Monthly Archives: November 2018

Braised Tunisian Chicken Thighs

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This is an easy recipe for braised chicken thighs with Tunisian flavors, courtesy of Los Angeles, California chefs, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo for Plated.com.

I made this dish for a second time with a variation to original recipe. I used skin-on, bone-in thighs and chicken drumsticks instead of skinless chicken thighs. Why? Well, you will get a better sear and slightly deeper flavor with the skin still. Using skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs will also increase the cooking time and always be sure to check that your chicken is for completely cooked at the proper temperature by using a meat thermometer.

This dish is best served with couscous or steamed white rice.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
For Spice Mix 1:
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

For Spice Mix 2:
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon harissa paste
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh Thai chile, halved lengthwise, seeds discarded,minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzanos, crushed by hand

Directions:
To make Spice Mix 1:In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, paprika, caraway, coriander, and cumin. Stir everything together and set aside.

To make Spice Mix 2:In a small bowl, combine the turmeric, chile powders, coriander, caraway, and cinnamon. Stir everything together and set aside.

To marinate the chicken:Rinse the chicken, pat it dry with paper towels, and arrange the pieces on a large plate. In a small bowl, combine Spice Mix 1, the garlic, Thai chile, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Coat the chicken with this mixture, rubbing it in thoroughly. Allow the chicken to marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap.

To cook:
Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Season the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan with high sides and a tight fitting lid. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken and sear on the first side, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the pieces and sear on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and Spice Mix 2 to the same pan in which you seared the chicken. Sauté until the onion is very soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.

Add the reserved chicken to the simmering tomatoes, nestling the pieces into the sauce. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Braise until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

To serve:

Taste the braising liquid and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Divide the chicken and sauce evenly between two warmed, shallow bowls and serve.

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Feta Stuffed Pork Chops

 

This recipe makes for pork chops that a are flavorful, juicy, and tender. This oven-baked technique will ensure that your pork has a delicious crust and a perfectly cooked interior. Just follow these simple tips below and prepare yourself to reconsider everything you know about this weeknight-friendly cut. The recipe follows.

Tips on Cooking the Perfect Pork Chops

1. Buy the pork chops bone-in and thick.
Typically, bone-in pork chops are thicker than those with the bone removed. A thin pork chop is difficult to cook perfectly with this method, because of the hard sear you give both sides before it goes in the oven. If a chop is too thin, by the time you’ve seared both sides, the thing is practically overcooked! Choosing a thick chop allows you to get a nice golden sear on both sides and a perfectly cooked tender center.

2. Get your skillet HOT.
The goal of this initial sear is to get a golden, crisp crust on your chop without really cooking the center. I find that using a cast iron skillet is the best for cooking pork chops. A hot skillet is so CRUCIAL. Let your pork chops cook a couple minutes undisturbed, then take a peek and see how that golden crust is forming. When you are pleased with the desired golden sear, flip the chops over and brown them again, to get golden on the other side.

3. Brush with butter.
This classic restaurant trick—basting with butter while cooking—makes a great dish worthy f five stars. However, if you are trying to keep it healthy and watch the cholesterol, this step isn’t required, but it will definitely make the pork chops extremely delicious though. For the recipe below, you will be brushing a garlicky rosemary butter on the chops.

4. Use a meat thermometer.
Yes, many parofessional and home cooks will say that you will known the meat is done by instinct, but let’s be real, that takes years of experience by being the kitchen. But if you are not familiar with the “doneness” of your proteins, using a meat thermometer will make your life just a tad bit easier. I know, I know. This is the extra step that often seems fussy, but trust me, it’s worth it. Using a meat thermometer takes the guess work out of cooking pork chops, and that’s “a good thing.” The temperature you pull your chops at is totally up to you, but here’s a quick guide to choosing the right temperature for your taste. As always, give the meat some time to rest before digging in. Five to ten minutes should do the trick.

  1. 120°-130° F: This is comfortably at medium rare. Warning! You will see pink, and that’s is perfectly fine (See the USDA tips for cooking pork). The pork chop will be rosy-pink on the inside and super juicy.
  2. 130°-140° F: For those who are not comfortable with pink pork, this might be the right temperature zone for you. There will be a touch of pink in the center, but for the most part the flesh will be white. The meat will still be nice and juicy.
  3. 140°-145° F: No pink here! The meat will be completely white all the way through. Pork chops at this temperature will still have the potential to be juicy, just be sure to pull them from the oven on the lower end of this spectrum, as the chops will continue to cook even after they’re out of the oven. Anything past 145° F is the danger DRY zone, so keep a close watch.

Other than that, good luck and happy eating!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
For the Feta Cheese Filling:
3 tablespoons feta cheese (crumbled)
2/3 cup diced sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, taste

For the Pork Chops:
4 bone-in pork loin chops
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, taste

For the Glaze:
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Mix feta cheese, tomatoes, parsley and olive oil in a bowl. Use the tip of a sharp boning or paring knife to cut a 3-inch slit in the side of each pork chop, 2 inches deep and 1/4-inch away from the bone, to make a pocket for stuffing. Stuff pork chops with feta cheese filling and secure with toothpicks.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl mix together butter, rosemary, and garlic. Set aside.

In cast iron or oven safe skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil then add pork chops. Sear until golden, 4 minutes, flip and cook 4 minutes more. Brush pork chops generously with garlic butter.

Place the skillet in oven and cook until cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Serve with more garlic butter, if desired.

pork-chop-verticalPhoto Credit: Ethan Calabrese, 2018.

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All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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Garlic Butter Chicken Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

These garlic butter chicken meatballs are low-carb, gluten free, and all around better for you without skipping out on any of the tastiness.

meatballs
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 pound ground chicken
5 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 pound zucchini noodles (zoodles)

Directions:
In a large bowl mix together ground chicken, 2 garlic cloves, egg, Parmesan, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper then form into tablespoon sized meatballs.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and cook meatballs until golden on all sides and cooked through, 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and wipe out skillet with a paper towel.

Melt butter in skillet then add remaining 3 garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add zoodles to skillet and toss in garlic butter then squeeze in lemon juice.

Add the meatballs back to the skillet and heat just until warmed through. Garnish with Parmesan to serve.

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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Hello November!

Hello-november-be-good

November’s seasonal produce promises some new excitement. Plenty of tasty things grow in colder weather and tropical climates. Look for fruits and vegetables to add a burst of color and flavor to your fall menu. Walnuts are a special thing. In season for just a few weeks in autumn, these fresh nuts – as opposed to the dry ones you can get in the shops – have a milky taste with a slight crunch, and are delicious just as they are. From humble roots and orchard fruits to striking brassicas, take a look at which seasonal fruits and vegetables our wonderful local farmers are harvesting this month.

Happy Shopping!

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for November:

Apples
Artichokes
Arugula
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celeriac
Celery
Clementines
Cranberries
Dates
Endive
Figs
Garlic
Kale
Leeks
Lettuce
Onions
Parsnips
Pears
Peppers
Persimmons
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Radishes
Rutabaga
Squash
Sweet Potato
Swiss Chard
Turnips
Welt Walnuts
Watercress

This Month’s Featured Vegetable:
Onions!

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Photo Credit: Taste Insight, 2017.

While onions may have a reputation for their pungent aroma, they certainly pack a punch when it comes to flavor – raw or cooked.

They are among the most common staples found in kitchens across the globe. Why? Because they are an essential base for so many great, flavorful meals from Indian classics to Canadian cuisine, and are incredibly diverse in their use.

Onions are a key ingredient in everything from soup to Greek salad and can even bring sweetness to a decadent chip dip. The limit for their use is your own gastronomic imagination.

Varieties of Onions

There is an abundance of onions currently available, but the most common are: yellow cooking onions, large red and white onions, green onions or scallions, and Vidalia onions. Pearl, cipollini and shallots are smaller onion varieties that add a slightly sweet-smelling scent and flavour to many sauces and vinaigrettes.

        Yellow

  • Yellow cooking onions are the most common in Canada. Most recipes that call for “onion” are generally referring to yellow onions because these are an excellent choice for cooking and caramelizing. Mild tasting and quite sweet in flavor (especially between March and August) these onions are available year round, however, those harvested between September through to February tend to be pungent and stronger in flavor. Their versatility means they can be enjoyed raw, lightly cooked, sautéed, grilled, baked and roasted.

yellow onion

        Red

  • Red onions are a popular choice when raw onions are called for, thanks to their pretty color and overall mild flavor. They also leave less of an after taste then yellow onions. They are best enjoyed raw or lightly cooked.

Red-Onions

     White

  • These onions have a slightly different composition so they don’t store as well as their yellow cousins. They are commonly enjoyed in white sauces and in salads as they have a clean flavor. They are best consumed raw, or lightly cooked.

white

      Green

  • When a less intense onion flavor is required, green onions are the answer. They can be eaten raw or cooked and the entire onion can be consumed, if desired. Available year round, be sure to look for brightly colored, undamaged leaves with firm stem ends.

green-onions-store

      Vidalia Onions

  • People who like onions but dislike the potent taste will find sweet onions a happy alternative. These crisp onions are ideal for eating raw, but when caramelized can add a deep, rich sweetness to a variety of dishes. In season, between April and September, look for onions that are firm and free of bruises.

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Shallots

  • Shallots are used in cooking in addition to being pickled. Finely sliced, deep-fried are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine, often served with porridge. As a species of Allium, shallots taste somewhat like a common onion, but have a milder flavor. Like onions, when sliced, raw shallots release substances that irritate the human eye, resulting in production of tears.

shallots

 

 

Onions Go Well With……

Onions are an important aromatic and go well with almost everything.

They taste great sautéed in butter, and also go well with bacon, bread, cheese, cream, milk, garlic, oil, pepper, and thyme.

They also very complimentary to foods like mushrooms, beef, beets, cucumbers and herbs such as dill, sage, mint, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, oregano and basil.

Onions are a great base for almost all soups and sauces.

 

Serving Ideas

Caramelized onions take some time to cook but they have a multitude of applications. Spread them on sandwiches or flat bread, or add them to pizza or pasta for a hint of savory sweetness.

Create a decadent side dish with just a few ingredients. This celery root and onion gratin will compliment a special meal or provide comfort during a cold evening.

Soup isn’t complete without onions. Check out our roasted pumpkin soup, tomato-basil soup or broccoli soup for seasonal and satisfying lunch and dinner inspiration.

Go beyond the classic baked potato and impress guests by creating a restaurant-worthy dish with simple ingredients that taste very gourmet. Everyone will love these chorizo, onion and cheese-stuffed potato boats.

This cheesy herbed potato bread with caramelized onions makes a wonderful side for dinner and the best vessel for your favorite sandwich fillings.

This recipe for sautéed mushrooms and onions is the perfect side to accompany a juicy steak. The mushrooms are well seasoned to stand up to the big robust flavors of the beef.  You can use button mushrooms, cremini, or a combination of your favorite mushroom mix.

 

How To Select and Store Onions

Onions have dry, papery skin and vary in size, shape and color. They should feel firm, and be void of any sprouts forming at the top, powdery patches, or black spots on the skins. Another way to test the freshness of an onion is to sniff it: if it doesn’t carry that typical ‘onion’ scent, you know your product is good.

All varieties of onions should be stored in a cool and dry space with plenty of ventilation. Although onions have a low rate of respiration, take care not to store them in plastic bags otherwise they will create a moist environment and breed mold.

Important to note: the urban myth that pre-cut onions will make you ill is just that – a myth! Tightly wrap leftover cut onions in plastic wrap, and keep them in your refrigerator. Be sure to use within the week.

 

 

How To Prepare Onions

To chop an onion like a pro, follow this simple guide:

Cut both the top and root ends off the onion. Then, cut in half lengthwise and peel off the paper skin.

Place the cut side of the onion half down on the cutting board and secure in a stable position using your fingers.

Slice, dice, chop, quarter or mince as per your recipe directions.

Here’s a clever tip: to reduce tearing, chill your onions in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes before cutting into the onion.

Yield: one medium onion will give you approximately 1 cup of chopped onion.

Onion Tips

Onions are one of the most common base ingredients for stir-fries, soups, stews and sauces.

If you find your cutting board smelling slightly like onion even after cleaning it, give it a good scrub with baking soda and water. Alternatively, you can rub it with the flesh of half a lemon.

Eating parsley will help neutralize the smell of onion on your breath. However, cooked onion leave virtually no lingering odor.

Try grating an onion into your hamburger meat. As the burgers cook, the onion will add moisture and flavor.

To mellow the flavor of sliced raw onion, run it under cold running water. This is a great trick for salsa and salads.

According to the National Onion Association, onions bring tears to your eyes due to sulfuric compounds when cut. They recommend that you chill your onions for about 30 minutes before slicing them and cut into the root end of the onion last to reduce this effect. To minimize their pungency, soak in ice water for up to an hour or run under cold water before for at least 1 minute.

 

Onion Nutritional Information

According to the Canadian Nutrient file, 250 mL (1 cup) of raw onion contains 49 calories; 11.3 g of carbohydrate, 0 fat, and 1.3 g of protein, 2g of fiber and total natural sugars are 5.1 g. It provides 14% of your daily intake requirements of Vitamin C and 5% of your B6 requirement. 1 medium yellow onion (1 cup or 250 mL), sautéed, contains a great number of your daily-recommended intake of nutrients: 25% of Vitamin K, 6% of fiber (1.6 g), 3% of Vitamin C, 3% of magnesium, 3% of phosphorus, and 3% of potassium.

Source:
Produce Made Simple: Onion (2018) The Ontario Produce Marketing Association. Date Accessed October 31, 2018. https://producemadesimple.ca/storage-onions
Continue reading Hello November!