braised chicken with tomatoes and olives

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This dish is light and flavorful, served with bacon wrapped cabbage wedges and spaghettini with garlic and lemons. It’s the perfect supper for a weeknight or date night!

Braised Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives (adapted from epicurious)

8 chicken thighs with skin and bones (2 1/2 lb)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 oz/400g) can crushed tomatoes in puree
1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and sliced in half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Garnish: fresh thyme leaves

Accompaniment: spaghettini with garlic and lemon

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken in 2 batches, about 8 minutes, transferring them as they are browned to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Add onion, garlic, and thyme to fat remaining in skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, olives, salt, and pepper and return chicken to skillet. Simmer, covered, turning chicken occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Garnish with thyme leaves.

Cabbage with Bacon

To make the cabbage with bacon, cut the cabbage into quarters then cut each quarter in half. Sprinkle each wedge with salt and pepper. Wrap each wedge with half a strip of bacon and bake in a 350˚F/175˚C oven for 10 minutes or until the bacon crisps and the edges of the cabbage darken and brown.

Spaghettini with Garlic and Lemons (adapted from epicurious)

1/2 pound of spaghettini
1 cup reserved cooking water
zest of two lemons
4 large cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Cook the spaghettini in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the rest.

In a large 12 inch skillet or wok, heat 1/2 cup olive oil with garlic and pepper flakes until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the zest, salt and pepper. Add the cooked spaghettini to the skillet and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning.

 

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strawberry pie

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Andy found these strawberries being sold from the back of a truck in Salaya. He got four pounds of berries, enough to make these two pies. I used to make strawberry pies in the summer when we lived in Milwaukee. We’d go to the strawberry farm on Donges Bay Road and Swan Road to pick berries straight from the field. I’d make strawberry freezer jam, strawberry ice cream, and of course, strawberry pie! This pie’s bright garnet color is completely natural–no food coloring added.

Strawberry Pie (The Milwaukee Journal)
2 pounds of fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 2/3 cup digestive biscuits crumbs (can use graham crackers, of course)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted.

Remove a cupful of berries and mash them. Set aside with the juice.

Mix the crumbs with cinnamon in the pie pan. Add the melted butter and mix. Using the back of a fork, press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake in a 350˚F/175˚C oven for 10 minutes. Take it out of the oven and set aside to cool.

In a saucepan, make the glaze. Mix the sugar and cornstarch. Add the water and the crushed berries and juice. Heat, stirring, on medium heat, until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn down the heat and continue stirring. The strawberry glaze will thicken, turning a deep ruby red that is translucent. Once it thickens, remove the glaze from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

In the cooled crust, arrange the remaining berries. Don’t worry if there are spaces. The glaze will fill them in. Pour the cooled glaze on top, using a silicone spatula to spread the glaze around and fill up the spaces between the berries. Chill at least 2 hours before slicing.

Serve cold with whipped cream or crème fraîche, if desired

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valentine’s dinner for two: steak au poivre

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Steak au Poivre (adapted from epicurious.com)

2 one- to two-inch thick rib eye steaks
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brandy
3/4 cup cooking cream

Pat dry the steaks with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with salt. Press the crushed peppercorns into both sides of each steak. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 200˚F/75˚C.

Heat skillet, about 3 minutes on medium high heat.Then add the oil and swirl it around in the skillet. Sauté the steaks 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Put steaks on a heatproof plate in the oven while you make the sauce. Add shallots and butter to skillet and cook over medium low heat, stirring and scraping up the browned bits, until shallots are browned and wilted, about 3-5 minutes.

Carefully add the brandy (because it might ignite) and bring to a boil, stirring until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and boil the sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3-5 minutes. Serve sauce with steaks. I like the sauce a little browner, so I put some Maggi sauce in it. But you can add Worcestershire sauce for the same effect.

I served the steaks with cauliflower fritters and pumpkin purée.

Cauliflower Fritters
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes

1 head cauliflower
2 large eggs
3/4 cup grated edam cheese (If I had any I’d recommend Peccorino Romano)
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less if less heat is desired)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
Low fat Greek style yogurt, optional

Separate the florets and boil them in a pot of salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain the florets and put them in a large bowl. Mash the florets.

Add the eggs, cheese, shallot, breadcrumbs and seasonings to taste. Mix well. Form fritters about 3 inches in diameter. You’ll get about 8 fritters. Set aside.

In a 10 inch skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, add four fritters. Fry them 3 minutes per side. Set them to drain on paper towels while you do the second batch. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt, if desired.

silver palate banana bundt cake

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I’m sure this recipe isn’t in the Silver Palate Cookbook. It is an adaptation of a recipe for banana bread. Recipes from this cookbook, which was first published in the 1980s, have occasionally been printed on the internet, such as this one for banana bread, and another one I found for chocolate cake–which I will try some other time. The banana cake came out moist and tender, and not very sweet.

Banana Bundt Cake (adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes

8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup(169g) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (can substitute whole wheat flour for 1 cup AP)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/4 cups – 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Grease bundt pan.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until just combined. Add the vanilla with the last egg.
  3. Sift together AP flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, mash bananas and add  walnuts, if using. Pour half the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add half the banana mixture and blend until just combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add half the remaining flour followed by the rest of the banana. Finish with the flour. Mix after each addition until just combined. Give the batter a few turns to make sure all the batter is mixed. Scrape down the sides.
  5. Pour batter into pan. Tap pan lightly on the counter to dislodge air bubbles. Bake 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean (or a few moist crumbs cling to the tester). Cool in pan 10 minutes, then unmold on wire rack. When cooled, dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Variation

  • Grease a 9×3 inch loaf pan to make banana bread. Bake 50-60 minutes