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Friday, February 16, 2007

Rice Pilaf with Pretty Colours

From February 2007: Yahoo 360 Blog

Guess What's for Dinner? I feel as though I am blogging a blog of "Guess What I Made for Dinner?" Not that it's a bad thing - to write about meals I've prepared. It becomes inspiration for me, perhaps for readers of this, for future meals, class ideas, the cookbook I will someday write...
A cold but very sunny day in Philadelphia. I guess the temps were in the mid to upper 30's possibly even 40's. Whoo Hoo! Took a bike ride into town - such an interesting concept, me, at nearly 40 riding a bike into the center of Downtown Philadelphia. Well, interesting to anyone who does not ride a bike, live in the city, or who might not know me well. I don't drive. Never have. I'd like to learn, but I think I have a, no, let me rephrase, I do have a deep fear of driving. So I ride a bike. Everywhere I can. Or take cabs, the bus, or bum rides from my girlfriend and other friends. But back to heading into town. Man I can really go off on tangents.
Went into Center City today. The area around the Reading Terminal Market was a mob scene. Street vendors hawking cheap watches and bootleg dvd's and cd's. Traffic snarls. Tourists and Suburbanites toting give-a-way bags from the Auto Show at the Convention Center. Body to Body traffic in the Market, with long lines at all the cheese steaks, roast pork, and hoagie stands in the Market. I haven't seen it like this in town in years. Then again, I rarely head over to the Market, so I can't say it isn't like this nearly every day. There was a crazy zany high powered energy in the air. Could have been the nice crisp day. Despite the cold, it was sunny and there isn't any snow here. Valentine's day is coming, so people were shopping. It's winter and we all want to be outside. The feeling in the air reminded me of when I was a kid and you felt so tired of being cooped up in the house all winter, or in school all week. To get outside to play was the best feeling. Like you had so much energy you could just run for blocks and blocks and not even feel it burn off. It felt like that kind of day. High energy excitement.

And I was just out to buy some ingredients for my All Chocolate-Inspired Valentine's Day Menu for this Tuesday's Cooking Class. Mostly looking for chocolates for cooking. Which I found at Whole Foods. God bless that store! I can't wait to make the fennel, orange and endive salad with white chocolate shavings. Sauteed Veal Medallions in a Port Wine Reduction Sauce with Cocoa Nibs. Chocolate Ravioli stuffed with Wild Mushrooms & Hazelnuts. Dessert of Earl Grey Cake topped with a Warm Chocolate Sauce. MMMM! I can feel the serotonin flowing in my brain and body as I write about the recipes! However, as I have yet to finish (or start) writing my recipes, I cannot as of yet, share them. I'll post them after Tuesday. Just in time for Valentine's Day, and after my class is finished. Or possible before should I get them completed in a non-procrastion manner. Ha! So not likely by me! I could try...
I do have menu inspirations from tonight's meal. Today's photo was my meal for the evening. A lovely salmon - yes, I eat a lot of salmon, pan seared and then poached in a soy orange ginger dressing. Jasmine Rice Pilaf with onions, carrots, red peppers, garlic and topped with a bit of pine nuts for crunch. Too tired to make another veg. I didn't make dinner until after 9 pm. I'd like to think it's because Liz and I live so European. The reality is, I either get home and started late, or I just plain get lazy and don't cook until we're ready to eat the pictures from all of my food magazines!
The salmon dish takes about 20 minutes to prepare and cook. I call this Temple Foods, inspired by Nigella Lawson. By the time the rice is done, so is the salmon. Start the rice first.

Rice Pilaf with Pretty Colours
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Small Onion - small dice (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 Small Carrot - peeled & cut into small dice
  • 1 to 2 Garlic Cloves - minced
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper - small dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts, Almonds or Cashews (optional)

Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a 3 quart sauce pot over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion & carrot and saute about 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and pepper and saute about another minute.
  2. Add in the rice and stir to coat all the grains with the oil and sauted veggies. Add in 2 cups of cold water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes then take pot off of heat, keeping lid on pot - let stand for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Remove lid from pot and check to see if the rice absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with toasted nuts of choice.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Veal Medallions with Port and Cocoa Sauce

From Yahoo 360 Blog Entry: February 2007

Chocolate Valentine’s Day Dinner – Cupid’s Cooking Club 2007

Quickie Entry just to give a shout-out to all of my wonderful attendees to last night's All-Chocolate Inspired Valentine's Cupid's Cooking Class! YO! It WAS GREAT! Thank you all for braving the elements and making it to a fantastic class. I had such fun cooking and demonstrating everything. I hope that you (if anyone from class is reading this!) had as much of a good time.

For anyone who is just browsing around here, and you need a few ideas for A Romantic Valentine's Meal - Let the Cooking Cupid send a Culinary Arrow your way:


Start off with Figs stuffed with White Chocolate, Gorgonzola. Top with a half of a walnut and drizzle with some honey. The sweet and the salt from the fig and cheese, to the crunch of the walnut and the unexpected buttery taste of the white chocolate is sure to set the mood for good taste & lots of romance. Plus, as I talked about in my class last night, it is a way to incorporate chocolate into a dish in an unexpected and unique way. The white chocolate pairs well with the creamy, buttery and sweet Gorgonzola.


Vodka Infused Cherry Tomatoes: Should you have the time, take some Cherry Tomatoes, cut little "x's" into them at the top & bottom, and soak the tomatoes in Vodka. I had a bottle of Stoli Pepper Vodka languishing in the freezer, for about a year! I'm not much of a drinker, though I do tend to cook with wine, sherry, rum, etc. quite a lot. So why not put the libation to good use? It's ideal to soak the tomatoes in vodka for a few days. However a few hours will do the trick to. Any remaining vodka can be used for additional tomato's, or add it in to a tomato sauce dish or other recipe inspirations. Strain it should it become cloudy with tomato sediment.


Lastly - Veal Medallions with Port Demi Glace and Bitter Chocolate Sauce. I made this last night for class and was fortunate enough on two counts this Valentine's morning; Snow Day! Got to stay home! Made breakfast for my sweetheart, of the left-over veal with this divine sauce, slow-cooked scrambled eggs & the most delicious shredded potato pancake. Yeah, it's good to live with a professional chef and to have great left-overs! Sorry, I didn't remember to take photos. I can assure you, this is a terrific meal, easy to make once you gather all of you ingredients. It's also incredibly sexy & special. Enjoy!


Veal Medallions Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Veal Cutlets – about 1 large per person
  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tablespoons Dried Thyme or 3 Tablespoons Fresh
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper – to taste
  • Olive oil – for sauteing as needed
  • For the Port Demi Glace & Chocolate Sauce:
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (if needed)
  • 1 Shallot – finely minced
  • 1/4 Cup Dry Port or Dry Sherry
  • 1 Cup Chicken or Veal Stock
  • 1/4 Cup Bittersweet Chocolate—Finely Chopped
  • Or 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Nibs—crushed
  • 3 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter—cut in small cubes
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper – to taste
Directions:
  1. In a shallow bowl or plate, mix together the flour, cocoa, thyme, salt & pepper. Dredge the veal cutlets into this mixture to lightly coat them. Shake off any excess flour-herb mixture. Set aside but use within 3 minutes.
  2. Preheat an oven to 200º and place a platter in the oven to warm. Over medium-high heat, preheat a large, non-stick fry pan in which the cutlets will fit in a single layer, with about 1 inch of space around each one. When the pan feels hot (you’ll feel the heat rising upward when you hold your hand over it), add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat until shimmering. Immediately add the veal to the pan and cook, using tongs to turn them once or twice. Cook the veal cutlets 3-5 minutes or until the cutlets are golden brown. Remove from heat. Test for oneness using a paring knife & gage the color. Medium rare will be very pink at the center; medium will be slightly pink. If they arena’t cooked to your liking, cook for a few minutes more. When the medallions are done, transfer them to the warmed platter & cover loosely with aluminum foil and let them rest while you prepare the sauce. The meat will continue to cook slightly from the residual heat.
  3. Making the sauce—Put the fry pan back on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Cook the shallots in the pan adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil if needed– there should be some residual oil remaining. Sauté the shallots for about 1 minute – or until they are translucent. Add the Port or Sherry to the pan and reduce down until almost dry, about 3 minutes. Next, add the stock to the pan and scrap up any browned bits (these will flavor your sauce.) Reduce the stock until only a few tablespoons remain – about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and at the same time begin to whisk in the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan to incorporate and melt. When the chocolate is melted, remove pan from heat and slowly add 1 cube of cold butter at a time. Swirl in the butter and place the pan back over low heat. Add a few cold butter cubes to the port/stock reduction and whisk until the cubes are almost incorporated. Continue adding the butter a few cubes at a time until the mixture transforms into a dark caramel colored sauce with the consistency of heavy cream. Taste the sauce and season with salt & pepper.
  5. Plate the veal medallions and pour the sauce over and serve hot immediately. Serves 4.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Risotto Risotto Risotto Let me Count the Ways

February 2007 - From Yahoo 360 Blog: Risotto Risotto Risotto Let me Count the Ways


As the title states, it was a risotto kind of day. My risotto class tonight at WS was a success - but boy, did it wipe me out! I am so exhausted. Who knew making risotto, 3, actually 4, ways could be so tiring. I think it was the stress of cooking it "to order" for my class, and filling in the silence and quiet moments in between stirring, and stirring, and stirring some more, that took it's toll on me. I felt like my thoughts, movements and shtick were not in sync tonight. Luckily, I think, all of the risottos turned out well. The photo is my glory shot of the Golden Risotto with Shrimp, Pine nuts & Golden Raisins. It gets the golden hue from infusing vegetable stock with the shrimp shells, and a generous pinch of saffron. No cheap short cuts using turmeric for me! Not when you work at the best store in the world and they happen to sell saffron!

There are classes where everything just comes together and I feel like everything is flowing and it's so smooth. Then there are nights like tonight where in theory, it should be great, but somehow, I just get stuck somewhere, & my mind and actions are spinning out of control. I felt like I was stuttering and unable to get my mouth to work right. We had several returning "students", who feel like old friends - it's that kind of comfort and ease. But still, I think I just got so nervous waiting out the risotto and the slow and steady rhythm it takes to make it. I always feel that need to fill in the silence. I'm up there, sort of on stage, at the stove, not only cooking but entertaining too. I definitely have performance anxiety! Thank gawd I can cook well!

So here is the recipe for Golden Risotto with Shrimp, Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins. I also made Wild Mushroom Risotto w/Huitalacoche and Cilantro Oil; Savory Risotto "Cakes"; Caramelized Risotto Pudding with Pistachios. I wonder if everyone feels as carb & starched out as I do right now?! To make this a truly Golden Rissotto - alla the DiMedici's - you can add actual edible gold leaf to the individual servings. It raises the price of the portion a lot, but it also raises the WOW Factor!


Risotto Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • Shrimp Shells—from 1 pound peeled shrimp
  • 1 Large Shallot—minced (about 1/2 cup minced)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves—minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 4-6 Saffron Threads (or 1/8 teaspoon Turmeric)
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper—to taste
  • 1 Pound Raw Medium/Large Shrimp—peeled & deveined, reserving shells
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts—toasted
  • 1/4 Cup Golden Raisins—re-hydrate if necessary in hot water
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan, Locatelli or Pecorino Cheese—plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley—minced (for garnish, optional)


Directions:

  1. In a 4 quart sauce pot, heat 4 cups of stock and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the reserved shrimp shells to the stock to infuse the stock with shrimp flavor. Steep the shells in the stock for about 10 minutes. Either strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or remove the shells with a slotted spoon. Return the stock to the stove and keep warm over lowest setting.
  2. In a stock pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add in the finely diced shallot and sauté it until it turns translucent—about 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and sauté another 1 minute. Add the Arborio rice and saffron (or turmeric) and stir to coat all of the grains, sautéing about 2 minutes more. The Arborio will begin to take on a golden hue from the saffron or turmeric.
  3. Lower heat to medium and add the wine to the rice, stirring the rice with a wooden spoon until all of the wine is absorbed.
  4. Begin to add the stock to the Arborio rice, 1/2 cup ladleful at a time, until all of the stock is absorbed by the rice. Continue to stir the rice while you are adding the stock. After adding 1 cup of stock, season the rice with the a pinch of salt and dash of freshly ground pepper. Continue adding in stock by the 1/2 cup ladlefuls allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. This will take about 25 minutes.
  5. Add the raw shrimp to the risotto after you have added in 3 cups of stock. Taste the risotto, trying a grain of the Arborio rice to see if it is al dente. The risotto should be creamy in appearance, and the center of each grain will loose its stark white appearance, turning as opaque as the outer part of the grain. The risotto will have also swelled to at least 3 times its size, having absorbed over 3 cups of liquid by this point.
  6. If the Arborio is tender but still has a bit of bite to it, it is done. However, if it tastes of raw crunchy rice, continue to add more stock to the risotto. You may not need to add all of the stock—leaving from 1/2 cup to 1 cup remaining. The finished risotto should be creamy and somewhat loose—but not runny or soupy. The shrimp will have turned opaque and bright pink. Total cooking time, 30—35 minutes.
  7. Once the risotto is done, remove from heat and stir in the toasted pine nuts, golden raisins and cheese. Season to taste with additional salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with minced parsley, if desired. Serve hot immediately. Serve with additional grated cheese on the side.
  8. Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as an appetizer. Reheat left-over risotto in microwave at 2 m

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chocolate Pasta for Valentine's Day

In the Spirit of Valentine's Day and wanting to post all of my chocolate-inspired recipes, herewith is a chocolate pasta dough recipe. It makes an awesome dough - that I prefer to use as a fettuccine. I just, tonight, made Wild Mushroom Chocolate Ravioli. A bit trickier than I had hoped it would be. Made a bunch with the chocolate dough, then switched over to wonton wrappers - far easier to work with and since they were pre-cut, a lot faster assembling. If you make this dough and are wondering what sort of sauce to use - here's a quickie. Make an Alfredo Style sauce with a bit of roasted/toasted nutty garlic, some sage leaves and toasted walnuts. Saute the garlic first in a bit of butter. Add the sage leaves next. Pour in some light cream and bring to a low boil. Simmer to reduce the cream and to tighten it. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste. Possible kick it up with a hint of cayenne. Toss in the cooked pasta and top with toasted & chopped walnuts. Sure to win over anyone and woo their palates and whatnot! Or at least, it will grant you an interesting evening.

Chocolate Pasta Dough Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour—plus more & kneading into dough
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs—lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Water as needed
Directions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups of flour, cocoa powder & salt. Make a well in the center.
  2. In a small bowl or jar, beat the eggs with the olive oil. Pour the eggs into the center of the flour/cocoa powder mixture; using a fork or your fingers, begin to blend eggs into the flour. Mix well to complete combine all the flour. Use a bench scraper and gather up all the loose flour—patting it into the pasta dough that you are forming.
  3. Sprinkle the area where you will knead the pasta dough with 2 tablespoons of extra flour. Turn dough out onto the floured surface. Continue adding extra flour as needed, until the dough is no longer wet and sticky. Knead the dough until it feels smooth and elastic— about 10 minutes, folding the dough over on to itself and giving the dough a half turn each time. If the dough is still too sticky and wet, add a bit more flour. When the dough feels soft and smooth, it’s done (as smooth as a baby’s bottom!)
  4. Form dough into a ball and wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator to rest, for at least 10 minutes – or up to over-night.
  5. When dough has rested, take it out of the refrigerator, unwrap and cut it into three pieces. Allow the dough to come to room temperature for about 10 minutes so it will be easier to handle.
  6. Using a pasta machine – pass each third piece of dough through the machine – first through the widest setting three times; after each turn, fold the dough over itself in thirds, and put the folded dough through the pasta machine again. After the dough has gone through the widest setting 3 times, turn the dial to the next number setting and run dough through again. Repeat one turn through each setting until you reach the smallest setting. The dough will be very thin and very long at this point.
  7. Carefully lay the dough out onto a floured cookie sheet or floured surface – and let it rest a few minutes before cutting it into noodles or ravioli shapes. Use the pasta machine blades, biscuit or cookie cutters to cut the noodles into the desired sized/style. Once noodles are cut, toss them lightly in a bit of flour, and either lay the cut pasta on cookie sheet, or put the cut pasta into a storage container in a single layer with sheets of waxed or parchment paper between each layer.
  8. To cook – have a large stock pot of salted water boiling and add pasta – Fresh pasta cooks in about 3-4 minutes.
  9. Makes 1 pound of pasta and will serve 4 if cutting into noodles.
  10. To make Egg Pasta, omit the cocoa powder. Follow recipe as instructed.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Moroccan Style Couscous

From Entry: Salmon for Supper - from Yahoo 360 Blog - February 2007

I'm not only in the mood for fish, but I've got a Moroccan thing goin' on. It's that time of year, because Williams-Sonoma is featuring the Spice Route, tagines, and the ubiquitous Moroccan Seasonings. Now that I've worked there 3 seasons (over 2 years) I see a pattern to their marketing and displays. Have to admit, I do enjoy it. I mixed up a bit of the Moroccan spice on my own, having so much spice from previous forays to the local spice shops. Easy enough to make - I even read a recipe that used pumpkin pie spice with cumin and cayenne added to the mix. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, they all work in tandem. Pan fried a couple of salmon fillets - the frozen fillets from Wegmans are quite good and hold up well to freezing. Some of the best frozen fish I've had, better than Trader Joe's, & the price is a real bargain. Reduced some Vermouth in the pan after cooking the fish, then whisked in Dijon Mustard and some red pepper pesto I had from Tuesday Night's Class. Tasty! Definite pantry staple items to keep on hand. Vermouth is great because unlike white wine, you can use it to cook with a bit more freely. It adds the acidic tang you want, without too many oaky or winey flavors. It keeps well once opened, refrigerated. It is very inexpensive and it's great to have on hand for shaking up a martini. Couscous cooks quickly and you do not need a special skill to learn to make it, unlike, say, rice - which can be tricky. Plus it's cheap as chips. Buy it in bulk, it costs like 50 cents a pound. Dijon mustard - a must have. Great for dipping sauces with nothing more than mayo and/or honey. Whisk into sauces for body and thickness and less calories than butter. Emulsifies a vinaigrette. Brush it over a piece of fish or chicken, and you can turn plain into gourmet! To accompany the meal, I made a Moroccan-inspired couscous. One of my many sides I’ve learned over the years from working in the food business. This one is from my days at Jill’s Vorspeise. Though I embellished it a bit and have made it my own. It is a variation on a couscous salad we would do, with toasted almonds, oranges and apricots.

Moroccan Couscous with Oranges and Apricots Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil - divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Moroccan Seasoning
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds- chopped, sliced or slivered
  • 1 Cup Uncooked Couscous
  • 1 1/3 Cups water
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper – to taste
  • Zest of 1 Large Orange
  • Orange Segments & Juice of 1 Large Orange (Supreme the Orange and then squeeze any remaining juice from the remains. Reserve segments for the couscous)
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Apricots – small dice
Directions:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the seasoning & almonds; toast until fragrant – about 1 minute. Add the uncooked couscous to the almond mixture & toast it for another 1 minute. Put the seasoned couscous into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Put the water into the sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil; pour the water over couscous, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and let the couscous sit to absorb the water – about 3 minutes. Remove cover and fluff couscous with a fork. Stir in and combine the remaining olive oil, orange zest, juice, orange segments and diced apricots. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. Tastes best warm or at room temperature.
  3. Makes 6 servings. Holds for up to 2 days.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Red Trout or Artic Char with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto


Red Trout or Artic Char with Red Pepper Basil Pesto
Ingredients for Pesto:
  • 1— 8 ounce Jar Roasted Red Peppers—drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts—Toasted in a dry pan or in oven
  • 1 Garlic Clove—peeled
  • 1/4 Cup Olive oil
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper—to taste
Directions:
  1. In a food processor, add the roasted peppers and basil leaves and pulse to combine. Stop machine and scrape down the sides. Add the walnuts and garlic, pulsing to combine. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and the oil is fully incorporated. Scrape mixture out of work bowl and put into a small container. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. Pesto can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 1 week. Keep tightly covered.
  2. Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups of Pesto. To use as a salad dressing, whisk 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and a splash of balsamic vinegar into the pesto.
Red Trout or Artic Char Ingredients:
  • 2 Pound Filet of Red Meat Trout or Artic Char
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Red Pepper and Basil Pesto
  • Zest of 1 Lemon—fine julienne
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley—Finely Minced, for garnish (optional)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking pan or sheet tray with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Clean fish, rinsing under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place fish onto prepared baking tray/pan and season the fish filet or steaks generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze the juice of half of the lemon over the fish. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the red pepper basil pesto onto the fish, and spread it all over the fish to completely coat it. Use more pesto if needed, but do not mound the pesto too thickly onto the fish.
  3. Place fish into the preheated oven and roast for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, or about 10 minutes per pound—about 20 minutes total for this recipe. To check for doneness, the fish should be opaque throughout its center when pierced with a sharp thin knife. If using red meat trout or salmon, the center can be slightly pink, but the majority of the fish should be flakey and opaque. Remove from fish from oven and sprinkle with lemon zest and parsley. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

Notes: Red Trout, also known as Salmon Trout or Steelhead Trout, is a cousin of Salmon; it can be found in better fish markets. The trout gets its red color from eating large quantities of shrimp. If you are unable to find red trout, feel free to substitute a firm but not too oily fish such as Salmon, Halibut, Artic Char, Catfish or even Tilapia. Filets or Steaks will work best. Leave the skin on the fish, as once the fish cooks, the skin can be easily removed.
For more info on fish and fish to avoid - visit : http://www.endangeredfishalliance.org/

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Moroccan Turkey London Broil

As previously posted on my old Yahoo 360 Blog - Week of January 24, 2007:


This was a fast & fresh week. Not only the title of my first class of my last semester, but an indication of the week. I should say, it was mostly a fast week. Fresh, that's another story. Anything but I suppose. Cranky, intense, long. Fresh - more like cold. I heard that Monday the 24th of January was the most depressing day of the week. I don't know about that particular day, but this whole week could, in some respects, be considered a depressing week. We've had the artic blast hit Philadelphia for the past few days, with today being the coldest day so far this year and winter. In general, this time of year is depressing. Even when the sun is shining, the mid-January Blahs can set in something fierce. There's always cooking to brighten my mood.

I had an awesomely amazing class - one of my personal bests! Not only were the class participants some of the best ever, but the discussions and questions were on target - with lots of feedback and interest. I felt that I stayed on topic and covered all the points I wanted to discuss. I was well-prepared in my notes, recipes and prep. The food came out well, and I really felt like I connected with people. That can be difficult when the attendees number over 12 - there tends to be folks who you just don't "reach". Whether its eye contact or via a chance to talk after class, or to gain their attention during the discussion and demonstrations. I had several returning "students", as well as a few who will be joining us again. Demographically, it was a great mix of people; young, older, couples, lots of guys (always a plus! to mix it up and to add another level of energy), new people, returning friends, people who haven't been to a class in a year. Yeah - It was a rewarding experience! So without further ado, here’s one of the week's recipes for your enjoyment:


Moroccan Turkey London Broil Ingredients:

  • 1 large white onion—cut into 1/4 round or half-moon slices
  • 1—2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Pounds Boneless & Skinless Turkey Breast, or Turkey Tenderloin, or Turkey London Broil
  • 1 Cup Plain, Non-Fat Yogurt—Strained
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry Sherry (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons Moroccan Seasoning
  • or a combination of
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Apricots—finely diced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a sheet tray or baking pan with parchment or aluminum foil. Rinse and pat dry the turkey breast. Lay the onion slices on the sheet tray/baking pan and drizzle with the olive oil. Lay the turkey breast on top of the onions.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, sherry, Moroccan seasonings, salt, pepper and diced apricots. Combine well to make a paste. Smear the entire paste mixture over the top of the turkey breast.
  3. For the most tasty & best results, You can, and should, do this step ahead of time, allowing the turkey breast to "marinate", refrigerated, from 1 hour up to over-night. If marinating, place the turkey breast with the yogurt marinade in a tightly covered container or in a freezer zipper lock bag and refrigerate. When ready to cook, remove turkey from refrigerator and let sit out at room temperature for no more than 15 minutes. Proceed recipe with preheating oven and slicing onions. What's happening here is, the lactic acids in the yogurt break down the protein of the turkey breast and "tenderize" the meat. It also penetrates and adds flavor deep into the turkey.
  4. If cooking immediately—place the turkey breast in preheated oven and roast for about 20 minutes per pound—about 40 minutes total, depending on the thickness of the cut of turkey breast. (A turkey tenderloin will cook fastest, as it is a smaller and thinner cut of poultry.) Baste occasionally with pan juices that accumulate. Turkey is done when the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 170° on an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey breast.
  5. Remove from oven, cover lightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting. To serve, cut against the grain and serve with the roasted onions and pan juices. Serves 4.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Risotto Primavera with Basil Pesto

I made a risotto this past week and it was amazing. Risotto is made using aborio rice. It comes in 1 pound, cryovac bricks, in medium, fine or extra fine grains. Use the extra fine for making a great rice pudding. It had crunch and texture, creaminess and a full rich flavor. Use a good, low-sodium chicken stock. Store bought is fine. Whole Foods Market has a good, and inexpensive organic chicken broth in a 32 ounce container. Add cheese to the finished risotto only if your pesto is just basil & oil, otherwise, use a regular basil pesto and be sparing on the addition of any grated cheeses. Risotto is rich, creamy, and not in the least bit, low-fat! Remember, it is meant to be a main course, or small side course. The pesto I used is "unfinished", meaning it's just blanched basil leaves and olive oil. I take several huge bunches of basil, blanch it for a few seconds in salted boiling water and shock it in ice water. Squeeze it dry and throw it in the food processor with about a 1/2 quart of light Olive oil. I usually make a quart or more at the end of the summer and keep it either as strained basil oil and the keep the "sludge" in the freezer as cubes to through into sauces & stocks. OR I just keep the whole container in the refrigerator or freezer and spoon out what I need. It tends to last longer as there is no garlic or cheese to turn moldy. Along with the risotto, I sautéed thinly sliced chicken breast that had been quickly marinated in lemon zest and juice, a few fresh thyme leaves, minced garlic, a splash of white wine, salt, pepper & olive oil. Quickly sauté each cutlet in a hint of oil in a non-stick pan. Once the chicken is completely cooked, add a half cup of white wine to the pan, and stir up any browned bits. Add any remaining marinade to the pan and reduce the whole mixture down to a few tablespoons. Whisk in a tablespoon of Dijon Mustard, and pour the pan sauce over the chicken. It makes a great meal, and the risotto can be all of your side dishes - starch & veggies. Plus, you'll have enough risotto for several more meals during the week

Risotto Ingredients:

4 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock - Warmed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Onion - finely diced
1 Medium Carrot - Finely Diced
1 Garlic Clove - Minced
1 Cup Aborio Rice
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Medium Zucchini - 1/4 inch cubes
2 Tablespoons Basil Pesto
1/2 cup Snow Peas - Julienne
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan, Peccorino or Locatelli Cheese (optional)

Directions:
Warm the chicken stock in a 3 quart sauce pan. Set aside and keep warm.
In a large sauce pot or small stock pot (at least 4 quart pot), heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it shimmers. Add the onions & carrot and sweat/saute until the onions turn translucent and the carrots release some of their water - about 3-4 minutes. Add the aborio rice and the garlic and stir, with a wooden spoon, to coat the rice grains with the oil - about 1 minute.
Add the 1/2 cup of white wine and continue to stir the aborio. When the aborio has absorbed all of the wine, add 1/2 cup of the warmed chicken stock to the rice. Continue stirring and allow the rice to absorb all of the stock before adding more.
After stirring in 1 cup of stock, add the thyme leaves, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. When you have stirred in 2 cups of stock total, add the diced zucchini. Tasted aborio to see how tender it is. The rice will have started to double in volume and released enough starch to appear creamy. The grains should be opaque on the edges and white in the center. Continue ladling in the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. The stirring helps to release the starch. Before ladling in the last 1/2 cup of stock, taste the risotto again. It may be done at this point. You are looking for tender, creamy grains, with the merest hint of an al dente bite. If the risotto is tender, then don't use the last 1/2 cup of stock. If it's still too crunchy, add it.
Stir in the julienned snow peas. The heat from the risotto will steam the snow peas and turn them bright green. Stir in the pesto and, if using, the grated cheese. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot immediately. Makes 4 servings as a main course.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Penne w/Roasted Tomatoes, Brocolini & Fennel

This recipe was related to me by my co-worker, Peggy. I ran into her at Whole Foods Market the other day. We were talking about good food and foods that help you feel better when you are sick. She told me about this recipe and I was taken with it because it uses two ingredients that I don't use enough when I cook - fennel & brocolini. How refreshing, and it doesn't use onions - because the fennel acts as the aromatic veg - adding a whole other dimension of flavor. I haven't tasted this dish, yet, but I can taste how it would come together in my head. The fennel with the slight under-currents of anise, and the sweet yet bitter taste of brocolini. Sweet, nutty & smokey roasted tomatoes and garlic. And add the bit of heat from the red pepper flakes. Perfect! Penne, rigatoni, Ziti, any sort of short, shaped pasta would work. The pasta should have texture and a toothsome quality to it. Spaghetti would be too dull, not adding enough bite to the dish, even though it is composed of bits and chunks of vegetables. I think this would hold up well as a cold dish too - or at least room temperature. Add more pepper flakes, salt & pepper to amp up the seasonings. Cold or warm foods need a bit more flavor to come alive, otherwise their coldness dulls your taste buds and the food tastes flavorless.

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Brocolini & Fennel Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil - Divided
  • 6 to 8 Plum Tomatoes - cut in half
  • 4 - 6 Garlic cloves - peeled & crushed
  • 1 Small Bulb Fennel - sliced thin
  • 1 Bunch Brocolini - cut into 1-2 inch sized pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Pound Penne - Cooked
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Cut tomatoes in half and peel & crush garlic. Drizzle some olive oil over the tomatoes and garlic. Roast in oven until the tomatoes collapse into themselves and the garlic becomes caramelized - about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Lightly sauté the fennel and the brocolini until the fennel turns translucent & the brocolini turns bright green and is knife tender - about 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes to release their heat and "bloom". Cover and set aside.
  3. Cook Penne, drain and keep warm. Reserve 1 cup cooking water.
  4. When the tomatoes and garlic are roasted, rough chop or pulse quickly in a food processor just to make a chunky sauce. Add this sauce to the sautéed fennel & brocolini. Top the cooked penne with the tomato/fennel sauce and season to taste with salt & pepper. If sauce is too thick, thin with some of the reserved pasta cooking water. Heat the sauce in the sauté pan to reduce and tighten slightly. Serve with freshly grated cheese.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Random Thoughts about the day

Random thoughts about Today:
The pizza I made (see previous entry for recipes), was really tasty. The dough was puffier than I thought it was going to be, more of a foccacia style than a pizza style. Probably because that's what I was attempting and because I did not knead more flour into the dough - it was wetter than I usually allow it to be. I also did not let it rise as long, probably about an hour of rising vs several. The flavor was fresher but also a bit less developed. Could also be the weather, knowing how doughs can change with the barometer and humidity. Today was dry. Tonight it is cold and dry, feels like snow flurries. Cold enough for flurries but not wet enough for a covering. So the pizza came out well. I ate a great deal - it's easy to do when it tastes so good. Watched an older episode of the L-Word. I want to reacquaint myself to the character story lines so I can see where this new season is going. I actually think that they introduced the "Papi" person's name in the first episode of the third season. An uncle of Carmen's, who is said to have borrowed a prom dress that no one in her family knows what he did with it. Hmm. Anyway, the show is contrived but I do like it. The Moira/Max character is as annoying the second time around but it is also fascinating. I am fascinated by the whole notion of transgendered and social role playing we do as women and men, and gay and straight. I had a real moment of identifying with Alan Cumming's Billie character when he first spots Moira/Max. I was thinking about how so many girls I knew 20 years ago had that boy-girl thing going - geesh, it's still going on, without the intention of being trans, anyway, I had it too, and one time I got hit on by this older queen at some slum of a back alley bar. I had that Choir English School Boy thing going on. He kept touching me, pinching me, and so of play slapping me because he thought I was cute, but he was mad that I wasn't really a boy. Funny to think about - no one would mistake me for a boy any more. And it wasn't that I was skinny, though I was thin that's for sure. Just had that 80's androgynous new-wave preppy look that was popular. Come to think of it, it's sort of back. Now I get what my mother always said, "Oh, that look! We were doing it back in the day!"

Had some correspondence with Rac today. Even though we have a country between us, we still are so connected to the same emotional turmoils. I think it's the winter blahs, though neither of us has had a winter. It's been so warm here on the East. Not much cold out in the South West. My Trip to Tucsonlast month to visit was so incredible - as I keep saying, it has exceed my expectations and that that it was so perfect, that it was almost unreal. You can't live your life like that all the time, it's too emotional, too raw, too much of your feelings out there exposed. Ah, I suddenly get what L's is always talking about when she describes her time in Spoleto and how everyone feels when they are there making art, sharing their art, being in a make-believe world for a limited time."She was also writing about how she was feeling waves of homesickness and that she had a thought of wanting to move back east. I said "It's the time of year. Our bodies must go through some winter hibernation due to lack of sun light or something. You want to move back because after two plus years, you spent time with one of your old selves and went back in time to a place you liked and did things like you used to do that felt familiar and comfortable, all while being your fabulous new sexy self! It's easier to feel like, I should move home, because it seems ideal all of a sudden because it's what you know. Except what you know doesn't exist anymore. Just realized that the L-word website has the Chart as a blog and web page connection, with a possible "Chart" that you can work. Well, it seemed inevitable. Gotta say, I'd play, though my history, while short and brief, was fun. Love the current life so much more. I am happy to say, I wouldn't want to go back in time to change a thing, or change the present.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A Lesson in Futitlity and Pizza Making

A Lesson in Futility – January 9, 2007

Now that the day is over and a new one is beginning - a new day dawns makes me think of Moody Blues Songs - oh there I go digressing before I even begin. I've been pondering what to write and not being so darn moody today - see there's a connection. I'm trying to be in a better mood since my morning, my Monday Morning, started out on a sour note. See, I teach at a Culinary Mecca and I've been disappointed with my employer. Seems that I am not even a number and therefore, I am not an entity that counts. What I'm getting at is my cooking classes are not being promoted at all. Sales of my classes generally only happen once the public finds out about our classes - which generally only works when an email is sent to an entire data base of people in the Tri-State area. I am frustrated because I don't make any money until my classes are booked. But I have to work, or I should say, I choose to do some work gratis, to support and promote these classes so that my public will know about my cooking "show" classes. It's a vicious cycle that does not seem to be getting me anywhere but fed up. My first class of the new semester was supposed to start on Tuesday, January 9th - which is technically, today, or tomorrow (or in the near future, yesterday). Anyway, only a handful of people knew about the class - we/I put flyers in the store, but those just don't seem to have the big bang effect as the emails, so very few people tend to sign up on the basis of glancing at my cool flyers. Work and creativity that I do, without pay, so that my adoring public will have advance notice...Class was canceled. No publicity email was sent, and I submitted my class roster 9 weeks in advance of the first class. Usually, the publicity happens a few days before the start of the semester, which is a bit too late, but it helps, and occasionally, I squeak by with the first class. But this semester, my last semester teaching at the Mecca, was to be my strongest to date. I am sad. I am sad because I've made a decision to let something go that isn't' working for me. Something that is a part of me. Something that I've created, nurtured, grown and put my heart and soul into. I am letting go because Mecca isn't the right place for me anymore. "Having tasted fruit, She scorns a pasture withering to the root." Author: Frost, Robert
I am here because I don't know where else to go. I love teaching. I love the sharing of knowledge. I love the nervousness that sets into my being when I'm preparing for each class. I love the learning that I undergo when I research recipes and reference material. I love the performance time and the chance to share my stories and ideas. And I love the connection I make with the people who attend my classes - the ones who attend for the first time and the connections I have with the people who have come to many of my classes. It is realizing that people like you because you are you, not because of some title you have. I believe that I really get what performers go through when they walk out onto a stage and become this other person to the audience. I get the idea and the feeling of the rush that a performer feels on stage. I never thought that would happen. What a completely unexpected side effect of teaching. Though in my case, it is more like a performance than teaching. The learning or sharing of culinary knowledge is my happy side effect. Food has that drug affect on people. Cook for someone and you make them happy.

Pizza Dough & Pizza with Asiago, Potatoes and Rosemary

Equipment:
  • Food Processor or Mixer Dough
Ingredients:
  • 1-tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1-teaspoon sugar
  • 1-cup warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for working
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 1-tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. When Ready to Bake Pizza - Preheat an oven to 400º
  2. Dissolve yeast in water in a small bowl or cup, dissolve the yeast in 1-cup warm water & 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand until slightly foamy, about 5 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer fitted with the dough blade or hook, combine the flour and salt & process with 3-4 pulses/stirs. With the motor running on dough speed or on low speed, slowly add the yeast mixture, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Continue processing until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute, then process for 1 minute more.
  4. Allow the dough to rest & double in size – Brush a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size – 1 to 2 hours. If not using the dough the same day, refrigerate. The proofing process will be slower, but the dough will still rise.
  5. Turn out the dough – dust a work surface with flour. Punch down the dough. Cut the dough into 2 to 6 pieces, depending on how small each pizza will be. Lightly flour your hands & begin to press the dough out gently into the desired shape. Then, place one hand in the center of the dough and with the other hand, pull, lift & stretch the dough, gradually working your way all around the edge, until it is the desired thickness, about ½ inch for a crusty pizza and ½ inch thick for a softer one. Flip the dough over from time to time as you work with it. You can also use a rolling pin, dusted with flour, to roll out the dough. The dough should be slightly thinner in the middle then at the edge.
  6. Transfer the dough to a baker’s peel or baking sheet, and cover with a kitchen towel and let rise again until almost doubled in size, about 20 minutes. Top & bake as directed. Makes 1 ¼ pound of dough, enough for a 12-inch thin-crust pizza; a 9-inch thick-crust pizza; four 6-inch pizzas; or six 4-inch mini pizzas.
Pizza with Potato, Rosemary & Asiago Ingredients:

  • 1 Batch of Basic Pizza Dough
  • 1 – medium or large Red or Idaho Potato – Thinnly sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic - Minced
  • 1-Sprig Fresh Rosemary – removed from stem & minced
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 4-tablespoons Olive Oil - divided
  • 1-cup Asiago Cheese – Shredded

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Par boil the Potatoes – Use a mandolin or cut the potatoes as thinly as possible. Place in a saucepan, and cover with water & 1 tablespoon of salt. Allow water to come to a boil and then immediately remove from heat. Drain and allow potatoes to cool slightly so you can handle them.
  3. Season the Potatoes - In a large mixing bowl, add potatoes, garlic, rosemary and 3-tablespoons of the olive oil. Generously season with salt & pepper. Gently mix ingredients to incorporate.
  4. Top pizza – Sprinkle baking surface with corn meal or flour & place stretched dough either onto a pizza peel (if using a pizza stone) or directly onto a baking sheet. Brush the pizza dough with remaining olive oil and generously season with salt & pepper. In rows, place potatoes onto pizza dough, slightly over-lapping each layer. If any oil or seasoning is remaining in bowl, pour over potatoes. Top with cheese. Bake at 400º for 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and dough edge is light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cut with pizza wheel cutter or knife. Serve hot & enjoy!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Chicken and Dumplings - First Post

Am I too old for this – From Yahoo 360 Blog: January 7, 2007.

I wonder if I am feeling the pains of the generation gap. I'm not a complete Luddite after all I do have modern day trappings - a computer, an Ipod, digital camera, I'm lost without my cellphone, but I do feel woefully behind the times too. Blogging - geesh, it feels so out of my realm. I'm used to tactile things, getting my hands all dirty and greasy by chopping, slicing and dicing, boning out a chicken, making my chicken stew and dumplings. What the heck am I doing here? I have to confess, I was inspired by Rabbi Stone, who just started his own blog about his new-found passion for bicycling. And then there's Karen, my young California friend who has a myspace page that I just don't quite understand. She writes a lot of haiku's. Which are fine, but we've been out of touch and her poems are so raw and passionate that I can't quite figure out what is going on in her life at the moment. I'm more of a straight prose reader. But hey, I figure, if Rabbi can blog, and Karen is part of the blogger generation, then I too must blog. Heck, I've written journals, I've whined, I've been in therapy, it can't be any worse or different. Or can it? There are of course so many blogs out here to read, and who has the time? I sit in front of a computer all day, 9 to 5ish, as an administrator for a Philly synagogue. I spend a lot of time reading food magazines or watching the food network. I teach cooking classes, part-time, for a big wig culinary mecca. I write or adapt recipes for these classes, and spend hours preparing for each week's lessons. When, I ask, will I have the time or energy for blogging? The answer, as we all know, is you make the time. I suppose the hour I spend here is an hour better spent than watching another non-chef/non-cook make another million dollars while I waste my intelligence and time. So, to get back to am I too old for this? Yes and no. It's the contradiction of what makes me. Here I am, a trained chef who hates to work in the industry. I love the teaching and performance of my cooking classes yet I constantly find myself with stage fright. I love to cook and hate witnessing people's bizarre eating habits. I work in an office, a place that I love, yet it's the complete opposite of my food and writing passions. I'm a performer who isn't sure where to perform. What's this blog all about? Well, for starters, an outlet for my food writing and recipe creations. I hope to also make it a home base for my culinary career. I hope to share recipes and ideas, and thoughts on all things food related. I'm also hoping not to bore myself or any potential readers on what I ate. I feel like the meal was only good for the people experiencing it - not the readers of my blog. Besides, there are great food writers everywhere who can describe the perfect meal far better than I could. Like I said before, I'm much more tactile. We'll see where this takes me...

Here's my recipe for Stewed Chicken & Dumplings, which I made for dinner tonight. Though it's not a cold night, it is raining. And it is January for gosh sakes. It may not be cold in Philadelphia but it is winter. As good a reason as any for some comfort food. I think this recipe originated from my 1968 Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. I used it in my Winter Comfort Foods Cooking Class last year, January 17, 2006. Seems appropriate once again. Note, I used chicken thighs in tonight's meal, and omitted the mushrooms. I added rutabaga, which turned out really nice in the stew. I also found that cooking the stew, and then letting it sit for about 2 hours made it have that mellow/married essence that comes to cook foods when they have had the chance to sit for a while. I reheated the stew and then added the dumplings. My bet is that it will be even better tomorrow. Bon Apetite!

Chicken Stew & Dumplings Ingredients:
  • 4-5 pounds Frying/Stewing Chicken—Cut up into 10 parts
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter—divided
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups onions—large dice
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 1/2-cups carrots—large dice
  • 1-cup celery—large dice
  • 8 ounces mushrooms— sliced thick
  • 4-tablespoons parsley—minced
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
For Dumplings:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:
  1. In a small sauce pot, heat the water and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Set aside.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the chicken parts. Trim away fat & skin. If not already cut up—cut into 10 pieces. Wings cut into 2 pieces each & discard wingtips. Leg and thigh separated. Each breast cut into half. You should have a total of 4 wing pieces; 4 breast pieces; 2 legs; 2 thighs. Season with salt & pepper
  3. Over medium-high heat, use a heavy skillet or Dutch oven, and heat 2 tablespoons of the butter until it is fragrant and golden. Add as many chicken pieces in the pan as will fit comfortably and cook, turning once until pale golden, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate and brown the remaining pieces in the same manner, adding more butter as needed. Set all the cooked chicken pieces aside.
  4. Next, add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the 1/3 cup flour and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Whisk in 2 cups hot water and 2 cups chicken stock. Whisk constantly and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. The liquid will begin to thicken.
  6. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, parsley, thyme and 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Return the chicken pieces, with any accumulated juices to the pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat so the that the liquid barely bubbles. Cover tightly and cook until the dark meat pieces exude clear juices when pierced with a fork—about 30 minutes. Skim off the fat from the sides of the pot with a spoon.
  7. For the Dumplings: Prepare the Dumplings once the stew has been cooking for about 20 minutes. Mix together the dry ingredients—flour, baking powder and salt. Heat the butter and the milk in a small sauce pan to a bare simmer. Add the warmed milk & melted butter to the dry ingredients. Stir together with a fork or knead by hand 2-3 times until the mixture just comes together. Divide the dough into about 18 puffy dumplings. Roll each piece of the dough into a rough ball.
  8. Finish cooking the chicken stew and degrease the pan juices. Push the chicken pieces down so that they are submerged in gravy and gently drop spoonfuls over the top. Gently lay the formed dumplings on the surface of the chicken stew, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve immediately and garnish with chopped parsley.