Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chicken with balsamic citrus glaze

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3-4 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Dash of fresh grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Cook chicken breasts in a large skillet with 1-2 tablespoons oil.  Remove when cooked thoroughly and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

In the pan (reserve some of the fat from the chicken/oil), heat the shallots, honey and allspice over medium heat and cook, stirring until the shallots are wilted, around 1-2 minutes.  Increase the heat to high and add the chicken stock and lemon juice.  Boil, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon until reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Add the cream and boil until the sauce is slightly thickened and add the balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Return to a boil and spoon the sauce over the chicken.

(PS-for my veg friends, I imagine this would taste pretty good on some salmon or tuna)

Miso soup

I love miso soup, really, it's one of my favorite things.  What I don't love, however, is having to pay like $3-$4 at a restaurant for a tiny cup!  So, after watching an episode of Good Eats, I set out to the Asian market to pick up the ingredients.

First, I have to give myself a pat on the back for successfully navigating the aisles and finding what I need, even with things not clearly printed in English (thank God for see through packaging!).  Total cost was about $13, and I can make boatloads of miso soup with this stuff (at least the miso paste, I have a feeling I'm going to be tossing some of it if I don't find more uses for it...)

What you want to do first is make your dashi (which is basically a stock used in Japanese cooking):
  • 2 4-inch squares of kombu
  • 2 1/2 quarts of water
  • 1/2 ounce bonito flakes (about 2 cups)
Put the kombu in a 4 quart saucepan, cover with water and soak for 30 minutes.

Set the saucepan over medium heat until the water reaches 150-160 degrees and small bubbles form around the edges of the pot.  (Around 9-10 minutes).

Remove the kombu from the pan and increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and add the bonito flakes (warning, these flakes STINK so don't take a whiff, but the finished product?  Can't smell it at all).  Simmer gently, stirring frequently for 10 minutes.

Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer lined with muslin or cheesecloth.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Use within a week or freeze for up to a month (or let it cool a bit and use it to make the miso soup).

Miso Soup: 
  • 12 ounce block tofu (I used medium firm)
  • 2 quarts dashi
  • 6 tablespoons dark or red miso
  • 2 tablespoons light or white miso
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
Wrap the tofu in layers of paper towel and put on a plate with a plate on top weighted with a 28 ounce can of tomatoes or beans (this will absorb some of the water out of the tofu).  Leave for about 20 minutes then unwrap the paper towel and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

Heat the dashi in a 4 quart saucepan over medium high heat.  When the dashi reaches 100 degrees on an instant read thermometer, ladle 1 cup into a small bowl.  Add the miso and whisk until smooth.

Bring the remaining dashi to a bare simmer, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the miso to the mixture and whisk to combine.  Return to a slight simmer, being careful not to boil the mixture.  Add the tofu and scallions and cook for another minute or two.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

This soup was delicious, and tasted exactly like I've had in restaurants.  My biggest complaint is that it made such a large serving and it really doesn't keep too long, but I will definitely be making it again!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crab Cakes

Lazy blogger back again!  I've been cooking (kind of), but I'm lacking in motivation I guess.

Anyway, I got a craving for crab cakes the other day and even though I have a 2 pack of Maryland style crab cakes from Trader Joes in my freezer, I decided to give it a go on my own.  For the first time, I think they came out okay!  I think next time I will use lump crab meat (I just didn't want to pay $6.99 for a small can of it) and maybe skip the egg as a binding agent, as it was VERY wet and as a result, I had to use more bread crumbs then I wanted, and maybe make them a bit thicker, these were thin, but it made 7 and I had 3 along with some roasted potatoes, and I am stuffed!

Baked feta crab cakes:
  • 12 ounces crab meat (whatever you like to use, I just bought two 6-ounce cans of regular crab meat, so it was more shredded)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I hate mayo with a passion, all I can taste is the fat coating my tongue, yuck.  But I got a coupon for a free bottle of Kraft Mayo made with olive oil, and it's not that bad, and has WAY less fat and calories than regular mayo)
  • 1/2-1 cup breadcrumbs (I used italian bread crumbs to mix in and panko to coat)
  • 1 egg (again, in the future, I would maybe eliminate the egg so I could cut back on the breadcrumbs)
  • 1 ounce feta cheese
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or dried) parsley
Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

In a bowl combine the crab (drained), mayo, egg (if you decide to use it), feta, pepper, parsley and lemon juice.  Stir to combine and add in the breadcrumbs 1/4 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached (I think I had to add close to 3/4 of a cup before I was able to start forming them).

In a separate bowl, pour some panko breadcrumbs and form crab mix into a patty (about 2-3 ounces) and roll to coat.

Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet with a couple of tablespoons of canola oil (or whatever you have on hand).  Gently place patties and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Transfer the crab cakes to the foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway, until crispy. 

Place on a cooling rack lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving and top with zesty remoulade sauce.

Remoulade Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Refrigerate for an hour or until chilled.

Serves 2-3