Thursday, April 18, 2013

Poulet Basquaise

This is - hands down - one of the best chicken dishes that I have made!!! And (of course) I didn't get a picture of it while I was cooking since I was entertaining and chatting away. Don't worry...just trust me. You want to make it and you want to eat it, so run to the grocery store and get all the ingredients today!

This recipe comes from the Basque region in Southern France. I had the opportunity to travel through the south of France in the early 2000s and it was a pleasure to eat such great food, such as this.

Poulet Basquaise
From Food & Wine Magazine - Anthony Bourdain

- 1 whole chicken, about 4 lb, cut into 8 pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of cayenne pepper or piment d’Espel├Ętte
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1 TBS butter
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into fine julienne
- 2 green bell peppers, cut into fine julienne
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 16 ounces canned Italian plum tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cube chicken bouillon or 1/2 cup light chicken stock or broth 
- 3 sprigs of flat parsley, finely chopped (I forgot to add this and it tasted fine)
- Rice pilaf as a side dish

NOTE: I used two 14.5 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes with garlic. I like a lot of tomatoes and garlic; it added great flavor , but I do think two cans was way to much. I couldn't find a 16oz can of tomatoes anywhere, so next time I will use one can only.

NOTE 2: Bourdain says this is one dish that can handle a bouillon cube.

Season the chicken all over with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Heat the large pot over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the butter. When the butter has foamed and subsided, add the chicken, skin side down, and brown on that side only. Remove the chicken and set aside on the plate.

Add the peppers and onion to the pot and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the wine, scraping, scraping—as always—to get the good stuff up. Cook until the wine is reduced by half, then add the water and the bouillon. Return the chicken to the pot, making sure to add all the juice on the plate.

Cover the pot and cook on low heat for about 25 minutes. Remove the chicken to the platter. Crank up the heat to high and reduce the sauce for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with rice pilaf.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

I was fortunate and so happy to spend Easter with my family in Knoxville, TN. I spent several days with my mom and her hubby Joel, my sisters Tarin and Ciony and their significant others, John and Cody, my nephew Cameron, my niece Cimone, and my best friend Amy, her hubby Drew, and their seven month old, Rachel. It was such a great visit and I wish I could travel to Knoxville to visit with family more, although I suppose I appreciate my visits so much more because I don't make trips a lot.

I am feeling very blessed for everything in my life. I have a great family, an amazing man in my life who has two of the greatest kids, and my great friends. I really am blessed to have some of the greatest friends and even though we don't talk all the time, whenever we get together, we just pick up the conversation. This Easter was extra special because my niece Cimone was baptized and I am honored to serve as her Godmother, a job that I take very seriously!

I had a great time cooking Easter dinner with my mom. We shared many laughs over making Paula Deen's Apple Stuffed Pork Loin Roast. I highly recommend this dish, it was fantastic. We ended up having a lot of leftover stuffing as we were originally going to make two of these, but determined one was enough for our family. Mom and I decided to experiment and turn the leftover stuffing into a side dish. It was not a good experiment! Just enjoy this stuffing in the pork :)

My family (from l to r): Brother in law John, Nephew Cameron, Sisters Tarin and Ciony, Ciony's boyfriend Cody,
Niece Cimone, me, Mom and mom's hubby Joel

Below are some photos from our roast:
Apple Stuffing

Pork Loin "rolled out" and pounded

Completed Roast was so tasty!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lemon Rosemary Scones

Life as a scone must be boring; they rarely have a ton of flavor and are incredibly dry. As someone who doesn't like dunking my bread or breakfast pastries into hot tea, I have never been a fan of scones. It is odd to me that a scone is considered a pastry because they are so dull and lifeless! Scones have always been a mystery to this food lover!

In March I traveled to Washington, DC for a girl's weekend and Mary was excited to share with me that she made scones for breakfast. Since I hadn't eaten a scone in nearly three years, I decided it was time to try this breakfast pastry once again. The last time I ate a scone was sitting in front of Buckingham Palace in London, enjoying formal afternoon tea with my good friend Christine.

I awoke the next morning and walked back and forth in the kitchen, pondering which scone to try. I decided to go for the Lemon Rosemary Scone, which Mary said was a recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I love Ree Drummond and many of her recipes. She cooks for a crowd, which I rarely do, but she uses many fresh ingredients and herbs and often puts a new spin on an old classic. How could I not try a Pioneer Woman scone?

I took one bite and my eyes rolled into the back of my head. Oh my goodness, this was - hands down - the best scone that I had ever tasted! Rich lemon flavor with the hint of rosemary. The scones were moist, unlike the dry boring scones I'd avoided for years, and it was a true pastry in my book since it was topped with a glaze. The recipe calls for the perfect balance of lemon and rosemary. If you cook with rosemary, you know that  your dish can quickly be overcome with this flavor. If you're not a scone lover, I urge you to make this recipe!

Click here to check out this recipe and enjoy your own morning of bliss!

No pictures of the Lemon Rosemary Scone, but here is a photo
from the formal afternoon tea in London in 2010 with Christine.