Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken, with Artichokes, Olives and Capers

Surely I am not the only one out there who is constantly seeking new recipe ideas for chicken. Well, my daughter's blog post, Iberian ham et al.,at julia chews the fat, became the inspiration for my Mediterranean influenced chicken recipe. Swept away with her ever-eloquent prose and stunning foodie photos of her recent trip to Barcelona, Spain, I happily resolved my chicken recipe conundrum.  
My braised chicken with white wine, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, capers and olives, might just be the ticket to transport you to the sunny coast of the Mediterranean, without leaving the comfort of your home.  Served with homemade focaccia to sop up all those rich juices and a small salad, this one pot meal is not only healthy but also rich in flavour. 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 slices of bacon cut into 1/2" pieces
1 chicken about 2 1/2 lbs, cut into about 10 pieces
1 cup flour
1 large onion diced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/4 chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 heaping tablespoon capers, chopped
24  pitted kalamata olives ( about 1/4 cup).
sprig of  fresh thyme
1/2 cup of white wine
1 1//2 cups chicken broth
1  14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained..

Note: For easy removal of the olive pits, simply smash the olive with a knife and remove the pit.

Pour the oil in a cast iron enamel Dutch oven. Add the bacon. Cook on medium heat. Transfer to a plate, reserving the grease to brown the chicken.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, shake off any excess flour.

On medium high heat, place the chicken pieces fat side down in the hot oil. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces on all sides.

Transfer the browned chicken pieces to a plate. Set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and garlic to the pot, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan.Cook for about 3 minutes minutes until translucent and golden.

De-glaze with the white wine and continue cooking until the wine is reduced.
Return the bacon to the pot.
Stir in the the capers, sun dried tomatoes,olives, and sprig of thyme. Continue cooking for a minute or two.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.
Nestle the the chicken pieces in  the liquid , finishing off with the artichoke hearts.
Cover and cook in a 350º F oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the cover and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes to reduce the juices and brown the exposed chicken  pieces.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crispy Panko and Herb Crusted Salmon

Much like regular batter used in deep frying, my panko breadcrumb recipe with herb, tomato, leek, and sweet red pepper, seals in all the moisture; plus gives you a crispy coating that we all love but without all the added calories. 
I like to serve the baked salmon with what else...a healthy flavourful combination of sweet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes, roasted in the oven. Simply drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, add your favourite fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. 

Sweet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes with garlic and fresh thyme

For other recipe suggestions, you might want to click onto my panko-crusted-cod-served-with-spanish paprika potatoes and red cabbage cole slaw


2 pound salmon fillet

1/2 leek finely chopped (white part of the leek)
1/2 red pepper diced
6 cherry tomatoes chopped
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup Italian parsley finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


In a skillet heat 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the chopped onions and leeks.

Saute until translucent about 4 minutes. 
Add the chopped red peppers and tomatoes and continue cooking until soft. Set aside and allow to cool before adding to the panko breadcrumb mixture.

Using a food processor, finely chop the parsley, garlic clove, and the lemon zest.

Add the panko breadcrumbs,salt and pepper, pulse to blend.

Transfer to a bowl and toss in the the onion, leek, tomato and red pepper mixture, which has been cooled. Blend in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin oil, enough to coat the bread mixture.

Place the salmon flat side down on a cookie sheet, which has been lined with parchment paper. 
Spread the breadcrumb mixture on top of the fish to cover.

Bake in a preheated 375ºF for 25- 35 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon fillet.

 Serves 6

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Deep Dark Chocolate Rhubarb and Strawberry Cake

Not wanting to make another crisp with the rhubarb given to us by friends, I decided to come up with an original recipe. I am happy to report that my deep dark chocolate rhubarb and strawberry cake got the seal of approval from my favourite recipe tester on the eighth floor. Therefore, if I may, I would like to share the recipe with you. This cake is definitely decadent without being too rich. The batter has no butter in it but has loads of chocolaty goodness and packed with fresh rhubarb and strawberries. Every bite has a lovely surprise, with the crunchiness from the pecans to the luscious Belgian chocolate that melts in you mouth.
By dividing the batter between my fancy muffin tin and a bundt pan, I ended up with one large cake and six mini cakes, which are fun treats to give to friends. 
Washed rhubarb stalks; the leaves are toxic and thereby inedible
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark Belgian chocolate pieces
1 cup toasted pecan coarsely chopped
3 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2" pieces
2 cups strawberries cut into 1 1/2" pieces
3 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla 
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar


Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF

1..Start by preparing your ingredients and setting them aside in small bowls...

Cut the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces

Cut the chocolate into pieces as shown

Toast the pecans in a 350º F oven for about 7 minutes and chop into pieces

Wash and cut the strawberries into 1/2 inch pieces

Grease and flour the pan or pans to be used. For easy removal, (the bottom of my bundt cake stuck and broke slightly upon removal).... I suggest using a  9" to 10" spring form pan, lining the bottom with  parchment paper; then grease and flour as you would normally do.

2..Sift your dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl
3...Beat the eggs, vanilla, and sugar in a separate bowl

4...Add the chocolate pieces, pecan nuts and fruit to the dry ingredients 

5...Pour the wet ingredients, the egg and sugar mixture into the dry ingredients and with a wooden spoon mix to combine.

Do not over beat the batter but do ensure that the dry and wet ingredients are well combined. The batter will be thick and lumpy with the fruit and nuts. Do not worry it is quite a forgiving batter.

Distribute the batter into prepared baking pan or pans  

Bake for 40 minutes. If using smaller muffin tin pans you will need less time. Insert a wooden skewer in the center;the cake is done if it comes out clean.  Do not mistake the melted chocolate pieces for uncooked batter when checking for doneness.

Allow to cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar