Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quick and Easy Chicken Cacciatore

I have a great recipe for Chicken Cacciatore made from scratch but, there are days where I just don't have the time or energy to put it all together. Quick and easy doesn't have to mean bland. This recipe proves that.

There is no need to cut up a whole chicken, buy legs or thighs for this dish. Dredge them with flour and brown them in some olive oil using a deep fry pan.
When they are well browned, take them out and set aside.
Add one finely chopped onion to the pan along with a couple of finely chopped cloves of garlic. Cook then until the onion is translucent being careful not to brown them. Put the chicken back into the pan, stir things around, add one can of Hunt's chopped tomatoes with Olive Oil and Garlic along with a cup or so of chicken stock. Stir.
Bring it all up to a slow boil. Add a tablespoon of oregano and a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes and stir again and turn down the heat.
Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes.
Before it is quite done cook up some of your favorite spaghetti. Drain and put it into a serving bowl. Add your favorite cheese then pour the tomato mixture over the pasta.
Stir and serve.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mussels a la Plancha

This is my new favorite way of cooking mussels. This is as simple as a recipe gets but it is very good.
I prefer cultivated P.E.I. mussels but chaque un a son gout as they say in Quebec.
A la plancha means on the griddle or skillet.

You will need about a kilo of mussels or less depending on how many you are feeding. Much more and you should do two batches, otherwise it will become unmanageable.

Take a large cast iron or other type of skillet and get it quite hot. Hot enough so that drops of water will dance across the pan when dropped on it.

Put one quick swirl of olive oil in the pan then drop in all the mussel at once. It works best if there is only the one layer of mussels but don't worry if you have a double layer. It will work fine but you might have to stir them up as they cook.

The mussels will cook in their own juices and will open as they cook. A couple of times, shake in a bit of salt and pepper mixing them up each time.

When all the mussels are open, squeeze the juice of a couple of limes all over them and serve them in the pan you cooked them in.

You might want some melted butter to dip the mussels in if you insist but, I don't really think you need it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Banana Butterscotch Mousse

I don't have a sweet tooth so don't eat dessert very often.This one is from Gordon Ramsay's Fast Food and I think you'll like it. It is everything you want in a recipe, simple, quick and very tasty.

1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter
2 1/4 cups whipping cream
4 large bananas
a squeeze of lemon juice
good dark chocolate to grate on top.

Put the sugar, butter and 2/3 of a cup of whipping cream in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted. Once that is done let it bubble away for a couple of minutes, stirring often, then set aside and let it cool.

Pour the remaining cream into a blender. Add the bananas, broken into small peices along with a squeeze of lemon and blend until the mixture is smooth, thick and creamy.

Spoon a bit of the butterscotch sauce around the edge of a martini glass smearing it for effect. Divide up the banana mousse amongst the 4 glasses. Use a small teaspoon to ripple the remainder of the butterscotch through the mousse. Chill.

Just before serving grate a bit of chocolate over the top of the mousse.

Peas with Double Smoked Bacon

Peas are not a favorite vegetable in our house. I like them but...everyone else would just as soon pass them up. I was looking for something a bit different and came across this. This was originally a Jamie Oliver recipe. I have adapted it a bit for my own taste. It was a big hit. I think you'll like it.

4 or 5 slices of double smoked bacon
an ounce or more of olive oil
frozen peas (to feed 4 or 5)
a squeeze of lemon
1 Tbsp butter

Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry them in the olive oil until crisp, set aside. Drain most but not all the oil off
Cook the peas up according to the package instructions, drain
Put them into a serving bowl, mix in the bacon, the butter and add the squeeze of lemon
Stir and serve.