Thursday, January 20, 2011

a bubbly sip & tangelo twist

Although winter is concentrated with comfort foods, rich sauces and therapeutic textures, the promise of spring shines through with the brightness of fresh herbs and citrus.

In an evening preparing "fried chicken and biscuits," I put my spin on the classic with tangy tangelo, velvet mascarpone & a bit of bubbly.

C h e e r s !

Oatmeal-Crusted Chicken Fried Chicken with
a Tangelo Relish, Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes,
Buttermilk Biscuits and a Pink Peppercorn Gravy

Oatmeal-Crusted Chicken Fried Chicken

Serves 2.

1/2 c AP flour
1 egg, whisked
1/2 c old fashioned oats
1/2 c dried breadcrumbs
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
peanut oil for frying

Begin by creating a breading station: add flour to one plate, whisked egg to another, and a mixture of oats and breadcrumbs to the third. Pat chicken breasts dry and season with salt and fresh-cracked pepper. Dredge each breast with flour (shaking off excess), eggs, and then oatmeal mixture. Make sure to coat all edges completely.

Chill on a sheet pan while heating oil.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a cast iron skillet at medium high heat until a fleck of flour sizzles. Carefully place your chicken breasts in hot oil and fry 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.

Finish in a 375 degree oven until just cooked through (approximately 3 more minutes depending on thickness).

Tangelo Relish

Serves 2.

1 tangelo, segmented
1 T jalapeno, ribbed, seeded and minced
2 T red onion, minced
juice and zest of 1/2 lime
1 T Italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Chill while preparing meal. Serve atop Oatmeal-Crusted Chicken Fried Chicken.

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Serves 2.

1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, diced in 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 c mascarpone
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 T unsalted butter
salt to taste

Simmer potato chunks in cold water approximately 20 minutes until fork tender. Meanwhile, simmer cream and butter together to warm. When potatoes are tender, drain well and return to pot over low heat.

Allow excess liquid to escape as steam. Mash potatoes with melted butter, simmered cream, mascarpone and salt to taste. Serve hot.

Buttermilk Biscuits

(recipe adapted from Epicurious)

Makes 12 biscuits.

3 c AP flour
2 T sugar
4 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 c buttermilk, plus additional for brushing
1 t fresh rosemary, minced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together dry ingredients and rosemary. Cut in the butter with hands until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add 1 cup buttermilk. Using your hands, quickly fold the dry ingredients into the buttermilk until a sticky dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Gently fold the dough over itself 3-4 times to create layers. Press dough out to 1.5 inches thick and cut with a 3-inch round cutter (do not twist). Lay biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet, brush tops with buttermilk and finish with cracked black pepper. Bake 15-20 minutes until risen and golden.

Pink Peppercorn Gravy

Serves 2.

1.5 T unsalted butter
1.5 T AP flour
1 c whole milk
1 sprig fresh rosemary
salt, black pepper and crushed pink peppercorn to taste

Begin by making white roux. Melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour to form a paste. Cook paste approximately 2 minutes careful not to brown. Stir in whole milk and whisk constantly. Bring mixture to a boil to thicken and add rosemary sprig. When ideal consistency is reached, season with salt, black pepper and crushed pink peppercorn. Serve immediately.

After a luxurious meal full of southern comfort,
my boyfriend and I sipped a lovely floral
Blanc de Blancs Champagne from the Chardonnay grape.

Bubbles and fried chicken-- a match made in heaven!

For dessert, I made a classic crumbling sweet perfect for all ages:

Peanut Butter Cookies with Turbinado

Yields: 4 dozen
(I cut this recipe in half)

3 c AP flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 c unsalted butter, softened
1 c creamy peanut butter
2 t vanilla extract
1 c golden brown sugar, packed
1 c sugar
2 eggs
turbinado (for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy- about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Stir in half of dry mixture then add eggs one at a time mixing quickly after each addition. Mix in remaining dry ingredients.

With a small scoop, form dough into uniform balls and space evenly on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Using back of a fork, flatten dough balls and form a crosshatch design on top.

Sprinkle with turbinado.

Bake approximately 12 minutes and remove while still chewy, yet set. Let cool on baking sheet 3 minutes then transfer with spatula to a cooling rack.

Enjoy cookies with a cold glass of milk!

Finally, a big thank you to photographer, Kari Crowe
for the thoughtful mention on her gorgeous blog:

Check out her write-up on ideal shower ideas
with Linguine and Dirty Martinis.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

a de-cluttering feat & roasted beets

For the dawn of this new year, one of my resolutions is to de-clutter!

I have numerous clients who apologize profusely for their "tiny" kitchens when I arrive to cook.

It always makes me smile when I think of my shoebox of a kitchen.

Organization truly is key when it comes to tiny spaces.

When dealing with drawers, I try to organize in categories. For example, everything pastry or baking-related (measuring devices, scoops, whisks, microplanes, piping tips, candy thermometers, brushes, spatulas and circle cutters) belong in one drawer.

My electrical stove is extremely temperamental. The top right burner gets hotter on one side so I have to rotate the pan to attempt an even sear. The front left burner doesn't even work-- it just smokes (I need to get that one fixed).

My trick to dealing with a less-than-perfect stove is to use high quality cookware that transfers heat evenly. My pick? Le Creuset.

I am also in extreme close quarters when it comes to counter space. Rolling out pie crusts, tart doughs or cookies is always interesting on my limited counter. Working quickly in small batches is ideal for me.

I keep my spices simply organized against my cabinet door through the magic of velcro to avoid clutter and prevent spices from sitting in the back of the cabinet for months and months.

My top three spices used: crushed pepper flakes, ground ginger and star anise.

My pantry is multipurpose: dry food staples, entertaining platters, Le Creuset cookware, cast-iron skillets, vases, party supplies, trays, broom and coolers.

I try to avoid purchasing those naughty, processed pantry staples such as chips, caloric crackers and boxed meals. Instead, I bulk up on oatmeal, couscous, brown rice, canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, jarred olives and capers, dried pasta, cereal and ingredients for any pastry whim I may fall within!

For me, making soups is extremely therapeutic-- especially in a clean, organized kitchen.

After a sigh of relief from a weekend of "de-cluttering," I simmered a bright and flavorful soup with intense colors, warming spices, and a swirl of elegant cream perfect for the recent icy weather.

Roasted Beet Soup with Star Anise and a Grapefruit Cream

Serves 4.

1 red onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1/2 t fresh ginger, minced
2 star anise
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
3 beets, peeled and diced
1 T apple cider vinegar
4 cups vegetable stock
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Saute onion, celery, ginger, star anise and red pepper flakes until vegetables are tender and translucent-- about 10 minutes. Season with salt and fresh-cracked pepper.

Add beets and deglaze pan with apple cider vinegar and vegetable stock, careful to scrape brown bits off bottom of pan. Simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes until beets are tender. Stir in fresh cilantro and check for seasonings. Remove star anise and set aside for garnish.

Let soup cool slightly then puree with an immersion blender. Garnish with a drizzle of grapefruit cream, star anise and additional grapefruit zest if desired.

Grapefruit cream:

1/4 c heavy cream
1 T fresh grapefruit zest
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together ingredients. Spoon atop hot soup.

Cheers to a zen, healthful and delicious new years!


Friday, January 7, 2011

show love for your love

Just in time for the weeks surrounding St. Valentine's,

Linguine and Dirty Martinis will be offering intimate dinner services for a romantic dinner to remember.

Avoid busy restaurants and overpriced cocktails with a made-from scratch and elegant multi-course meal prepared and served in the comfort of your home.

Meal options include:

O p t i o n I

provencal goat cheese tart with caramelized onions

homemade mascarpone raviolos in an herb butter sauce

surf n’ turf:

seared filet of beef, chive lump crab salad, pomegranate reduction

chocolate pots de crème with a lavender anglaise

O p t i o n I I

pan-fried shrimp and leek potstickers with lemongrass soy

spinach salad with sautéed wild mushrooms and grapeseed oil

roasted tamarind salmon with a sweet chile potato puree and crispy broccolini

pear and crystallized ginger tartlets

O p t i o n I I I

carrot ginger soup with curried crostini

gorgonzola wedge with candied pecans and pomegranate

rustic-chicken pies with heart-shaped pastry, herb cream, fennel, butternut squash

chocolate-dipped cherries with crushed hazelnuts

O p t i o n I V

margherita pizettes with truffled balsamic

lemon caesar with pecorino and housemade breadcrumbs

seared sea scallops with pancetta and acorn squash risotto

lemon cinnamon soufflés

Visit Linguine and Dirty Martinis for more information.

Book your spot early! Valentine's week will fill up quickly.