Tuscan Chicken with Zucchini and Tomatoes

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This Tuscan Chicken dish is made with the most delicious creamy tomato Parmesan sauce, chicken thighs, zucchini and tomatoes. Be sure to have some crusty bread on hand, because this sauce is to die for. When it comes to chicken thigh recipes, its hard to beat this one.


Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
Kosher salt,to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 summer squash, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

For Garnish:
Fresh basil leaves
Tomato wedges

Directions:
In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add chicken and season with salt, pepper,oregano,rosemary, thyme basil, marjoram, fennel seeds. Cook until the skin is golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini, summer squash and cherry tomatoes to the skillet and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the cream and the milk. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until a creamy sauce forms. Continue to simmer until the sauce is slightly reduces, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. Remove the rosemary sprigs.

Return the chicken to the skillet to skillet and cook until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes. To serve, garnish with a chiffonade of fresh basil and tomato wedges if desired.

 

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Crêpes à la Sauce Camembert

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A crêpe or crepe  is a type of very thin pancake. Crêpes are usually of two types: crêpes sucrées  or sweet crepes, which are made with white flour and eaten for dessert;  and crêpes salées also known as    savoury galettes,  that are made with buckwheat flour and filled with savory fixings.

In terms of culinary etymology, crêpes belong to the general category of ancient Greek Tiganitai, from Greek tiganos (τίγανος), meaning “frying pan”, which in English is literally translated to Pancakes. The French term, crêpe, derives from the Latin crispa, meaning with “creases”. The name “galette” came from the French word galet (“pebble”) since the first gallettes were made on a large pebble heated in a fire.

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While crêpes are often associated with Brittany, a region in the northwest  of France, they are also enjoyed throughout France, Belgium, Canada, and many parts  of Europe, North Africa, Lebanon, and Argentina.

Preparing crêpes at home is also common, and very easy.  As a home cook, you have the ultimate freedom to use whatever fillings you like. In this way, crêpes salées become a wrapper for all types of leftovers. It should be noted that the addition of an egg almost always improves a savory crêpe.

This is an Americanized recipe where the crepe batter needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before cooking the crepes. As the batter chills, the flour expands and absorbs the liquid, which helps produce tender crepes. You can cook the crepes in advance and fill them just before serving.
Recipe Adapted from
Williams-Sonoma
2019

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3  tablespoons olive oil
3/4  pound white button mushrooms, sliced
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
3/4 pound thick-cut baked ham, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces Camembert cheese, rind removed, diced
4 green onions, white and light green portions, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 cup of the milk. Add the 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and whisk until the batter is smooth. Stir in the canola oil. Refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight before making the crepes.

In a crepe pan over medium heat, melt 1/4 Tbs. of the butter. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into the pan, then quickly tilt and turn the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter evenly to the edges. Cook until the crepe is golden underneath, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crepe and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a warm plate. Repeat to make 12 crepes.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add half of the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon the salt and pepper and sauté until the mushrooms are dark brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Push the mushrooms to the side of the pan, add the remaining mushrooms, and sauté until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are dark brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the ham to the pan and sauté until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the ham to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the remaining 1 cup milk and whisk in the 3 tablespoons of flour. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and cheese and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the ham, mushrooms, green onions and parsley and stir until heated through. Spoon 1/4 cup of the filling in the middle of each crepe and roll the crepe around the filling.

Cook’s Notes:

When making crêpes, you make your batter ahead of time. The night before is ideal, but at least two hours in advance is required.If you are making the crêpesbatter the night before, refrigerate it, and then let it come to room temperature before cooking. You want to give it time to relax into itself, and for the flour to absorb the liquid evenly. If the batter looks a little dry after this resting period, it’s ok to add a bit more liquid.

Another great thing: crepes freeze incredibly well. My suggestion is to make the entire batch at once, even if you will have extra. Simply layer what you won’t eat between parchment paper, move to a sealed plastic bag, and voila! Now you have crêpes for the next time too.

Sources:

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, XIV, 645c; Galen, On the Properties of Foods, I, 3.

Cristina Sciarra (2012). “All About Crêpes“.The Roaming Kitchen.
Accessed October 19, 2019.

Williams-Sonoma (2019) Crepes a la Camembert.  Accessed September 10, 2019

 

 

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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.

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Kentucky Transparent Pie

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Photo Credit: Spruce Eats, 2017.

I am a Southerner with a sweet tooth and Kentucky Transparent Pie fits the bill as a custard pie that is a sweet as it can get as a dessert. Similar to a chess pie, buttermilk pie, vinegar pie or sugar pie, this version of the pie is made with half brown sugar and half granulated sugar. Many of Kentucky’s pies feature bourbon, one of their most famous exports and I am sure that you could slip a dram or two into your pie if you desire. Basically, the simple combination of ingredients makes a filling to die for!

The most well known Kentucky Transparent Pie can be found at Magee’s Bakery in Lexington, Kentucky. Usually around Thanksgiving, there is a rush for the pie found on the bakery shelves. Maysville, Kentucky is about 70 miles northeast of Lexington, and is the home of the original Magee’s Bakery, which opened in the 1930s. Magee’s is known for popularizing the Transparent Pie.

Although the pie is not “transparent” the pie filling is really just a pale shade of yellow.

In terms of culinary history, Transparent Pie goes way back to the frontier days, where families made pies using whatever pantry goods they had on hand. They had no refrigeration in those days, and these pies did not have to be refrigerated. It was determined many years ago, that Transparent Pie originated in Kentucky, and not just anywhere in Kentucky, but in the Maysville Kentucky area. Transparent Pie is a very well-known pie in Maysville area, although it is not well-known to many people, even in the most populous parts of Kentucky.

While the attention-grabbing name is unique — and first started appearing in Kentucky newspaper advertisements and articles in the 1890s — food historian Sarah Baird says the dessert actually closely resembles pies from other regions of the United States. While a pie crust is the ideal vessel for just about anything edible, in Kentucky, nuts and chocolate reign king among pie fillings. Sugary custard pies also have their own special place in Kentucky culinary history. Transparent pie, buttermilk pie, vinegar pie, sugar pie and Jefferson Davis Pie, all made with the basic ingredients, these pies are all comparable in recipe and method, but have a distinctness and regional popularity that is all their own.

Throughout much of the Appalachian Mountains and certainly into the eastern parts of Kentucky, chess pie is a potluck essential. Most food historians believe that the word chess is simply slang for English cheese pie filling. Others say that the word is “chest,” spoken with a Southern drawl, because these sugary pies could be stored in a pie chest rather than being refrigerated. And yet others believe it to be a run-on version of the words “just pie.” Because of its simple ingredients (eggs, sugar and butter) with no added nuts, fruits or candies, it is “jes’ pie” or chess pie.

Jefferson Davis Pie is also popular throughout the South but had a historical presence at Berea College’s well-known Southern inn, the Boone Tavern, throughout the mid-1900s. Richard T. Hougen, manager of the inn, was said to have taught all Boone Tavern pastry chefs how to make Jefferson Davis Pie for hotel guests and visiting dignitaries to enjoy. Wherein chess pie and Jefferson Davis Pie can be found throughout the Deep South, Kentucky claims the transparent pie as their very own.

“When you go into Indiana you have sugar pies,” Baird says. “It’s kind of a kissing-cousin of shoofly pie, which is in Pennsylvania.”

Baird also mentions chess pies, originally found in New England, and Southern buttermilk pies. All of these have the same simple sugary liquid filling that is baked down in a shell.

Baird did some in-depth research on the origin of the transparent pie for her book Kentucky Sweets. She thinks part of its original popularity — and the popularity of similar variations — was due to its accessibility to rural families.

“What everyone in my research kept coming back to over and over is that it’s a pie that doesn’t require something expensive like pecans,” Baird says. “They are kind of farm ingredients, right? You are going to have all those ingredients in the pantry or on the farm. You can go get the eggs, you will have the cream.”

She says the actual origin of the transparent name is still kind of a mystery — but it’s something that is definitely unique to the Maysville area.

McGeesTransparentPie-13_FotorMagee’s Bakery concocted the recipe for this silky, custard pie. The bakery, located on Market Street, has been making these pies for over 60 years. They make regular size pie and portable small tarts. And according to social media, these little transparent tarts are the favorite pie of actor George Clooney, who grew up in Augusta, Kentucky, who always sings the praises of Transparent Pie. Clooney, not only travels to Maysville to purchase Transparent tarts and pies, but has bought them to share at movie sets and television studios with his crew and colleagues ……but then again, they are probably the favorite pie of anyone who grew up in the Maysville area!

Makes 1 Pie, Serves 8

Ingredients:
For the Pastry:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (granulated)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (chilled or frozen, cut into small pieces)
3 to 4 tablespoons of ice water

For the Filling:
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped Cream, for serving

Directions:
In a food processor pulse the flour, salt, and sugar until well blended. Add half of the butter and pulse about 6 times. Add the remaining butter and pulse 5 or 6 times. The mixture should look crumbly with pea-sized pieces here and there. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of ice water over the flour mixture and pulse a few times. Add more ice water, a teaspoon at a time, until the mixture begins to form small clumps.

Toss the mixture out onto a floured surface and press and shape with your hands until the dough holds together. Don’t overwork the dough. Shape it into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 450° F (230° C/Gas 8).

Roll the chilled dough out about 2 inches bigger than the pie plate (upside-down). Fit it into the pie plate and crimp the edge as desired. Line the pie shell (do not prick the dough) with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake the pie shell for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights, return it to the oven, and bake for another 3 minutes. Remove the crust to a baking sheet and reduce the oven temperature to 350 °F (180° C/Gas 4).

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar, flour, melted butter, cream, salt, and vanilla. Blend well. Pour the filling mixture into the crust. Place a pie shield over the crust edge to prevent excessive browning. Transfer the pie to the 350 F oven (baking sheet and all) and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the pie shield and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until set.

Cool on a rack and then chill thoroughly in a refrigerator before serving.

Slice the chilled pie and serve it, topped with freshly whipped cream.

Cook’s Note:
If you choose to use a pre-made frozen crust or refrigerated pastry, follow the instructions for partially baking the pie shell. Even though you can bake the pie with an unbaked crust, a par-baked crust is recommended to avoid a soggy bottom.