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Archive for September, 2010

Chicken Scallopine With Basil And Fontina Cheese

Chicken Scallopine With Basil And Fontina Cheese

I have made this Chicken Scallopine many times before and it is absolutely lovely. The Fontina cheese is what really makes this dish. I like to use a Danish Fontina which is mild, sweet and nutty. It is also a very soft cheese so it can be a bit challenging to shred. Try placing the cheese in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before shredding. Of course, you could simply just cut the cheese into very thin slices instead and place onto chicken. It should roll just fine since the cheese is so soft. This recipe was originally made with sage but I just love the basil flavor with the tomatoes.

Chicken Scallopine With Basil And Fontina Cheese

Ingredients:

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin

salt and freshly ground pepper

6 large basil leaves, plus more

3 ounces grated Fontina cheese, shredded

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large garlic clove, cut into thick slices

1/2 cup white wine

1 (28 ounces) can whole San Marzano tomatoes

a pinch of red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Special Equipment: toothpicks

Directions:

Rinse chicken breasts under cold running water and cut off any excess fat. Place one chicken breast in a large zip lock bag, press out inside air and close. Pound chicken breast thin using the smooth end of a meat tenderizer or a rolling-pin. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Place chicken breast on plastic cutting board, narrow end facing you. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on large basil leaf on top of chicken. Sprinkle with 1/2 ounce Fontina cheese (about 2 tablespoons). Starting with the narrow end, roll up chicken and seal with two toothpicks. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Warm the olive oil and garlic slices in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until garlic is fragrant. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken to a plate and discard the garlic. Add the wine and simmer for 2 minutes, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes and red pepper flakes in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the tomato mixture to the reduced wine, season with salt and pepper, stir to blend. Place the browned chicken breasts back into the skillet with the tomato sauce, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and simmer covered for another 10 minutes. Chop extra basil and add to sauce, stir. Remove all toothpicks.

Spoon tomato sauce onto a warm serving platter. Cut each chicken breasts into half and place on top of tomato sauce. Serve immediately.

Chicken breasts rolled up and secured with toothpicks

Brown chicken on all sides.

Source: adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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Chocolate Cupcakes With Nutella Icing

Chocolate Cupcakes With Nutella Icing

So my husband Joe, you know the Blacksmith, had his Blacksmithing buddies over for their monthly meeting. This time I decided to also make them a sweet treat and when Joe saw these cupcakes on Barefoot Contessa’s TV show (yeah, I force him to watch the FoodNetwork…evil laugh) he decided that’s what he wanted. Except the original cupcakes had a Peanut Butter frosting and there is no way, no how, I am making anything Peanut Butter. Sorry, just can’t stand it. So we decided on a brilliant solution, Nutella of course. So here it is, please enjoy Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Icing.

Artist Blacksmith Group of Tidewater

Chocolate Cupcakes With Nutella Icing

Ingredients for cupcakes:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup good cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Ingredients for Icing:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup Nutella

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and the 2 sugars on high-speed until light and fluffy (approx 5 minutes). Lower speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk and sour cream. In another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

On low-speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl. Mix only until blended. Fold batter with a spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.

Divide batter among the cupcake pans, using an ice cream scoop per cup. Bake in the middle of oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Using a toothpick test to make sure cupcakes are done. Toothpick should come out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: place confectioner’s sugar, nutella, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electrical mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the sides of bowl as you work. Add the cream and beat on high-speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with Nutella Icing. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcake With Nutella Icing

Chocolate Cupcake With Nutella Icing

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa

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Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

If you read my blog on a regular basis you’ll know that I am a bit of a tomato freak. So it makes sense that tomato soup is one of my favorite types of soup. In my humble opinion, there is nothing more soothing than a bowl of warm and slightly peppery tomato soup served with a slice of fresh bread. Yum!

This time I chose to make it a smooth textured soup but if you would like it a little more coarse, use canned diced tomatoes instead of whole canned tomatoes. And only blend the roasted tomato chunks and then pass them through a sieve. This will give you more chunks but without skin and seeds from the roasted tomatoes.

Also I should mention, that this recipe makes quite a few portions and if your family or friends are not too keen on tomato soup, no worry, because this soup freezes really well. I like to divide it into smaller serving sizes, freeze and defrost as needed for a quick-lunch. I hope you enjoy this wonderful Roasted Tomato Basil Soup.

Delicious roasted tomatoes

 Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients:

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

5 garlic cloves, minced

a pinch red pepper flakes

1 (28 ounce) canned whole San Marzano tomatoes

4 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 quart chicken stock

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut tomatoes into halves. Toss together tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes out onto a foil covered baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, saute onions, garlic and red pepper flakes with 2 tablespoon olive oil until onions start to brown. Place the roasted tomatoes and canned tomatoes in a blender, food mill or a food processor and blend until smooth. Press tomatoes through a sieve to remove skin and seeds, make sure to scrape all the thick good stuff off the bottom of the sieve.  Add the tomatoes, basil, thyme, chicken stock and juices from baking sheet to the skillet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Tomato and Basil, a match made in heaven

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa

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Blinis

Blinis with Salmon and Caviar

This post is not a recipe but rather a collection of ingredients which make up a delicious little appetizer. I first had this at my Danish friend Tina’s house and I was immediately hooked. It consist of these wonderful mini pancakes called Blinis which are Russian in origin and traditionally made of buckwheat flour and yeast. However, the ones I got a hold of was actually French Blinis which have no buckwheat flour in them. I choose to serve the Blinis at room temperature but you can warm them up a little if you so choose. Then add the following toppings of your choice; slice of smoked Salmon, sliced hard-boiled egg, dollop of sour cream and top off with caviar. I just love the rude popping sensation against the roof of my mouth from the caviar, delicious!

Blini topping ideas:

Salmon, hard-boiled egg, sour cream and caviar

Chopped strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar

Brie and fruit preserves

Chopped, cooked fresh apples with cinnamon

Creme Fraiche, minced red onion, smoked salmon and dill

Blini with Sour Cream and Caviar

Blini with Salmon, Sour Cream and Caviar

Source: my Danish friend Tina

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