We spent time on our Cooking Show in the sexy month of February (will you be mine?) lol enjoying Champagne and Pairing it with Champagne.
Here are the ideas for Food
I love, love, love to pound a boneless, skinless chicken breast or piece of veal and STUFF IT! That's what we do with
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Take a breast. Put it between wax paper or plastic wrap (below and on top of). Take a pan or a pounder and pound it thin (I didn't like THAT, you said THAT, just take THAT... and repeat until spread out and thin but not ripped).
Flour the back with White Whole Wheat flour. Lay it flour side down on top of a fairly long piece of plastic wrap. Place 4 or 5 pieces of spinach, top with caramelized onions, shallots and mushrooms cooked first in another pan then used as stuffing. Follow that with a small amount of white cheddar, that you can turn pink for Valentine's Day with beet juice mixed in (careful: beet juice stains, but you can get a pre-pack of cooked beets at Trader Joe's right before the Cheese on the wall) followed by a sprinkling of Panko Breadcrumbs. I like Panko better than Italian Breadcrumbs because if you read the label you will find they use Hydrogenated Oil. Yes. Yes they do.
So this piece of chicken view as a cigar. Pull the end of the plastic towards the top of the plastic and as you go, roll the chicken up keeping the plastic on the outside. Once it's totally rolled up, think of it as a Tootsie Roll and twirl the ends one at a time, finishing each off by placing the plastic ends behind the roll. Put them in the fridge overnight. (You know shortly you will be able to see this process on YouTube plus all of our Cooking Shows and helpful hints! I'm putting up two a week, starting next week. I'll send you links as they become available)!
When you go to pull out your chicken the next day, they will be formed. The Chicken adheres to itself. How cool is that?
You can egg and Panko the outside (or not), then pan saute them on the stove top till brown. This goes into a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or low and slow at 300 degrees if you like and Voila! You have Chicken Cordon Bleu!
Easy Breezy Mac n Cheese
Well, you know how to boil water right? And you know how to make a sauce, even if it's a cheese sauce, right? Did you know that the water after cooked may now be added, teaspoon by teaspoon back into the sauce to thicken it? Ok. That's lesson ONE. And how about that sauce?
Perhaps THAT'S why I call it Easy Breezy?
Once your pasta is cooked, add half of a small round container of Mascarpone (in the cheese section). Mascarpone is generally used to fill a canolli. But we're not making dessert. So just smile and wave folks! Just smile and wave.
Coat the pasta. Sprinkle in about a half a cup of white cheddar and a quarter cup of shredded Parmesan or Parmesan Reggiano. Splash of cream if you must. Salt, Pepper. Then, here's the secret: a pinch of nutmeg. What is that flavor? KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Just say, 'Glad you like it'. lol
Mix, Mix, Mix and serve hot. And if you want a Mac n Cheese casserole just add bread crumbs dotted with butter to the top.
The last dish I want you to read about is a Polenta, Mushroom, Bread Crumb with Bay Scallops, but I just can't follow a recipe, so I really did not create or present it like she does. What I did follows her recipe, which I used simply as an 'idea' of what I might like to create. And I can tell you first hand, it's no trick to create flavor with butter. EVERY TIME you add butter to any recipe you are adding flavor. That's why chef's use it!
Me? I do everything I can to pull together food with healthy oils instead of butter. (Sometimes I'll substitute applesauce in a cookie recipe to cut down on the butter and still keep is sweet and moist).
So ..... when we made this dish we used MUCH LESS BUTTER, but still enjoyed very good flavor. Figure it out. Substitute. Get that t-shirt out that says NO FEAR and ROAR!
I mean, when I looked at this and saw fresh parsley, I thought "Fresh Cilantro", and so that's what I used. Be creative with your food. The ONLY time you have to stick to a recipe is if your baking. And during this food feast recovery time, after Thanksgiving and the Holidays you really ought to remember bathingsuit weather is around the corner (and sometimes here for a day or two unexpectedly) and STOP BAKING DESSERTS! lol
Here's more info about the chef who created the original recipe that motivated me:
Suzanne Goin is a chef and restaurateur from Los Angeles, California. As a restaurateur, she runs four restaurants in the Los Angeles area: The A.O.C., Lucques, and Tavern, which she runs with partner Caroline Styne, and The Hungry Cat, where she shares duties with her husband, David Lentz.
As an award winning chef, she was named as one of Food & Wine Magazine's "best new chefs of 1999" and was nominated for James Beard awards in 2003 and 2005. Her restaurants have been praised by Gourmet magazine, Bon Appétit and Los Angeles Times (which awarded Lucques three stars). In 2006 Goin won the James Beard award for Best Chef: California.
Bay Scallops with Polenta, Wild Mushrooms, Sherry, and Parsley Breadcrumbs
Chef Suzanne Goin prepares this dish with Taylor Bay Scallops in the shell, but it's also delicious with regular bay scallops, which are more widely available. Be sure to use a good amontillado, the medium-dry Sherry that is lightly aged to give it a mellow, nutty flavor. WHAT TO DRINK: Condrieu, an aromatic Rhône white made with Viognier grapes.
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs from French bread with crust
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
12 ounces fresh mushrooms: chanterelle, oyster, stemmed shiitake, or crimini, quartered if large
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup amontillado Sherry
1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
4 cups (or more) water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta
1 pound bay scallops
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss breadcrumbs with olive oil and parsley in medium bowl to blend. Spread onto rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden and crunchy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and thyme. Sauté until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add green onions; sauté 1 minute. Add Sherry; boil until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add cream; simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Bring 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook polenta until tender, adding more water as needed if too thick, and whisking frequently, about 20 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
Reheat mushroom mixture. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in another large skillet over high heat. Add scallops and sauté until just translucent in center, about 1 minute. Stir scallops and juices into mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide polenta among 6 plates. Spoon scallop mixture over polenta, sprinkle breadcrumbs over, and serve.
MARKET TIP: For best results and flavor, look for dry-packed scallops, which are minimally treated—or untreated—with a phosphate solution (as a preservative). Untreated scallops tend to be beige, whereas treated ones have a milky-white appearance. Specialty fish sellers and Whole Foods Market are good sources.
So my sous chef tackled this dish. She cranked out the mushroom mixture, the bread crumb mixture and made the Polenta. By the way, over her shoulder I seasoned it with Garlic Pepper and Pink Himalayan Salt (which has a little spicey 'kick' to it). And I may have thrown in just a touch of shredded cheese. Was that Parmesan? I think so.
My other sous chef dredged Mixed Seafood (packaged in the freezer section) from Trader Joe's and I had her saute that up making SURE to NOT OVERCOOK it (unless you're looking for instant rubber, great for your stock car racing guy).
Some people are allergic to shellfish. So, I served it buffet style: a dish of Polenta, a dish of seafood, a dish of the mushroom mixture, a dish of topping bread crumbs. And I say: Make the polenta your base, put a small amount of mushroom mixture on top, sprinkle seafood and breadcrumbs.... and enjoy!
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