Rhubarb Chicken 

This is easily one of the Top Ten Best Things I have ever cooked. Not actually that difficult or time consuming, as the ingredients do most of the work, but the results are stunning.  
Alas, as is usually the case with my cooking, I did not measure anything, so the quantities are quite approximate, and there is a lot of leeway to adjust to taste. The amounts listed are for two chicken breast halves (i.e. one chicken’s worth), because that is what I had left over from the whole chicken I cooked the other day, but can obviously be scaled to feed the family and/or have leftovers.

I have included links to the two donor recipes below, so you can follow along and be a bit more precise, as well as decide if you like my deviations or prefer the originals.

Ingredients

• 2 chicken breasts

• All-purpose flour

• Light olive oil

• A bunch of Fresh thyme sprigs

• 1 large or two medium shallots, coarsely chopped

• 2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

• 1 large rib of rhubarb, coarsely chopped

• 1 tsp Dijon mustard

• 1 tsp orange blossom honey

• 1 TB each gin, cachaça, dry vermouth

• Salt & Pepper to taste (French Atlantic Sea Salt and Freshly ground mixed peppercorns)

• Mint sauce for serving (see below)

Directions

1. Marinate the chicken or dry brine with salt, pepper, and thyme for a couple of hours.

2. Dry chicken and dredge in flour, cover thoroughly and coat all of the nooks and crannies.

3. Place chicken pieces one a time between two sheets of wax paper, and pound out into thin cutlets, about 1/4-1/2” thick.

4. Redredge chicken in flour, and heat olive oil in large non-stick skillet.

5. Sauté chicken until golden brown, then flip and add chopped veggies and thyme.

6. Mix the mustard, wine/liquor, salt, pepper, and honey, then add to pan when chicken is almost done, and shake to deglaze anything stuck to the bottom and coat evenly. The liquid should all be absorbed, as this is not the sauce for the dish, just the flavouring.

7. For serving, top each cutlet with a spoonful of rhubarb, and garnish with a thyme sprig, and some scattered chopped mint and parsley leaves. Serve with the mint sauce alongside so it can be added to taste.

Mint sauce

• 1 cup mint leaves

• ½ cup flat leaf parsley

• 1 large serrano pepper, seeded

• 4 small cloves garlic

• 1 TB Dijon mustard

• 1 TB honey

• 1 TB gin or cachaça (optional)

• Salt and pepper to taste

• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

• ¼ cup water

Add the vegetables to food processor or blender and pulse until finely minced. Then add oil in thin stream. Add water as necessary to keep it from sticking and allow for smooth blending.

Notes

The original recipe calls for bone-in chicken pieces, which obviously takes a lot longer to cook. I like the freshness of using the thin cutlets and the resulting quick cook time.

Would be good with a nice white wine, but since I don’t really drink those, I would go for as good of a pinot noir as you can afford.


1. Skillet Chicken With Rhubarbby Melissa Clark

http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016577-skillet-chicken-with-rhubarb
INGREDIENTS

1 (5 1/2-pound) whole chicken, cut into eight pieces

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed

1 teaspoon black pepper, more as needed

5 sprigs thyme, preferably lemon thyme

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch spring onions or scallions, white and light green stalks thinly sliced (slice and reserve greens for garnish)

2 stalks green garlic, thinly sliced, or 2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup dry white wine

¾ pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 cups)

1 tablespoon honey, or to taste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2. Bobby Flay’s Pan-Roasted Chicken With Mint Sauce

by Sam Sifton

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016604-bobby-flays-pan-roasted-chicken-with-mint-sauce

INGREDIENTS

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Kosher salt to taste

2 tablespoons Spanish paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground mustard

2 teaspoons ground fennel seed

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup fresh mint leaves

½ cup fresh parsley leaves

4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughlychopped

1 serrano chile, seeds removed androughly chopped

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly groundblack pepper.
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Rappie Pie (Chicken Potato Kugel)

This is a traditional Acadian recipe from Nova Scotia, which I slightly adapted to serve as the centerpiece for Yom Haatzmaut. In this form, it could easily pass as a traditional Jewish kugel or Israeli pashtida. 

Ingredients 

1 whole chicken

8 cups water

6-8 Potatoes 

1 large onion, trimmed with peel

1 large onion, peeled

1 large Carrot, peeled

1-2 stalks Celery, with leaves

2 parsnips

2 fresh bay leaves

Salt and pepper
Directions 

1. Cut chicken into pieces, reserving skin and fat

2. Cut the skin into small pieces, and render over low heat in small pan

3. boil chicken with veg to make well seasoned broth, until chicken is just cooked through. 

4. Debone chicken and cut into bite sized pieces

5. Add bones and trimmings back to stock pot and continue to simmer

6. Grate potatoes, 1 parsnip, 1 onion. squeeze out all water in cheesecloth or large strainer. Weight down so it drains completely. 

7. Add back broth to potatoes equal to volume of liquid that was drained. Stir well. Adjust amount of broth, should be slightly soupy but well incorporated, about 3 cups. 

8. Into greased baking pan, add half of the potatoes, spread chicken, then remainder of potatoes. Top with pieces of chicken skin and drizzle with about 2 TB of the rendered schmaltz. Slices of the boiled carrot and parsnip can also be added for decoration. 

9. Bake 45 minutes at 425°F, lower heat to 400°F and bake additional hour or until potatoes are cooked through, broth has been absorbed, and top is golden brown and pulling away from edges of pan. 
Serving

For a festive meal, serve the strained broth as first course, with challah to sop. The pie is both a main course and side dish, liven and lighten up the plate with a generous spoonful of Israeli salad dressed with lemon juice and garnished with flat parsley. Salt, pepper, and harissa should be provided to season to taste. 
Notes

1. The traditional recipe calls for buttering the dish, and topping with bacon or salt pork instead of chicken skin. 

2. Use PEI potatoes if you can get them, or other thin skinned northeastern potato. No need to peel unless you really want to. 

3. Use a pressure pot to speed up the soup making. 20 minutes under pressure is plenty 

4. Add extra chicken bones, wing tips, giblets, and feet to make a richer broth. Instead of a whole chicken, use 4-6 chicken leg quarters 

5. To make the grating easy, use food processor. Mine doesn’t have a grating disc, so I use either the julienne or fine shred disc, then pulse with blade in batches to break up the strands. This is the technique I use for making latkes. Works great, is super fast, and no skinned knuckles!

6. Butter and maple syrup are traditional condiments, but I don’t see it. 
Ref: https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/chicken/rappie-pie.html 

Breadsticks 

Italian style as interpreted by American chain style restaurants as interpreted by me (less butter and salt, more garlic). 

Quick & Easy to make, good for kids and those getting started working with yeast. 
Dough

1 cup warm water

2 1/4 tsp yeast

1 TB sugar

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp olive oil 
Filling

4 cloves garlic, minced finely (use garlic press)

4 tb grated parmesan cheese 

1 tsp salt

1 tsp olive oil 

1 TB Italian herbs

1 tsp garlic powder
Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 450°F

2. In bowl of stand mixer, add water, yeast, and sugar. Mix and allow to wake up while making filling.

3. Mix filling ingredients in small bowl

4. Add flour and held of filling to mixer. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Switch to kneading hook and knead for about five minutes until dough is elastic and smooth. 

5. Spread out dough into wide rectangle. Dimple with fingers as if for focaccia. Fold the left third and the right third into the middle, and reform into large rectangle. 

6. Place dough on baking sheet, top with remaining filling, and drizzle with olive oil. 

7. Using pizza cutter, score dough into thin strips (don’t cut through)

8. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Serve with warm marinara sauce for the dipping. 


Based on:

https://communitytable.parade.com/10408/donnaelick/30-minute-cheesy-italian-bread-sticks/

Next time I will try za’atar and feta or kashkeval for a mid eastern version. 

Would also be good with cinnamon sugar for dessert. 

Scrambled eggs with poblano 

I’ve made similar a thousand times, but this morning my eggs same out perfect. 

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 poblano 
  • 1 jalapeno 
  • 2 tortillas
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 2 slices pepper jack cheese
  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs , add a dollop of salsa, and whisk to incorporate. 
  2. Cut the peppers into vertical strips, discarding stems, seeds, and membrane. 
  3. Fry the pepper strips in hot oil until slightly limp and starting to brown around the edges. Skin should be blistered and peeling.
  4. Drain peppers on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. 
  5. In a nonstick pan, melt the butter over low heat
  6. Add the eggs, tilt the pan to coat evenly. Add the shredded cheese and stir to scramble the eggs until barely set.
  7. Spoon the eggs onto a warm tortilla, top with pepper strips, and roll up. 

Spinach Orange Salad

Made a quick salad for dinner, only a few ingredients but the flavours work well together. 

  • One package baby spinach 
  • One package baby arugula 
  • One large orange
  • One small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger, grated 
  • 1 TB light miso
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 TB cider vinegar 
  • 1 piece of miso glazed ahi tuna (optional)
  1. Lightly wilt the greens in a large pan over medium high heat, preferably in a bit of bacon grease. Don’t over cook, just warm up a bit. 
  2. Make the dressing in a large salad bowl: mix the ingredients well with a whisk to emulsify the oil
  3. Grate the Orange zest and ginger into the dressing. Or add to the greens when warming to take the edge off the rawness. 
  4. Peel the orange and cut into bite sized chunks or thin slices. 
  5. Toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings. If too mild, add a splash of rice vinegar and fish sauce. 
  6. Slice warm tuna and add on top of salad. 

Braised Turkey Legs 

I like to braise turkey legs in red wine and brandy as if they were lamb shanks. But also include elements from Chicken With 40 Cloves of garlic. 

  • 2 turkey legs
  • 1 sprig fresh tarragon 
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary 
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 head garlic (or more)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery 
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup Brandy 
  • 1 cup red wine
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Separate garlic into cloves but leave the inner peel intact. 
  3. Chop or slice remaining vegetables to make a mirepoix. 
  4. Add herbs and vegetables to casserole dish with cover large enough to snugly hold the two legs
  5. Season the meat and vegetables with salt and pepper 
  6. Add meat and liquids, cover, and braise until meat is cooked through and tender and golden brown. If desired, turn halfway to cook evenly, or just leave with skin side up 

Spread the garlic onto bread and dip in the pan juices. Or strain and thicken into a sauce, mashing in a few of the garlic cloves. 

Turkey Tip

For whatever reason, this is the only time of year when fresh turkeys are readily available and affordable in this country. I therefore urge you to pick up a bonus turkey. It can be the same as the thanksgiving bird, but doesn’t have to be. For instance, this year I splurged on a fancy D’Artagnan free range organic turkey to roast whole. But for 1/3 the price I got a natural fresh Nature’s Promise bird.

Turkey is really delicious and makes a great substitute for most pork or veal recipes. Slice the breast into cutlets and make schnitzel. Use the thighs whole in any braised recipe. Or make my turkey carnitas. Or use any of it in any chicken recipe. The wings and legs are fantastic smoked. Or the meat can be ground and used to make burgers, chili, or just about anything that needs chop meat. It really is quite versatile. And if you get it on sale, it’s only $1 or so per pound, a phenomenal bargain. It will keep for months in the freezer. 

 I cut it up into pieces as I prepared the main bird for brining. The wing tips, neck, giblets went into the saucepan with the ones from the feast bird. The two livers I ate as a snack (recipe to follow). The extra fat and skin is being rendered into schmaltz. 

To cut the bird, use a sharp boning knife. Separate the thighs from the breast and slice through the skin. Do each side. Then flip bird to breast side down, bend in half, and use a heavy knife to cut across the backbone, severing the turkey into two halves. Set aside the darkmeat half for now. Remove the wing tips, save for soup. Carefully remove the wings by probing with the knife point and cutting through the joint. 

Using the boning knife, remove the breast from the carcass, starting with backside up. Use the tip to gently release the meat from the bone as you slide along, in layers. Watch a YouTube video if you’ve never done it, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Just don’t expect it to be perfect, there may be a bit of excess meat left on the bone, or a few extra cut marks. No one will care. Work up to the top, then flip over and do the other side. Remove the carcass and set aside, then cut the two sides of the breast into separate pieces, and trim off any excess skin and fat or connective tissue. 

Return to the bottom half. Cut off the two legs, again probing with the knife to find the joint. The thigh can either be deboned as with the breast, or left whole. A big heavy meat cleaver will be needed to cut into halves. 

Label a few gallon size freezer bags. Don’t forget the date. I like to separate the two breasts, the wings, legs, and thighs. And the carcass/bones/scraps if not using right away. If grinding right away, measure out one pound portions and put in quart sized freezer bags. Make sure to press all the air out to make a tight seal before freezing. And blot off any excess moisture before putting in bag. 

Thanksgiving Update

A couple of years ago I posted my traditional Thanksgiving menu with full recipes in an easy-to-print format.

https://aardvark007.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/thanksgiving-menu/

I had intended to post last year’s rendition, but never got around to it. The main difference was the turkey, which was done following a combination of Alton Brown and Thomas Keller’s methods. It was the best I’d ever done. And to top it off, I accompanied the traditional gravy with Rick Bayliss’s full Mexican molé sauce. The combination was spectacular.

The beauty of this method is that pretty much any turkey can be used. I get the cheap fresh “all natural” version, this year on sale for $1.99/lb. No need to spend $6.99 for the fancy one from the butcher, it just takes a bit of advanced planning. Can even work with a frozen bird, it will defrost as it brines.

Basically, start with brining the bird a la Alton. Use 1 Cup of Kosher salt per gallon of water. Season with brown sugar, allspice, peppercorns, bay leaves, sage, etc. Dissolve the sugar and salt in some hot water with the spices, stir until all mixed together, then dilute with cold water/ice. I use a large stock pot, which holds the turkey. Refrigerate overnight, or leave outside if its cold out and there is no room in the fridge.
The next day, remove from brine, and dry out a la Keller. Then roast as normal. Last year I had about a 12 lb bird, it fit on the upright “chicken on a throne” beercan holder, which is highly recommended and far better than lying down as it browns evenly all over. Don’t worry about basting, its a waste of time and slows down the cooking every time you open the oven. Use Convection Roast on the oven if it has the option. Otherwise rotate a couple of times as it cooks. Cook unstuffed, Alton Brown likes to add aromatics to the cavity, I prefer the “beer can”.

Alton “traditional”:   http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/traditional-roast-turkey-recipe.html

Alton “Good Eats” version: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe.html

Thomas Keller: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes-menus/how-thomas-keller-makes-his-juicy-crispy-thanksgiving-turkey-article

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/my-favorite-roast-turkey-51258050

 

Pajeon

These Korean scallion pancakes are delicious and exotic, yet surprisingly easy and inexpensive to make at home. Makes a great appetizer cut into quarters, or a quick meal. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cod, shrimp, or squid
  • 1/3-1/2 cup kimchi 
  • 4 scallions, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into 1″ lengths 
  • 1 tsp light miso
  • 1 TB oil

Dipping sauce 

  • 2 TB rice vinegar 
  • 2 TB soy sauce 
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp gochujan chili paste
  • 1 tsp sugar 

Directions 

  1. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Let the flavors mingle while preparing the pancake. Adjust balance of sweet/sour/salty/spicy to taste. Garnish with thin slivers of scallion and red chili if desired, with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. 
  2. Mix the flour and water with miso in a bowl.
  3. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Non-stick helps, but cast iron works well too. 
  4. If not precooked, add the seafood and half cook. 
  5. Add the scallions and kimchi, spread out evenly across bottom of pan. 
  6. Pour the batter over the filling, spreading to make an even layer and fill in the gaps. There should be just enough to keep it together. 
  7. Cook over medium heat until lightly brown, then flip and do other side. If pancake is thick, cover pan for a couple of minutes to make sure it cooks through. 
  8. Slide onto plate, cut into wedges, and serve with dipping sauce. 

Atonement Kugel

A traditional food this time of year is noodle Kugel. I will find my mother’s traditional recipe and share it. But today, that is not what I made. Mostly because I didn’t have the right ingredients. And because I couldn’t find the recipe. And ran out of time. So I consulted Joan Nathan’s holiday cookbook for inspiration, then proceded to largely ignore it. Also because I didn’t have most of the ingredients. Etc.  

Luckily what I came up with was delicious, if a bit bizarre, even by my own rather generous standards. Still, it worked for what I needed. A quick and easy yet festive and unique one dish holiday meal without meat. Would also be great as a side dish as part of a more traditional meal. 

Ingredients 

  • One pound wide egg noodles 
  • 8 oz low fat sour cream 
  • 8 oz fat free Israeli or French feta, soaked in fresh water to reduce salt
  • Grated zest of one lemon 
  • Handful of raisins, soaked in calvados to cover
  • 2 dried figs, chopped and soaked in armagnac to cover
  • 2 egg whites 
  • 2 TB Sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp Hawaij for coffee
  • Handful Chopped pecans
  • 1 tb Butter

Directions 

  1. Soak feta and fruit while bringing a large pot of water to boil and preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Boil noodles for about 7 minutes, until cooked am dente 
  3. Drain noodles, allow to cool slightly, return to pot, and mix well with other ingredients 
  4. Spray medium baking pan with non stick butter flavour cooking spray
  5. Spoon mixture into pan. 
  6. Top with crushed pecans and dot with butter
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden brown
  8. Drink an atonement cocktail made with the reserved soaking alcohols (see previous post) while it bakes
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature with an Israeli pinot noir.