Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baked Chicken Kiev

You’ll Need
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves
  • ¼ cup room temperature butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon crumbled dried tarragon
  • ¼ teaspoon teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • Melted butter
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Lightly butter 8-inch square baking dish.
  • Pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Combine 1/4 cup butter, tarragon and salt in small bowl and blend well.
  • Place equal portions of butter mixture in center of chicken breasts.
  • Fold ends over and tuck in sides, securing with toothpicks if necessary.
  • Roll chicken in flour.
  • Dip in eggs, then coat with breadcrumbs, covering completely.
  • Arrange in prepared baking dish.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes, basting several times with melted butter, if desired.
  • Serve immediately.
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Pine Nut Salad

This is a great recipe to use up bread that is loosing its freshness. So buy a fresh loaf and use it in many different ways. It won't go to waste and you will enjoy the taste!

You'll Need
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, cubed
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 (16 ounce) packages mixed salad greens
  • 4 green onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Directions 

Preheat broiler. Toss 3 cups cubed Italian bread with olive oil. Season with seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread out in a single layer in a well oiled 9x13 inch baking dish. Broil until toasted, turning to brown evenly. Set croutons aside to cool.

Spread pine nuts on a baking sheet, place on bottom rack of the oven, and toast under broiler. This should only take a few minutes, so watch carefully to prevent burning. Set aside to cool.

Soak sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain, and slice.
In a large salad bowl, toss mixed greens with green onions. Top with croutons, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and feta.


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Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing

You’ll Need
• ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
• ½ cup buttermilk
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
• Salt
• Pepper

Directions
• Mix together breaking up the blue cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.



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Buttermilk Corn Bread


You’ll Need
1 1/2 cups corn meal
1/2 all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 Tablespoons olive oil, separated


Directions
Preheat the oven to 450. Place 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil into an 8-10 inch iron skillet.

Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Now add the egg, buttermilk, and remaining tablespoon of oil. Then stir completely, making sure there are no little dry clumps in the .

Set the iron skillet onto the stove over a medium-high flame until the oil gets hot (it will appear "wavy"). At this point, pour the cornbread mixture into the skillet. Make sure it spreads evenly across the bottom of the pan, and let it sizzle for 3 minutes.

Take it off the stove and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Check the cornbread. If it is golden brown and/or begins to pull away from sides of pan, it is done. 


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pickles


Timeframe: 1-4 weeks
Special Equipment:

  • Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket
  • Plate that fits inside crock or bucket1-gallon/4-liter jug filled with water, or other weight
  • Cloth cover
You'll Need: (for 1 gallon/4 liters):
  • 3 to 4 pounds/1.5 to 2 kilograms unwaxed cucumbers (small to medium size)
  • 3⁄8 cup (6 tablespoons)/90 milliliters sea salt
  • 3 to 4 heads fresh flowering dill, or 3 to 4 tablespoons/45 to 60 milliliters of any form of dill (fresh or dried leaf or seeds)
  • 2 to 3 heads garlic, peeled
  • 1 handful fresh grape, cherry, oak, and/or horseradish leaves (if available)
  • 1 pinch black peppercorns
Process:1. Rinse cucumbers, taking care to not bruise them, and making sure their blossoms are removed. Scrape off any remains at the blossom end. If you’re using cucumbers that aren’t fresh off the vine that day, soak them for a couple of hours in very cold water to freshen them.
2. Dissolve sea salt in ½gallon (2 liters) of water to create brine solution. Stir until salt is thoroughly dissolved.
3. Clean the crock, then place at the bottom of it dill, garlic, fresh grape leaves, and a pinch of black peppercorns.
4. Place cucumbers in the crock.
5. Pour brine over the cucumbers, place the (clean) plate over them, then weigh it down with a jug filled with water or a boiled rock. If the brine doesn’t cover the weighed-down plate, add more brine mixed at the same ratio of just under 1 tablespoon of salt to each cup of water.
6. Cover the crock with a cloth to keep out dust and flies and store it in a cool place.
7. Check the crock every day. Skim any mold from the surface, but don’t worry if you can’t get it all. If there’s mold, be sure to rinse the plate and weight. Taste the pickles after a few days.
8. Enjoy the pickles as they continue to ferment. Continue to check the crock every day.
9. Eventually, after one to four weeks (depending on the temperature), the pickles will be fully sour. Continue to enjoy them, moving them to the fridge to slow down fermentation.

Excerpted from Wild Fermentation...
Growing up in New York City, experiencing my Jewish heritage largely through food, I developed a taste for sour pickles. Most of what is sold in stores as pickles, and even what home canners pickle, are preserved in vinegar. My idea of a pickle is one fermented in a brine solution. Pickle-making requires close attention. My first attempt at brine pickle-making resulted in soft, unappealing pickles that fell apart, because I abandoned it for a few days, and perhaps because the brine was not salty enough, and because of the heat of the Tennessee summer. And and and. “Our perfection lies in our imperfection.” There are, inevitably, fermentation failures. We are dealing with fickle life forces, after all.I persevered though, compelled by a craving deep inside of me for the yummy garlic-dill sour pickles of Guss’s pickle stall on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and Zabar’s on the Upper West Side and Bubbie’s in upscale health food stores elsewhere. As it turns out, brine pickles are easy. You just need to give them regular attention in the summer heat, when cucumbers are most abundant.One quality prized in a good pickle is crunchiness. Fresh tannin-rich grape leaves placed in the crock are effective at keeping pickles crunchy. I recommend using them if you have access to grape vines. I’ve also seen references in various brine pickle recipes to using sour cherry leaves, oak leaves, and horseradish leaves to keep pickles crunchy.The biggest variables in pickle-making are brine strength, temperature, and cucumber size. I prefer pickles from small and medium cucumbers; pickles from really big ones can be tough and sometimes hollow in the middle. I don’t worry about uniformity of size; I just eat the smaller ones first, figuring the larger ones will take longer to ferment.The strength of brine varies widely in different traditions and recipe books. Brine strength is most often expressed as weight of salt as a percentage of weight of solution, though sometimes as weight of salt as a percentage of volume of solution. Since in most home kitchens we are generally dealing with volumes rather than weights, the following guideline can help readers gauge brine strength: Added to 1 quart of water, each tablespoon of sea salt (weighing about .6 ounce) adds 1.8% brine. So 2 tablespoons of salt in 1 quart of water yields a 3.6% brine, 3 tablespoons yields 5.4%, and so on. In the metric system, each 15 milliliters of salt (weighing 17 grams) added to 1 liter of water yields 1.8% brine.Some old-time recipes call for brines with enough salt to float an egg. This translates to about a 10% salt solution. This is enough salt to preserve pickles for quite some time, but they are too salty to consume without a long desalinating soak in fresh water first. Low-salt pickles, around 3.5% brine, are “half-sours” in delicatessen lingo. This recipe is for sour, fairly salty pickles, using around 5.4% brine. Experiment with brine strength. A general rule of thumb to consider in salting your ferments: more salt to slow microorganism action in summer heat; less salt in winter when microbial action slows.

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