Monday, January 23, 2012
From the idea for the Poached Chicken and Tarragon I blogged a couple of weeks ago to actual recipes such as the 10 minute souffle that I intend to make it was a very useful book. I even learned a few new bits of trivia from this book. Things such as Potatoes Dauphinoise is named after the Dauphine region of France (think their Alps) where it originated.
It is very well written in simple easy to follow numerated steps. Each recipe has notes on variations or unusual ingredients or why a step was taken. Too easy to not screw it up which makes his simplified, lower in calorie recipes so much easier to do than the originals.
Although I can't reprint recipes from the book direct, if I get an inspiration for a flavor profile or a new technique I'll certainly point you back to this book. I'm funny that way...I get robbed enough of copyrighted material I certainly won't do it to someone else...so buy the book already.
The book also has a useful chart for converting metric to our English measurements. Included on that chart page is conversion from F to C to "gas mark" that the brits use. He even implores you to take the time and actually just buy a scale to help you with more accurate measurements for the "science of baking".
This book is well worth the $20 I paid for it at Surfas. I wish they had the book available for purchase online, but they don't so use it as an excuse to pop in on them at their store in Culver City. Their street addy is: 8777 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA
Sunday, January 22, 2012
This stuff is seriously good and completely justifies one cost of Costco membership.
I've used this often on Salmon steaks as it brings out a pretty terrific flavor to them. I either use the grill pan with them or micro-roast depending on how much time I have to fuss with dinner on a given day. Either way you wind up with a nicely "grilled tasting" mesquite flavor without the hassle of breaking out the barbecue, especially nice to have around in winter when raining makes real grilling not an option. Unless of course you are some sort of masochist that loves standing in a cold rain with an umbrella hoping for the authentic taste.
I also have a great cocktail party appetizer I make with this seasoning that I call a Salmon Mousse. Take 1 salmon steak cooked with the "Sweet Mesquite Seasoning" and using a fork flake it until it is all nice and fluffy. Take 2 8oz packages of room temp Cream Cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream. Whip until fluffy, fold in the flaked salmon and 2 teaspoons of the "Sweet Mesquite Seasoning". Serve with crackers or french bread rounds.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
For starters, and I've said it before, I'm not the biggest fan of this domesticated bird, mostly because it lacks any real flavor of its own and bad experiences with it while at KFC back in High School. The fam however loves the stuff. I've figured how how to keep the breasts moist while cooking it up, I've even figured out that it really is just a flavor delivery device that loves to be sauced.
A couple of things with this recipe. At the end its really important that you cook the residual poaching liquid down to a few tablespoons before adding the heavy cream. Not doing so will leave you with a runny sauce. And yes, this is calling for heavy cream to finish up the sauce as this is a French inspired recipe. Sometimes its fun to be indulgent and sauce up with the heavy cream. Not something one should do every day, but once a month or so its good for the soul to do it with little harm to ones overall diet.
For the wine in the poaching liquid I used a dry white we had left over from the night before. It was a Chardonnay. I've heard and learned over the years one should use a wine you'd drink instead of the "cooking" wines you buy at the grocery stores. The flavor really is so much better and its not sullied with extra salt etc.,.
Poached Chicken and Tarragon
- 4 large chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 C dry white wine
- 1 T dried tarragon
- 2 t onion salt
- 1 t fresh ground pepper
- 1 c heavy cream
In large covered skillet add the chicken breasts. Sprinkle on onion salt, pepper and tarragon. Pour in wine. Add cover. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Turn chicken once during the poaching. Don't worry that the poaching liquid doesn't completely immerse the chicken.
Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Increase heat and boil down the poaching liquid until reduced to a few tablespoons. Add heavy cream and whisk in. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes uncovered to thicken. Return breasts to the sauce and heat through.
Serve over rice with some sauce spooned over the chicken.