Friday, February 28, 2014

Whatever You Do, Don't Make This Southwestern Chicken Pot Pie!

Seriously, Chicken pot pie who needs it?  Flaky pie crust, savory chicken, the smokey, yet gentle spicy flavor...

Even when you put it in the fridge to "save" it for "leftovers" and you peek at it and sneak one more bite to make sure it's still okay and then it tastes way better than okay...

Yep, Southwestern Chicken Pot Pie, don't even start!

But if severe warnings and common sense don't deter you, here's the recipe:

Adapted from Sunny Anderson

If You Want to Make Your Own Dough: (You can use refrigerated pie dough)
1 teaspoon sazon seasoning blend
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 stick butter, cut into pieces and frozen
Pinch salt
1 lb chicken thighs and/or legs
8 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, 4 smashed the other 2 thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon sazon seasoning blend
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, corn, onion, red pepper and black bean blend
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup Mexican crema or alternately 1 cup of light sour cream
1 egg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the dough: In a cup, add 1/4 cup cold water and the sazon. Stir to dissolve and set aside. In a food processor, add the flour, butter and salt. Then pulse until the butter is in small pebbles throughout the flour. Slowly add the seasoned water in a stream while pulsing until dough comes together. Remove the dough from the processor, form in to a ball and flatten it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

For the filling: In a pot, add the chicken, half of the thyme, the smashed garlic cloves and fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken by an inch. Sprinkle with a nice pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Then lower to a simmer and cook until the chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees F, or juices run clear when punctured, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the chicken parts from the water and rest on a plate to cool. Reserve 1/4 cup of the poaching liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, add the butter, oil, sliced garlic, serrano pepper, the remaining thyme, sazon, cumin, and season with a pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper. Saute while stirring until the pan is fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the frozen blend and reserved poaching liquid. Turn up the heat to create steam and continue stirring until the vegetable blend is cooked, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the flour in sprinkles and stir to combine. Then add the milk. Allow to simmer and thicken about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, remove the dough from the refrigerator and sprinkle a flat surface with flour. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Using a knife or pizza wheel, trim the edges. Center the dough in a 8 or 9-inch pie dish, allowing the excess dough to drape over the edges.

Remove the skin from the poached chicken, pull the meat from the bones and shred or chop. Stir into the pot along with the crema or sour cream. Pour the filling into the dough. Flap the excess edges over the top of the pie, making sure to not overlap too much dough at the joints. This amount of dough leaves a hole in the center to vent. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and a splash of water. Brush the egg wash gently on the top of the pie dough.

Bake until the crust is golden brown and the insides are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Grilled Mustard Rum Glazed Pork Chops

We had another gorgeous weekend and I had to get my fix grilling anything I could.  I know, the name alone is a mouthful, just wait until you try them yourself!

1/4 Dark Rum ( I used Myer's)
1/3 cup brown grain mustard (I used Zatarin's Creole Mustard)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chili sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 center cut, bone-in pork chops

Whisk all the ingredients together, except the pork chops, in a small bowl.  If you taste the marinade, it will taste pretty raw since the alcohol has not been cooked out yet.  Place the pork chops in a re-sealable plastic bag.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade for later (let it sit out at room temperature).  Pour the remaining marinade over the pork chops, seal the bag and work the marinade all over the chops to make sure they are all coated.  Place the bag in a bowl (just in case the bag leaks, the bowl will catch it) and refrigerate for at one hour.

Heat the grill to medium and spray the grates with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the chops on the heated grill and let them cook for about 7 minutes.  Flip them and let them cook for 7 more minutes.  Flip them again and brush them with the reserved marinade and let them cook for another 5 minutes.  Flip and brush the other side with the marinade and let them cook for 5 minutes longer, until the chops are cooked through.

Place the cooked chops on a platter and serve! So dang easy and so delicious!

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Tart

A seriously decadent tart with a three layers of chocolate. First, a crumbly chocolate crust, then a truffle-like interior, and last, a thin chocolate glaze that  makes this tart tops and the best I have come across in a long time.
9 (whole sheets) chocolate graham crackers (not chocolate-covered), finely ground - I used the food processor 
5 tablespoons butter, melted 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 1/4 cups heavy cream 
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao if marked), chopped 
2 large eggs 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon salt  
2 tablespoon heavy cream 
1-3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 
1 teaspoon light corn syrup 
1 teaspoon warm water

To Make the Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Stir together all the crust ingredients and press evenly onto bottom and 3/4 inch up side of tart pan. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes

To Make the Filling:
Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth.

In another bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt, then stir into melted chocolate.

Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set about 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as tart cools.) Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour.
To Make the Glaze:
Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water

Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.

Watch the smiles beam on your family and friends faces when you start serving this little bit of heaven!

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Hungarian Barbecue Chicken


I cam across this recipe by Musa Dagdeviren.  He is the go-to guy if you want to know about Turkish barbecue and I wanted to learn. One of the things that really intrigued me about Musa Dagdeviren is he's adventurous when it comes to grilling and so am I.  He'll grill chicken thighs marinated in creamy Greek yogurt, concoct a chile paste, add garlic and then he'll grill meatballs, shallots, even bread dough loaded with ground beef.

This is one of his "simpler" dishes.  Chicken thighs marinated, spice-crusted, and grilled—and the combination of creamy yogurt, garlic, and pepper flakes produces the sort of chicken that has made the Turks the Near East's undisputed grill masters for centuries.

2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus additional for sprinkling
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika, plus additional for sprinkling 
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
2 teaspoons Kosher salt 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 
2 lemons,  1 thinly sliced into rounds, 1 cut into wedges for serving 
2 lbs. skinless chicken thighs (or breast halves)

Place red pepper and paprika in a large bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons warm water and let stand until paste forms, about 5 minutes.

Add yogurt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper to spice mixture in bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in garlic and lemon slices, then chicken. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken on heated grill and discard marinade. Sprinkle each chicken thigh salt, pepper, and additional pepper flakes and paprika.

Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes per side.

Transfer chicken to platter and surround with lemon wedges and serve.

This is a wonderful variation from traditional American barbecue!

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Grilled Mushroom and Sausage Pizza

Last Thursday my world looked like this, buried in seven inches of snow.  Pretty yes, messy yes, yes.  It's odd how we look forward (sometimes) to getting a nice snowfall; we prepare, load up on food and in our case, beer and wine and then once it's fallen, we get extreme cabin fever because we know we can't go anywhere.  We're trapped at home; I know, it's pathetic.

This week, we're having a heatwave!  So it's time to take advantage of sitting out on the deck, listening to may favorite tunes on Pandora, drinking wine and grilling!

1 lb. of pizza dough, room temperature
1 lb. brats, hot dog size, I used Johnsonville's New Orleans brats
1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
1/2 poblano pepper, thinly sliced
1 - 8 ounce jar sun dried tomato pesto
1/2 lb. sliced baby bella mushrooms
3/4 lb. Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper

Roll out the dough to the size pizza(s) you want.  Brush the dough with a light coating of EVOO and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place the sliced mushrooms, poblano peppers and red onions in a bowl, drizzle with EVOO, season with salt and pepper.  Toss the vegetables to coat evenly.

Heat up the grill to medium-high, place the brats on the grill and place the vegetables in a grill-safe mesh bowl and place on the grill.  Check the brats and the vegetables frequently, turn the brats and toss the vegetables.

 Once the brats and vegetables are cooked, remove from the grill and set aside.  Spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray and place the pizza dough on the grill.  Grill covered for approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  Once the dough just starts to brown and get a little stiff, flip it, close the lid and grill it for another 3 minutes on the other side.  Remove the pizza crust from the grill to a flat surface, like a baking sheet.

Coat the pizza crust with a thin layer of sun dried tomato pesto.  Slice up the brats and place over the pesto,  Sprinkle the grilled veggies over the pizza.

Place the sliced Fontina cheese all over.  Put the pizza back on the grill and close the lid.  Grill the pizza for about 5 - 7 minutes, until the cheese is perfectly melted.

The finished product.  Go enjoy this little tease of Spring!

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spicy Pasta in Puttanesca Sauce


This is a easy and perfect blend of a touch of spicy and the ultimate blend of savory.  It comes together pretty quick and is a great midweek meal or perfect when you're entertaining unexpected guests.  You won't want to walk away and will drool waiting to eat the leftovers!

If you're lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's in your area, stock up on their Puttanesca Sauce!  So much easier than making it yourself and like all of Trader Joe's other products, it's the REAL DEAL!

2 jars Trader Giotto's Puttanesca Sauce
4 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 lb. hot Italian sausage (I used Johnsonville)
1/4 teaspoon read pepper flakes
1 lb. pasta, cooked al dente
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large high-sided sk
illet cook the pancetta until golden brown.  Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Return the same skillet to the stove and brown the Italian sausage. If the sausage is in casings, remove it from the casing as you add it to the skillet.  Move the sausage around with a wooden spoon to kind of chop it up into small pieces.  Halfway through the cooking process, rub the red pepper flakes in the palm of your hand to "wake them up" and sprinkle them over the cooking sausage.  Don't be timid about adding the red pepper flakes, it will add just another small dimension of flavor and slight heat to the dish and won't blast you out of your chair.

Once the sausage is completely cooked, drain the fat from the skillet.  Return the skillet with the sausage to the stove, lower the heat to simmer and add the two jars of Puttanesca Sauce.  Place a lid askew over the skillet and allow the sauce and sausage to come up to a slow simmer to warm the sauce completely.

When the sauce is warmed through, toss in the cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese. Completely coat the pasta with the sauce.

To serve, spoon a generous helping on a plate, garnish with the pancetta and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.  Serve with some crusty garlic bread and a salad. 

You will be blown away when you feel the different textures and flavors hitting you palette as you work your way through this plate from stove heaven!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Peanut Butter Pie

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and if you're not the chocolate covered strawberry type, then I have a real treat for you.  A luscious, light, silky peanut butter pie.  Is your mouth watering?  Are you licking your lips?

Get out you the mixing bowl and pie place, this pie comes together really quick!

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1-1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter in a bowl and press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie dish.  Bake for about 5 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool completely.

Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, whisk at high speed until stiff peaks are formed.  Transfer to a clean, large bowl.

Clean the mixing bowl and fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix together the cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla (yes, that's right 2 tablespoons!).  Beat on high speed until smooth and silky.

A spatula full at a time, gently fold in the peanut butter mixture into the whipped cream until completely blended.  Spoon the pie mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust.

Place pie in the freezer for at least one hour or until ready to serve.  If you're going to leave the pie in the freezer for longer than an hour, wrap the pie in plastic wrap after one hour.

Take the pie out of the freezer 15 minutes before serving and watch won't have any leftovers!

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