Monday, December 13, 2010

My Favorite Caesar Salad

This is best done in the blender,  the emulsion blender can get a little messy if you're not careful.  The blade assembly on my blender is leaking and everytime I try to order it, it's out of stock.  Evidently, the blade assembly on this particular blender must is a lemon since so many sites carry it, and it's constantly out of stock.  I hate to buy a new one when the part to fix it only costs six bucks.

This is what you'll need:

Make a garlic paste made from 1 clove of smashed garlic, salt and  a drop or two of extra olive oil
2 tablespoons of anchovy paste
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Juice of one lemons
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (divided)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Romaine lettuce (chilled)

Chill your salad bowl for about an hour in the fridge. When you’re ready to make your salad, take the cold bowl and evenly smear the garlic paste evenly over the inside. Now set the bowl back into the refrigerator until you're you've finished making the salad dressing.

Add to it the next five ingredients to your blender, then pulse it until they are thoroughly combined.

With your blender running on medium-high speed, pour in the olive oil in a thin stream, giving it a chance to uniformly emulsify. Then add Worcestershire, half of the Parmesan cheese, and salt and black pepper to taste. Pulse a couple of times more to blend in the cheese.  Refrigerate the dressing in a sealed container until you’re ready to use it.

To assemble the Caesar Salad, remove the chilled salad bowl from the fridge, tear the washed and drained Romaine lettuce into bite-size pieces, and add them to the bowl. Then add to the lettuce just enough dressing to coat it (more is not better!), sprinkle on the rest of the Parmesan, give everything a final toss, and serve it up garnished with garlic croutons.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

Hi, remember me?  I missed ya'll and hope your holidays have been fantastic so far! 

Thank all of you who have been emailing me and keeping up.  My job and soccer have gotten in the way of blogging.  Oh yeah, you can't tell it by this recipe, but I have lost 38 lbs and have a little ways to go to get back down to my fighting weight.  But my family has to eat, so I still cook.

I found out the homegirlz have been cheating on me; yes the truth can be ugly.  I found out that they absolutely adore Chicken Alfredo that's been catered to their soccer team by a local restaurant!  Who doesn't like all that cream and cheese? Anyone can make a really good Alfredo, but how about one that pops?  How about one that can stretch two boneless, skinless chicken breasts that can feed six healthy appetites?

Rub a generous amount of Emeril's Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and sear the chicken for 5 minutes.

Turn and sear the other side for 3-1/2 to 5 minutes.  Basically, your are blackening the chicken.  I find Emeil's Essence has a much better depth of flavor and your food doesn't taste burnt.  Plus doing it this way, you cook this inside.  Transfer the skillet from the stove top to a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven to a platter or cutting board and allow to rest.

While the chicken is searing and cooking, rough chop 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes.

This is the jar the sun-dried tomatoes came in. Do not throw this liquid gold away!!!!  We're going to put it to work.

Slice and cut the chicken into healthy bit-sized pieces.  The pieces of chicken don't have to be uniform in size, since this is a rustic dish.

Pour the leftover oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a large pot and add in 2 tablespoons of butter.  Heat over medium -high heat. 

Add 3 tablespoons of minced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, saute for about 5 minutes.

Add in the chicken and coat with the oil and garlic-tomato mixture.

De-glaze the pot by pouring in 1/4 cup of Marsala wine.

Pour in 3 cups of heavy cream and raise the heat to a gentle bubble.  

Reduce the sauce by about half.

Stir in 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese or I like to use a mixture of grated Parm and Asiago cheese.

Stir in 1/2 cup of sliced green onions and serve in a bowl topped with a little more grated cheese and a slice of crusty bread.