02 August 2014

Chef Recipe For 2: Paneed Chicken With Marsala Sauce

Advocate staff photo by BRIANNA PACIORKA -- Paneed Chicken With Marsala Sauce goes together quickly and is perfect for a two-person supper.
Photo: Brianna Paciorka - Perfect for a two-person supper
From Denny:   Are the kids going off to college this fall and you now find yourself an empty nester?  Are you newly married and wondering how to scale down the usual recipe that is calibrated for 4 - 6 servings? Live alone but want to invite a friend over for dinner without breaking the bank?  Well, Louisiana Chef Jeremy Langlois scaled down this favorite recipe of Chicken Marsala that anyone can make into just two servings.  How's that for economy! 

Start by dredging some boneless chicken breast halves in Italian bread crumbs.  Then saute the chicken in oilve oil.  Like Chef Langlois instructs at his cooking demonstrations, "Cooking is all about managing heat.  You don't want to put your chicken into a cold pan.  To test the heat, first put a small amount of break crumbs into the oil to see if it sizzles."

After the chicken is cooked, place it on a separate plate.  Then it's time to start making the light sauce with olive oil, chopped onions, sliced shittake mushrooms and a bit of garlic.  Remember that mushrooms like to absorb the oil, so you might need to add a little more olive oil while you are cooking.  Add a bit of flour to thicken the sauce and then to finish the sauce add the marsala wine and beef broth.

When serving be sure to be generous with the sauce!  This dish can be served with a good salad, asparagus or boiled pasta on the side if you like.

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29 July 2014

Romancing The Chocolate: Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Photo provided by King Arthur Flour  --  No one will ever guess there's zucchni in this Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread.
Photo: King Arthur Flour

Romancing The Chocolate: Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: From Denny:  Summer time and the zucchini are multiplying like rabbits in our gardens!  Zucchini bread is always welcome just plain but how about "gilding the lily"?  Add some cocoa, chocolate chips and espresso powder to put it over the top.

Quick breads like this recipe are always welcome for the holidays or when you want something special - but not complicated or too demanding of your time and effort.  Like most quick breads this one is an easy recipe to make.  While this delicious bread bakes just sit down, relax and tour through your favorite collected old cookbooks or breeze through some interesting online recipe databases.  Works for me!

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24 July 2014

Summer Recipe: Cool Fake Watermelon Cheesecake

Photo provided by Family Features --  Serve up a hot Fourth of July with fun treats, clockwise, from left, Cool Watermelon Cheesecake; Red, White and Blue Treat Pops and Sweet Sliders.
Photo: Family Features 

From Denny:  This is such a fun colorful cheesecake to make that is sure to impress for any special holiday or occasion!  While it looks like watermelon it's really a strawberry flavored cheesecake supported by a delicious coconut and pistachio crumble crust that imitates the watermelon rind.  How clever is that?  And you know it sure tastes better than the rind. :) To imitate the look of the watermelon seeds you garnish the cheesecake with mini chocolate chips.  

The beauty of this cheesecake is that you don't have to bake it.  Everything is done on the stove top and then chilled.  Well, I'm sold; ready to start cooking?  

With some extra effort - on a slow lazy weekend when you have some time - this might be fun to make in small mini cheesecakes.  It could be one of those special treats you can pull out at the last minute when unexpected company shows up for a visit and you don't have the time to stop and shop. 

You could probably freeze this cheesecake (the large or the mini versions) before garnishing with the mini chocolate chips, especially if you are only cooking for two and just can't eat an entire cheesecake.  I wouldn't freeze it with the chocolate chips as chocolate tends to get an unattractive bloom on it when frozen and then thawed.  It's your call.  I often freeze cheesecakes I make as we like smaller portions at our house  to control the calories and because we find cheesecake so rich a dessert.  Sometimes I freeze cheesecake in well wrapped slices or take the time to make the smaller tart size.

Kid Friendly Recipe:  This recipe would be fun to do with older children to help teach them more about cooking.  They could easily help make the crust and help mix the cream cheese mixture.  You would have to supervise the stove top cooking of the frozen strawberries and dealing with the red food coloring as that could get quite messy. :)  But kids could help sprinkle the gelatin over the pan of cooked strawberries and help you stir until dissolved.  You might want to be the one to add the red food coloring and let them stir it into the mixture.  Kids are definitely up to helping decorate with the mini chocolate chips - though you may find quite a few missing before they land on the cheesecake!

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23 July 2014

Summer Slow Cooker: Strawberry Shortcake

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Have a red, white and blue treat with Slow Cooker Strawberry Shortcake.
Photo/Patrick Dennis @ The Advocate
From Denny:  Summer heat.  Bring on the berries!  If you enjoy fresh strawberries and blueberries - along with a side dish of easy to make dessert - then this recipe is for you.  Our local food columnist is a master at kid friendly recipes, quick recipes and less effort recipes for the working or busy parent.  So, when the summer heat gets you tired, think: what can the slow cooker do for me so I don't have to stand over the stove?  

Julie Kay recommends this slow cooker recipe is best if you are home to make sure it does not over cook. In fact, it's one of those desserts that can be cooking while you serve dinner.  If you have any extra fresh blueberries in the fridge then feel free to add them after the shortcake has cooked.  This pretty dessert would be perfect for the Fourth of July holiday celebration too.

Remember:  Cook this dessert on High so that the dough topping will get a chance to brown a bit.

Serve:  Be sure to reserve a cup or two of fresh strawberries to add as a colorful garnish when serving this dessert and you also get those layered tastes of both cooked and fresh strawberry!

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25 June 2014

Fourth of July Recipe: Raspberry and Blueberry Creme Tart

Photo provided by King Arthur Flour  --  The festive Berries and Creme Tart is a red, white and blueberry addition to a Fourth of July -- or any summer -- gathering.
Photo: King Arthur Flour. This festive Berries and Creme Tart is a red, white and blueberry addition 
to a Fourth of July -- or any summer -- gathering.

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