Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A SuperBowl experiment gone oh-so-right!

Guacomole: done.
5 layer dip: done.
Bean and Corn Wontons: done.
But what do I do with this chicken breast I have left over? And those panko bread crumbs and plain yogurt? Well you make mustard chicken tenders with homemade honey mustard dipping sauce of course!
I struck out on my own for this unintentional discovery a couple weekends ago while making some tasty game-time treats with my friend, BR. It was a simple, delicious and a hit at the bar! (Yes we brought our own food to the bar) So, lets begin:

You need...
Chicken Breast - single is fine but a pair is always I wrong?
Plain yogurt
Panko bread crumbs and some herbed crumbs (they're smaller and coat well where the panko might miss.)
Mustard of your choice. I'm going to suggest an average yellow mustard for the chicken and a seedy dijon for the sauce.

- pre heat oven to 350
- Cut up the chicken breast into approx 1-2 inch cubes or stripes, whatever you prefer.
- in a bowl, mix the yogurt with some mustard. I'd go with about a 1 part yogurt to .25 part mustard ratio, we're just looking for a subtle flavor here.
- lay the bread crumbs out on a plate.
- dip chicken in yogurt/mustard goodness then roll it in bread crumbs and place each piece on a lightly greased pan.
- place said pan in oven to bake and set timer for 10 mins, check at 5 mins though just to be safe. If they need longer than 10 than go for it. I'm going to suggest checking the thickest nug to see if its cooked.
Note: if you find the chicken is done but the crumbs aren't yet crispy flip on the broiler for a sec.

Time to get saucey!
- Mix some honey with some dijon mustard to taste. Done.

Game on! Wasn't that easy? And its pretty healthy too!

Alright kid, good talk! See you out there! (insert smack on the ass here)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We missed you so!

After a brief hiatus we're back at the stove, stilettos and all! It was a long cold figurative winter in our kitchen this summer and we're both SUPER PSYCHED to get back to it! So without further adieu...

A Summer Fruit Tart of sorts (with a fun little extra)

This tasty goodness began with a post-dinner desperate need for something sweet...oh and healthy too! We found the following in NC's freezer/fridge/cabinets:

2 Nectarines
Multi-grain pancake mix and whatever those directions call for (shameless plug for Trader Joe's Multi-Grain Pancake Mix...this stuff is mmm mmm good as pancakes, waffles, muffins...a summer fruit tart perhaps...)
A cast iron frying pan
Maybe some oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon if you so desire.
And of course, Love. This is usually located in the back corner of the shelf with the sugar...or the butter tray if you're Paula Dean

Moving on:
Heat the pan to a medium high temp and spread some "love" all over that.
Cut up the nectarines, toss in the hot pan with the berries.
Toss a little cinnamon and brown sugar in there for good measure.
Let the berries reduce...we do love a good reduction.
While they do their thing, preheat the oven to 400ish and do up the pancake mix and put it aside for a moment.
Once you've got a some serious liquid going on take the pan off the heat and pour the liquid into a glass or bowl and set it aside for later.
Make sure the berry/stone fruit goodness is spread evenly over the bottom of the pan before we experience the greatness of cast iron cookware.
Pour the pancake mix over the fruit and sprinkle a some of the oatmeal/brown sugar/spices on top and pop that s#*$ in the oven!!

And now we wait...
Check on the oven every so often...we were impatient and checked every 5-10mins. I think it went for about 20mins total.
When the pancake is cooked through and the oatmeal is good and crispy take out the tart and let it cool before digging in!

One more thing: Remember that magic berry elixir we put aside? Good. Go ahead and strain that, pop a bottle of Prosseco and make yourself a Belini because, like L'Oreal says, you're worth it!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Your Liver Will Forgive You

This is a light and delicious dinner to make you feel better about kicking your liver in the face with all that Guiness and cornbeef. Its easy and openended, as usual, so as not to make your hung over head explode. Lets begin, shall we?

Pick a light white fish filet (1 filet/person). I prefer Talapia since it's not prone to flaking apart and its typically easy on the wallet, but of course chose anything you prefer, even salmon!

Grab some cilantro, asparagus, 1 lemon or 2 if you're serving more than , a clove of garlic, salt and pepper (if you're that kid who doesn't have it your kitchen already) and EVOO. On to the non-edible items you need; tin foil, tongs wouldn't hurt but not necessary, a shallow pan.

Preheat oven to 350degrees

Lay out a sheet of tin foil for one filet, the idea is that you'll losely wrap up the filet to cook so make sure its large enough. Season filet on both sides with a little salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Slice the lemon in almost half and put the smaller end aside. Thinly slice the other part the round way and place one or two rings on the filet. Use the smaller bit to squeeze some juice over the filet. Add a couple sprigs of cilantro and fold the foil into a loose pocket around the fish and put the pockets in the oven. They won't take too long, maybe 20 mins. Feel free to check it after about 15 to ensure it doesn't dry out.

Cut the tough white yuck ends off the asparagus and lay it out in the shallow pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with some S&P. Finely chop the garlic and sprinkle over the asparagus. Toss the aspargus around in the oil and garlic to make sure its nicely coated. Preferably you'd use the broiler feature on your oven but if your fish isn't done by this time feel free to toss the asparagus in on the top shelf and turn on the broiler when the fish comes out. The asparagus should cook until its lightly browned/crisped.

If you're not into aspargus you can use the same oil/garlic roasting thing with summer squash, zuch, carrot slices, red potato, pretty much anything with some substance.

Hopefully this meal will make you feel a little bit better about the emminant binging you may have taken part in this past weekend; maybe lighter on your feet for the purpose of jigging! No Jigging? Fine, either way enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Note on Cooking Safety

While we do encourage a little sipping while cooking (a splash for the pot and splash for my glass!) we do not suggest experimenting in the kitchen after, say, overindulging in juice. I recently had a discussion with a friend (we'll call her JEM) in which she relayed her adventures in post "night on the town" cooking.

Moral of the story: Don't cook things involving fire/heat unless you are able to remain conscious throughout the process. Like the PSA along the highway say, "Stay awake for safety's sake."


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If you give a Mousse a... of milk and a quick whip you get a delightfully dense flourless cake batter with which to make tasty tarts!
With the intention of bringing some Bitter to the Sweet that is Hallmark's Favorite Holiday (Valentine's Day, for those of you who aren't quite following) NC and MQ ventured to the grocery store last week. We had the right idea going into this experiment (and it was truly an experiment folks!) Basically the idea was a variety of bitter, sour and sweet tartlets; Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse, Lemon Curd, and Raspberry Preserve. Somewhere along the way we strayed from our original plan and created something amazing!

Necessary Items include:
Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Butter, about 1/2 - 1 inch of a stick
Pot in which to heat water and bowl in which to melt chocolate over said hot water (Double boiler system)
3 or 4 eggs, separated (both parts will be used)
Jar of Lemon Curd
Jar of Raspberry preserves
Corn Starch
1/2 Lemon
Mini cupcake pan and average cupcake pan
Puff pastry (we used Phyllo and later decided against it, more on that to follow)

We made this a two person game. MQ was on Chocolate duty while NC handled the fruity reduction... she loves a good reduction... Anyway, we'll start with Chocolate:
- Preheat oven to 350ish
- Fill pot about 1/2 way with water and place bowl (which should be big enough to sit on top of pot without touching the bottom of the pot, see the picture for visual aide) on the pot. Let the water come to a boil and reduce to a medium heat.
- Add the bag of chocolate chips and butter. Stir and allow to melt.
- Once melted add a wee splash of milk, or half and half. Stir it in, it should be getting fudgey... yumm!
- Remove this from the heat and allow to cool to a point where you can dab a little on your lip without pain...then lick it off
- After the chocolate has cooled, fold in one egg yolk at a time.
- Whip the egg whites to a point where they have some serious body then fold into the chocolate mix.
- If at this point your chocolate is light and fluffy than you've got one up on us! Now ruin it by whipping it too hard and breaking the fluff factor.
- Pour the fudgey batter into the average sized cupcake pan, each cup should be filled about 1/2 way.

- Cut some small squares from the puff pastry just large enough to fill the inside of mini cupcake cups. Spoon just a little of the fudgey goodness into each cup.
- Into the oven they go! Keep an eye on them and you will see they rise ever so slightly. Do the toothpick test after 5-7 minutes and assess the remaining time accordingly. They will, despite NC's doubts, cook through!

On to the fruity fun!

- Heat a sauce pan to about medium. Mix half the jar of Raspberry Preserves and half the Lemon Curd together in the pan. (Yes, this is one of those times where you mix to taste, make a sweetly and sour puckingly perfect fruity filling thats all your own!)
- Let this beautiful blend reduce (we love a good reduction...) and stir in a dash of corn starch in to thicken.
- Feel free to get a squeeze of fresh lemon juice in there, more curd, more preserves, whatever you feel is the right step!
- When the mix is thick (basically not runny at all, no one likes a runny filling, are we wrong?) and reflects your personal tastes remove from the heat and set aside while you wait attentively for the faboo-fudge to finish their assent to experiemental greatness!
When the assorted cupcake pans come out (maybe not at the same time, keep in mind) let them cool and then spoon a dollop of the fruit on top of each cupcake and into each tartlet. Arrange attractively on a pretty plate, admire your "fruitful" labor (ha, we're so witty), and indulge in a Bittersweet love affair!!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Delectable Discoveries vol. 1 - Brinjal Relish

This occasional segment has been created to share some of the items we discover in the gourmet stores, markets, restaurants, NYC/Boston streets, Armenian fairs, and mother's pantries of our lives. It could be a recipe, a wine, an odd yet supposedly edible item...who know, you'll just have to stay tuned to find out! Lets begin, shall we?

Forgive us if we are behind the culinary common knowledge times, but we recently discovered that Brinjal is the Hindi name for Eggplant. This awesomely edible and gorgeously colored fruit clearly has many uses (grilled, marinated, moussaka-ed, you get the idea) and has been a favorite, right up there with the Portobello, among those seeking a vegetarian alternative as it provides a texture and level of gastronomical satisfaction similar to carnivorous options. Funfact: Like the tomato, eggplant is not technically a vegetable but rather a savory fruit that we have come to use as we would vegetables.
Not personally being a big fan of the eggplant I was recently pleasantly surprised to discover a use for it in appetizer form. My mother, a virtual Martha Stewart, used a Brinjal relish (we'll say it was made by a popular brand of Indian sauces and various food items that starts with P and ends with -atak's) and combined it with chopped up marinated artichokes. This delish mixture was then spread liberally over the top of a wheel of Brie cheese and tossed in the oven (approx 400degrees for 13-18 mins, just until its spreadabley soft and warm, mmmm). It comes out oooo sooo goooood. How easy was that? Best spread on crostini or something strong enough to hold up the savory amazingness of this delectable delight.
Eat well and with great pleasure!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Fraiche-est Creme

Introducinggggggggg.. MISS CREME FRAICHE!

Miss MQ, as she prefers to be called, has made quite a few ellusions to this NC character. And that fantastical lover of fat, fancy and fabulous has arrived. In the flesh. Or, in the Fraiche, to be more specific.

As a little introduction, I would like to share with you some of my fundamental beliefs about cooking and baking:

* Either activity is always performed more proficiently (and with much more gusto) when bolstered by cocktails... I recommend Champagne (Andre if youre in college or underage, Veuve Cliquot if youre overage and feeling sassy)

* If you Fuck it up ( a word I employ in the kitchen quite often- cooking demands Bravado, DAMNIT) then don't panic... unlike most things in life, mistakes in the kitchen are usually edible

* Salt early and often. Not only does salt add flavor but it also helps meats retain moisture (see: salt on an icy sidewalk) Remember, kids, nobody likes dry meat. Not now, NOT EVER

* Sharing is Caring. Food is about friends, warmth, and bringing people together. But mostly its about FEEDING THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS ! So don't be a fatty and remember to give your friend down the block some of those delicious confections. Or, if your recipe sucks and tastes like doggy doo-doo then feed it to your enemies, I guarantee you they won't come back for seconds.***

* Finally, the rules for the kitchen should be the same as the bedroom: Don't be afraid to experiment. Throw some curry powder in that deviled egg recipe...pair cornbread with a homemade chipotle cheddar butter (that one care of Indigo restaurant, Hamilton)...pineapple juice in with a roasted chicken..Who knows? the possibilities are endless. A disclaimer- while a good chef appreciates daring, The Comestible Divas do NOT encourage introducing curry powder to the bedroom and are not responsible for the results if one is to forego our advice

*** See: Senior year, spicy cupcake. But thats a story for another day. Stay Tuned.