Food post! Thursday dinner: Chicken with Pineapple and Zucchini with Sweetcorn. These recipes were from Cuisines of the World: Mexico by Julia Fernández. I actually used fresh yellow corn instead of sweet corn and served it with an avocado salad. The chicken recipe was very interesting as it called for both thyme and cinnamon and you could definitely taste the cinnamon, even amidst all the other sweet and savory flavors.
Food post! Tuesday dinner: Pan-seared chicken breast, garlic mashed potatoes, and broccoli casserole. The chicken was rubbed with another recipe (called fittingly: “chicken rub”) from I’m Just Here for the Food by Alton Brown. I pounded the chicken flat with a meat tenderizer before adding the rub. The chicken came out a dark mocha color. The broccoli casserole was adapted from a recipe in Vegetarian by Linda Fraser for a broccoli and cauliflower casserole, but since I had no cauliflower, I used just the broccoli. The recipe called for covering the broccoli with a mixture made up of a cup of shredded cheese, a half a cup of plain yogurt, two tablespoons of mustard, salt to taste, and a covering of breadcrumbs. I’m pretty sure we used more than the recommended cup of cheese, but that only makes it better, right?
Food post! Wednesday dinner: Jugged Chicken (frango na pucara) and fresh cèpes with parsley dressing. Once again the main dish was from Portuguese Cooking by Hilaire Walden while the side dish was from Vegetarian by Linda Fraser. The chicken dish is called ”jugged” because it is traditionally prepared in an earthenware pot. I however used a cast iron dutch oven. The chicken came out surprisingly tender, while the vegetables were very fresh. The recipe called for a lot of tomato, onion, garlic, and bell pepper, so it had a very rich salsa-like taste. Warm salsa with pieces of chicken may not sound appetizing, but I assure you it was yummy. The recipe also called for lots of alcohol: white wine, white port, and brandy. Since I actually had white port (and since it’s a type of wine wine), I used the port mixed with brandy and omitted the regular white wine. As for the salad: I had no cèpes, so I used dried mushrooms that I’d picked up at the Asian market. I have no idea what this particular variety of mushrooms is properly called, but regardless I sautéed them in rice vinegar, butter, honey, and white port to bring them to life. The mushrooms were then sliced and served on a bed of romaine lettuce and topped with parmesan cheese, almonds, and the parsley dressing. The parsley dressing called for two egg yolks, minced parsley, a pinch of sugar, and peanut oil, but I used a basil infused soybean oil instead. It turned out great.
Food post! Friday lunch: Baked Chicken with potatoes and onions (Frango à moda do alentejana) and pastry wrapped asparagus. Yet again the main dish was from Portuguese Cooking by Hilaire Walden and the side dish was from Vegetarian by Linda Fraser. This is the third night in a row that this particular combination has occurred and I must state that it is completely unintentional (I promise, I own more than two cookbooks!) The baked chicken casserole called for sprig of fresh rosemary, but I had to settle for using dried rosemary instead. The asparagus was fun to make. Despite being from a vegetarian cookbook, the recipe called for butter, but I used olive oil instead (more authentically Greek). The sauce for the asparagus was made from butter, white wine, chives, parsley, and scallions. But I must confess, this photograph is not reflective of the truth; I actually dirtied a plate just for this picture. The truth is: I ate dinner last night at Wilhagen’s (Thursday Trivia!) But I remembered how unattractive it looked the last time that I took a picture of food in tupperware, so I “staged” this photo, then transferred the contents of the plate into a tupperware container to take for lunch today. Full disclosure!
Food post! Saturday dinner: Chicken phyllo pie and steamed asparagus with tarragon hollandaise. The former recipe was from The Greek Cookbook by Sophia Skoura and the latter was from Vegetarian by Linday Fraser. The chicken phyllo pie, called “κοτóπιττα” in Greek (pronounced “ko-TOE-pee-tah”), was easy. The filling was made with chicken, onion, nutmeg, milk, parsley, and a couple eggs. The asparagus was topped with a hollandaise sauce made with melted butter, lemon juice, two egg yolks, sea salt, and dried tarragon. The recipe called for fresh tarragon, but that’s hard to find ‘round Tuscaloosa! I may have to start growing my own. Target had a sale on asparagus, and I bought a lot of it. I’m almost out, but asparagus is one of those veggies I just don’t get tired of, so no worries.
Food post! Sunday dinner: Chicken pot pie and Fennel, Orange, & Arugula Salad. The recipe for the salad was from Vegetarian by Linda Fraser, while the chicken pot pie was something I made from scratch with no recipe. The salad was one of the more interesting salad recipes from Vegetarian (hubristically subtitled: “The Best-Ever Recipe Collection”). Too many of the recipes in the book’s salad section (about half!) are actually “pasta salads”, and while I have nothing against pasta… I’ll reference an Italian cookbook if I plan to go in that direction. It’s one of the books major short-comings; one other being that there’s no recipes for collard, mustard, turnip greens, or kale. Also the book contains some absurd and inaccurate anecdotes, but it does have its high points: it’s well-organized and includes copious full-color illustrations, so you know how what you’re making should look. As for the salad dressing, it was a vinegarette made with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and minced garlic. As Alton Brown recommends, the ingredients for the vinegarette were combined in a cocktail shaker and only assembled via vigerous shaking at the last minute. The pot pie was cooked in a cast iron pot using a premade crust, chicken breast, frozen peas, red onion, and a creamy roux made from butter, flour, salt, lots of pepper, dry milk, water, and some of that herb blend from St. George Island. Easy peasy.
Food post! Sunday lunch: Chicken with walnut sauce (pechugas en nogada), sweet potatoes with tequila (camutes con limas y tequila), and steamed asperagus. Recipes from Cuisine of the World: Mexico by Julia Fernández. This was a fun recipe to make, the chicken was baked and topped with yellow bell peppers and a walnut sauce that was made with chicken broth, sour ceam, cream cheese, and half a cup of walnuts that had been crushed in a food processor. The sweet potatoes were pan-fried in butter and sprinkled with sugar, tequila, lemon juice (recipe called for lime juice, but I was out), and salt. The asperagus were simply steamed and served with sliced lemon.
Food post! Saturday lunch: Peppered chicken breast with spinach and strawberry salad. Recipe from the Paleo Diet Cookbook by Loren Cordain. This recipe was in the book under the title “Homewood chicken”, but near as I can tell, it has little or nothing to do with Jefferson county. The chicken was started in the skillet, then baked for 30 minutes, then finished with a 5 minute broil. Easily the most involved Paleo recipe I’ve seen. It was accompanied by fennel, mushrooms, and radishes (the recipe called for tomatoes, but I was out). I served it with a salad of spinach and strawberries topped with cashews and a pepper/lemon juice vinegarette.
Food post! Monday dinner: Altamira Stuffed Chicken, boiled root veggies, and spinach salad. Recipes from The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain. The recipe actually called for stuffing a whole chicken; I adapted it by tenderizing a chicken breast with a mallet, layering the stuffing on top, then rolling it Cordon Blue style. The stuffing was assembled from chicken livers, celery, apples, raisins, white wine (recipe called for red), and walnuts. The side dish was simply boiled carrots and parsnips, seasoned with pepper and dill. I served it with a spinach salad made with walnuts and grape tomatoes.
And in a side note, I was in New Orleans all last week when the bad weather rolled through Tuscaloosa. I was lucky, I came back to find my house and vehicles were still there. Where I live (north of the river off of Snows Mill Avenue) had hardly any damage. A tree was down in my neighborhood, and part of a fence was blown over. Otherwise, nothing. Like I said, lucky.
Food post! Sunday breakfast: Scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, and blackberries. Didn’t bother with any recipes, just cooked breakfast.
Food post! Saturday lunch: yellow curry soup. Made with yellow bell pepper, minced garlic, eggplant, onions, free-range chicken, straw mushrooms, coconut milk, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, and ground ginger.