Archive for category Comfort Food
Meal #1 Slow Cooked Pot Roast When I
bought the beef for my Beouf
Bourguignon, I got it as part of a buy one, get one free
deal. Last Monday, I pulled out the “free” chuck shoulder
roast and started it defrosting in the refrigerator. I was
very proud that I thought to plan ahead for a meal later in the
week. By Wednesday night, it had thoroughly defrosted, so
after cleaning up dinner and getting the kids to bed, I pulled out
my knife, cutting board, and a big pot and got to work. Read the rest of this entry »
Beouf Bourguignon. It seemed like a right of passage. First mentioned in the early 20th century by Auguste Escoffier, this dish has evolved over the years, becoming more flavorful with age. It’s the star dish in Julie and Julia, which suddenly increased its popularity as well as reminded us all why we fell in love with Julia Child. For me, it was a chance to say good bye to a crappy year and ring in the new year with successfully pulling off a complicated dish and treating my friends and family to a lovely dinner. Read the rest of this entry »
I really enjoy Italian food. You probably have guessed that by now considering the number of Italian dishes I have discussed on my blog. All week long, I have had a yearning for some tasty Italian without too much fuss. I wanted it to consist of thin chicken breasts, breaded and sautéed. I wanted to include prosciutto. I also wanted to make some pasta and give my first try at a homemade alfredo sauce. Tonight’s tasty dinner was the result of my wish list and a lot of luck.
Earlier today, I used the Epicurious app on my iPhone to look up Fettucine Alfredo. It turns out the ingredients are literally butter, parmesan cheese, pasta water, and a half cup of heavy cream. So, obviously it’s not a pasta sauce for every day eating and my arteries are a little more clogged tonight, but come on, that’s a simple ingredient list!
I allowed my nearly two year old to help me bread the very thin sliced chicken breasts I had picked up at the grocery store earlier this week. It was a fun project for him and though it was quite a mess when we were through, the chicken was ready for my large pan with swirls of hot olive oil and crushed garlic. To bread the chicken, I dipped each piece in flour, then egg, and finally a coating of Italian flavored panko bread crumbs.
I brought a saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil and added the “sea shells” pasta I had on hand. I don’t care too much about pasta shapes, but I do prefer smaller noodles to long ones, especially when serving my son. The pasta cooked for 11 minutes. Meanwhile I cut up 4 pieces of prosciutto from the grocery deli. I let them saute in the pan with the olive oil and garlic for a few minutes. Then I pushed them to the sides of the pan and added the chicken. It is a big pan, probably 14″ in diameter and 2″ deep. I added salt and pepper to the chicken as I let it cook.
I turned on the oven to 325 and slid in a ceramic serving bowl that had 5 tbsps of butter cut into pieces. When the pasta finished, I pulled out 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Then I drained the pasta. By this time, I had checked on the chicken and the butter had melted in my serving bowl. I pulled it out of the oven and added the hot, drained pasta to the bowl. Then I added the 1/2 cup of cream and 6oz of parmesan cheese, already shredded. I tossed for a bit, then added the reserved pasta water. Some of it globbed on the spoon, but most of it was a beautiful sauce. I added salt and pepper and tossed until the pasta was completely covered.
The chicken finished cooking. It was very crispy and the juices were running clear. I pulled each piece out with tongs and added the prosciutto right on top for serving.
Dinner was delicious, albeit a little off. I totally forgot to make the light tossed salad I had planned to go with it. Not a disaster, but it would have completed the meal. I will definitely make this again. Next time, I plan to add some basil to the pasta for a little more flavor!
Some people might think I started this blog because I saw Julie and Julia. Let me assure you, that is not the case. In fact, I hadn’t seen the movie or knew the gist of the story until just two weeks ago when I watched it on dvd.
Still, considering my blog attempt and my experiments in the kitchen, it made sense for family members to get me the Julie and Julia movie along with Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook. After reading through the cookbook, I found it daunting at best. The recipes are complex. There are chapters that include things I have never heard of, even in English! I literally have to study the dictionary and technique sections before I begin. I do love the way Julia and her partners listed instructions next to the specified ingredients. However, I am still overwhelmed by the sheer number of instructions.
Tonight, I finally got up the nerve to try a recipe. It was a sautéed chicken in butter, egg, and herb sauce. I read through the ingredient list two days ago and noted I would need just a few to complete the dish. I needed the chicken, the fennel, and lemons for lemon juice. I had never bought or worked with fennel before. I bought fennel seed, but soon discovered I needed ground fennel. So, I pulled out my mortar and pestle. This was the first time I had really ever attempted to grind any herb. It was awesome! The licorice aroma released as I ground the seeds, clearing my senses. It felt earthy and satisfying to grind seeds into such a fine powder.
It took me well over an hour to make the chicken. Luckily I had put the potatoes in the oven before I started and they roasted while I worked so feverently over the range. Remember the timing issue in my Kitchen Disasters post? Not tonight!
I am proud to say I only made a few mistakes. I forgot to add the garlic with the herbs, don’t think I skimmed out the sauce correctly, and managed to overcook the meat a tad. The herb and butter flavor was fabulous, but tonight taught me that I have a long way to go before I become a really good cook. Still, I will push forward, opening my mind to new techniques, focus on the details, and not give up or avoid a recipe just because it’s difficult. I don’t claim to be a celebrity chef, but I am the Suburban Cook, ready to take on the kitchen then tell you all about it!