsters

I can remember the times when Rob and Jenny would ask me what’s for dinner, when I replied lobsters they would say “lobsters again”….those were the days!

I thought I was the queen of lobster cooking, always trying new methods and recipes.  It wasn’t until we watched an episode of Master Chef that I discovered “poaching lobster”.  WOW…..what a great way of cooking lobster…why didn’t I think of that?????

On Father’s Day  I tried poaching lobster in a  beurre monte sauce.   Probably the best lobster I have ever eaten.  Guess what I am making for Bob’s birthday?????  Here’s how you do it.

Purchase lobsters from local grocery store.  Place them in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Lobsters

Lobsters

In a LARGE stock pot bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil.  Once the water is rapidly boiling, put lobsters to sleep ( you will feel better before you kill the little guys).  Just massage their head over his eyes for a few seconds, like this…

“go to sleep lobster”

Place lobsters (head first) into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes.  In a large bowl add water and ice cubes (ice-water bath) and place the lobsters into the pan.

DSC_0047Using a good pair of kitchen scissors cut the lobster shell and remove the meat, trying to keep the lobster in tact as much as possible.

In a medium size pan bring 1 tablespoon of water to boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time.  This method will help it emulsify, which means mixing two liquids together that normally don’t mix well (water and oil).

Butter Poached Lobster

Butter Poached Lobster

Add the lobster and cook over medium low heat (do not let butter boil) for 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the lobster meat reaches 140-145°F using a Thermapen thermometer.

Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

Happy Birthday Bob!

Happy Birthday Bob!

Ingredients:

2 one and a half pound live lobsters (or one lobster per person)
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), cut into 1 tablespoon chunks

Directions:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off heat and add the lobster. Cover with lid and let cook for 3 minutes. Place lobster into a large pan of ice water (this cools down the lobster to the touch and stops the cooking process).  Remove all lobster meat from shell trying to keep lobster in tact.

2. In a sauce pan, bring 1 tablespoon of water to simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in 1 piece of butter. When butter had melted, add another piece. Continue with remaining butter pieces, one at a time. Make sure the mixture does NOT come to a boil, otherwise the butter will separate.

3. Keeping the heat on medium-low, add the lobster pieces and cook for 5 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 140-145° is reached.  Serve immediately!


Happy New Year

It has been a few weeks since I have posted anything, but I am starting this year off with some GREAT HEALTHY, quick & easy chicken recipes to help any foodie get themselves back on track and lose those 5 extra pounds that happened over the holiday.

I thought I would give you three very tasty low fat recipes, one Mexican, one Chinese, and my personal favorite, Italian….I have to say the salsa in the Mexican recipe is also great for a side to any meal…when purchasing your avocados, make sure they are ready to be eaten, the avocado should be soft to the squeeze, but more importantly, break off the stem at the top of the avocado, look inside, if it is green, you are good to go, if it is black, put it back. :o)

Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken

Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa
Chicken:
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
Salsa:
1 cup chopped and seeded plum tomato (about 2)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
½ can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 avocado, peeled and chopped

Directions:
To prepare salsa, combine tomato and next 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add avocado, stir gently to combine. Refrigerate until needed.
Combine chicken, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil in a plastic bag. Toss and marinade 3-5 minutes. Remove chicken, discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan, presentation side first (that’s the shiny side) cook 3-5 minutes on each side or until done, internal temperature of 165º.
Thinly slice chicken on an angle. Serve chicken over bed of salsa, top with additional lemon slices and chopped cilantro if desired.

Do not be intimated with any recipe that calls for a “Wok”, if you do not have one, a large deep non-stick skillet will work just as well…make sure you are using fresh ginger for this recipe, a little trick to “peeling” your ginger is to use a spoon, the outer skin peels over very nicely.

Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (about 1 large pepper)
1 cup snow peas or chopped fresh broccoli
2 tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Directions:
Heat sesame oil in a large skillet, or a large stir fry pan, over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan, sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chicken, sauté 3 minutes or until chicken begins to brown.
Combine ¾ cup water and the next 5 ingredients, whisk until sugar dissolves. Add water mixture to pan, bring to boil. Add bell peppers and snow peas. Cook for 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender and sauce thickens. Sprinkle with nuts.

I always save the best for last…this is a classic Italian entree and can also be made with veal. Next time you are looking for something “special” to fix your guests, or family, create this wonderful tasty dish, serve with a little orzo pasta on the side, a fresh green salad, and of course, a bottle of fine Chianti…

Chicken Scallopini

Chicken Scallopini
4 (6 ounce) skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Pankos, Japanese breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Cooking spray
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup dry white wine
4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon butter
Thinly pound out chicken breasts using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Brush chicken with juice, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a cake pan combined breadcrumbs and pankos. Dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture.
Heat a large non stick sauté pan coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Add chicken to pan, presentation side first (shiny side) cook 3-5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is done, internal temperature of 165º.
Deglaze pan with wine, add chicken broth and cook 2-3 minutes.
Stir in capers and butter. Thinly slice chicken breasts and serve over orzo, top with sauce.

Bon Appetite!




Pistachio Encrusted Rainbow Trout

Yikes, its been almost a week ago that we went to Bonefish…delicious meal…as always….tried the “spicy shrimp” for the first time, I was impressed…I’ll have to work on that recipe.  Here is my version of Bonefish’s “Pistachio Encrusted Rainbow Trout“…enjoy, I think its a winner!!!!

Pistachio Parmesan Crusted Trout

Lemon Butter Sauce
1/3 cup white wine
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. salt
½ tsp pepper
4 tbsp. unsalted butter

Combine white wine  lemon juice in a saucepan.  Let simmer until reduced by half.  Add heavy cream and let simmer until thick but not brown.  Add lemon zest, salt & pepper.  Whisk in butter over low heat.

Rainbow Trout
1/3 cup Panko’s (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped pistachio nuts
2 lbs. Rainbow Trout
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and pistachio nuts in a shallow pan.  Whisk egg and milk in another shallow pan (pie pans work great).  Lay trout, presentation side down and skin side up, in egg mixture than press into dry mixture firmly pressing the breadcrumbs into the fish.  This is best to do ahead of time and keep fish refrigerated for at least ½ hour to prevent coating from flaking off during cooking.

In a large sauté pan heat the butter and extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Add trout, presentation side down.  Sauté for about 2 – 3 minutes.  Carefully turn fish over and cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the fish.

Serve with lemon butter sauce drizzled over the fish.  Garnish with additional lemon zest, lemon wedges, julienned fresh basil and/or quartered artichokes hearts

Gail Churinetz

“Galena’s Cucina”