Tuesday, March 29, 2011

spring-ish chicken stew

Spring is still teasing us. Snow keeps rearing is cold, wet head, then the next day you will hear the birds chirping, see the daffodils blooming, and feeling the warmish spring sunshine. I saw this chicken stew from Jamie Oliver in a Food & Wine magazine and thought it would be the perfect kind of dinner for this period of spring peek-a-boo. Warm and comforting, while being somewhat bright and springy. I added potatoes, tarragon and hard-boiled eggs to the recipe, along with some other seasonings/flavors. It turned out super-well, and yes, perfect for the weather.

Chicken Stew with Tarragon

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 leeks, cut in half horizontally and sliced (soak and wash well to remove all the sandy soil)
2 shallots, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut in half horizontally and sliced into half-moons
2 red potatoes, cut in half horizontally and sliced into half-moons
10 oz. sliced white mushrooms
3 Chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
flour for dusting chicken
4 cups chicken stock
dash of white pepper
dash of powdered ginger
dash of dried thyme
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
about 2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
salt and pepper
hard boiled eggs
tarragon leaves for garnish

Cook the leeks in some oil and the butter until starting to soften. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until fragrant. Add the potatoes and mushrooms and cook until everything starts to brown. Remove veggies from pan and set aside. Dust chicken pieces with flour, and cook them in some more oil until they start to brown on all sides. Add the chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove the brown bits. Let the liquid reduce a little bit, about 2 minutes, then add the veggies back in, and add the white pepper, ginger and thyme. Let simmer for about 20-30 minutes until your desired consistency is reached and all the potatoes are cooked through. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, mustard and tarragon. Turn off the heat on the stew and stir in the sour cream mixture. Serve hot with hard-boiled eggs on top.

Related posts from the archives:
Cock-a-leekie pie
Pasta with Anchovies & Eggs
Peruvi-ish Seafood and potatoes
Eggs Jeanette
Crockpot soy sauce chicken and eggs

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

table three mussels

One of my BFFs from highschool, Cathy, married a chef, John. Currently he is head chef at Table Three Restaurant in Wildwood, MO, and cathy runs front-of-house there. When I won the RFT award, they came up with an awesome idea to celebrate... let me help plan a menu for one night at Table Three. Seriously, y'all, I have some of the best friends a girl can ask for. I don't know how I got so lucky! Anyway, the dinner will be April 13th... a Wednesday night, which also means 20% off bottles of wine. I am very excited about this.

Last fall, John was on t.v., on a local show, Great Day St. Louis, doing a cooking demo. He made mussels with fennel. I love mussels. I LOVE fennel. The recipe also includes capers, butter, wine, garlic... so much goodness!!!! And, yes, the recipe lives up to expectations. It's also light-speed fast and extra-easy. The hardest part is finding the Pernod, a french, anise-flavored liquor. But any big liquor store should have it. (side note... now in search of cocktails to make with Pernod. Anybody?)

Table Three's Mussels

1 T. Olive oil

2# Mussels

¼ small bulb Fennel (thin slice)

2 ea. Sun dried tomato (julienne)

2 T. Capers

1 t. Garlic (minced)

¼ c. Perno
¼ c. White wine

2 oz. Butter

1 T. Fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, chive, dill)

Salt and pepper to taste

Crusty French bread

Heat olive oil in large sauté pan and add mussels, fennel, sun dried tomato, capers and garlic sauté until the fennel softens and the mussels begin to open. Deglaze with Pernod, add white wine, then the butter. Finish with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.

Serve in large bowl with crusty French bread.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

shepherd's pie

Happy St. Patrick's day! Here in St. Louis we started the week with snow. Blech. So, even though the weather started to get warm and spring-like yesterday, I had already planned to make a nice, hearty, soul-warming meal that would pair well with Guinness. Shepherd's Pie!

I made Shepherd's Pie for the first time a few weeks ago when I took a pie class at Schnucks Cooks Cooking School with one of my BFF's, Julie. We used parsnips in that pie, which I thought was brilliant. Overall, though, I had some other ideas on ingredients and techniques to make it even better. For one thing, corn. I was always one of those kids that mixed my corn and mashed potatoes, so when I have mashed potatoes, I feel like I need corn. I also wanted the pie to be really rich in flavor, so I caramelized the onions slowly for extra depth and sweetness.

Shepherd's Pie

5 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
water for boiling potatoes
1/2 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream

1 lb. ground beef
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
dash of garlic powder
dash of onion powder
dash of coriander
big dash smoked paprika
big dash dried thyme
salt & pepper
water as needed

Make the mashed potatoes first: Submerge potatoes in water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, and boil until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well, return to pan, and mash, using a potato masher, adding butter and cream and salt as you go. Mash until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

In a dutch oven, brown beef. Set aside on a paper towel-line plate. Cook onion in beef fat over medium/low heat, stirring often, until they are nice and brown and sweet. Add wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan (yum!). Add parsnips, carrots, garlic and celery. Season with salt, and add Worchestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, paprika and thyme. Cook until vegetables start to soften and spices are fragrant. Add tomato paste, stir to coat. Add water as needed, about 1 1/2 cups. Add meat back in and add corn. Cook until vegetables are soft but not mushy, and the sauce is the desired thickness... thicker than stew, but still pourable.

Pour meat mixture into a 13x9 casserole dish. Place mashed potatoes in a large Ziploc bag, and snip off one of the corners. Carefully pipe the potatoes over the meat mixture. Bake in a 425ºF oven until potato topping browns at the edges. Serve.

Friday, March 11, 2011

guest post: Skank Ham!

What up, peeps? Skank Ham here. Seems miss Iron Stef is being a slacker this week, and she asked me to come up with something. Seems lazy to me, but it is her birthday week, so I'll oblige. Now, I don't cook much... so I don't have a recipe to share with you. I am good at knowing what's hilarious, though, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite funny (and punny) food-related websites.

Bread People. Famous people as various baked goods. Crostini Aguilera , Pee-Wheat Herman, Toastoyevsky. Hysterical and disturbing.

Drunk History. People get drunk, talk about an historical event, and their version (complete with thier slurred, hiccuppy dialogue) gets re-enacted by comedians and actors such as Will Farrel and Jack Black. OMG. Drunk people slay me.

Paula Deen Riding Things. Yeah, I cheated a bit because this was featured on Skank Ham this week, too. But it's frakkin' amazing. The gospel must be spread. Like butter.

"Dear Sriracha Rooster Sauce" on The Oatmeal. The Oatmeal is one of the best web comics out there. Always hilarious. And Sriracha is the best hot sauce. Love this!

Kawaii Not. Cute things being not-so-cute, i.e. Zombie Pickles! Another awesome web comic.

A'iight. Hopefully this keeps ya'll occupied until little miss princess-pants gets off her arse and cooks something. I'm out like trout! - Skank

Thursday, March 03, 2011

fish reuben, AKA: omg I ate mayo!!

For a few weeks a friend of mine has been obsessing over a sandwich he read about... a fish Reuben, supposedly served by one of the 2 Schlafly beer brewery restaurants. First we went to the Bottleworks, which we learned does not even have a fryer, so, no, they did not have a fish Reuben. So we went the Tap Room, which has fish and chips, but no fish Reuben. Apparently the elusive sandwich was only available at the brewery's Cask and Cod festival, held almost a month ago. *sad trombone*

Not liking to see people disappointed, I told my friend I would make him a fish Reuben. At first, this was a genuine act of "I want to make this person happy." Then I thought about how to go about making the sandwich and realized it would hold some challenges for me. One major challenge, actually. Reubens have Thousand Island dressing on them. Thousand Island dressing is made from mayonnaise. Mayonnaise makes me gag. But, I have been meaning to challenge my distaste for this culinary teacher's pet. "Foodies" are supposed to like mayonnaise, right? I've long believed that if I made my own mayo, I might come around and see what the appeal is. I've had this post from Ruhlman in the back of my mind for a quite some time. Egg yolk, oil, lemon juice, salt... what was I so grossed out by? Sounds like a good combo when you put it that way. So this Reuben was a good excuse to make and try mayonnaise in it's best form (then defile it with ketchup, sweet relish, etc....)

So I made mayo. It was easy! I used 2 teaspoons of lemon juice instead of a water and lemon juice combo... thought the lemon would make it more pleasing for me.... plus, it was going on a fish sandwich. And you know what? It was pretty good! I stuck my finger in the final product and licked it off with no heaving. It's super rich, slightly tangy... mayonnaise... it's fine. Can we stop talking about it now and move on already?!

Fish Reuben

Quick Caraway Slaw

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
salt and pepper
1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced

Combine the first 5 ingredients. add the cabbage and mix well. Set aside.

Thousand Island Dressing

1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 cup oil
1/2 cup ketchup
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons capers
3 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
salt and pepper

Combine egg yolk, lemon juice and some salt. Whisk in oil very slowly, starting with a few drops at a time, and gradually a slow steady stream, whisking the whole time, until all oil is used and mayo comes together. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. set aside

Pan Fried Fish

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 lb. white fish fillets
oil for frying

Mix the spices and flour together well. Dredge the fish fillets in the seasoned flour and shake off excess. Fry on both sides in about 1/4 inch of hot oil, about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden on the outside and flaky on the inside. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.


Place fish, slaw, Emmenthal or Swiss cheese and the thousand island dressing between two slices of toasted marble rye bread.