Chicken in Poblano Cream

21 03 2008

This recipe comes to us from the Dallas Daily News, with a few tweaks from the gang at the FinerKitchens.com Recipe Swap. It was getting such fabulous raves that I had to try it. The picture is taquitos made from the left-overs.  No…that green stuff is NOT guacamole!  It’s the poblano cream sauce, which you won’t be able to get enough of.

Chicken in Poblano Cream

3 or 4 poblanos, roasted, seeded & chopped
1/2 cup milk
4 T. Butter, divided use
2 T. flour
1 clove or more minced garlic
1 T. minced cilantro.
1 cup Mexican Crema
Salt to taste
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup shredded manchego, jack or mozarella (I’m using queso quesadilla)

Puree chiles with milk in blender
Make roux with 2 T. of butter & flour, cook until slightly brown
Stir in chile puree and cook until slightly thickened
Turn down heat and add crema, heat until it GENTLY simmers
Salt to taste.
Meanwhile, brown chicken in large skillet with 2 t. butter, 4 minutes to a side on medium high heat
Put in buttered baking dish, top with sauce and shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 for 20 – 30 minutes until chicken is done.

Like I said, this is lick-the-platter-clean good! The sauce has a unique flavor that’s just downright yummy. It’s a brilliant green in color, but don’t be put off by that. Keep going. Serve it with a rice or something that will hang on to that fabulous sauce.

My chicken breast halves proved to be pretty big, 4 would have filled a 9×13 inch pan. I was using a smaller flat casserole dish (7×10 inches), so I only used 3 pieces of chicken and 2/3 of the sauce – the rest is in the refrigerator waiting for me to figure out what else it can be used on. I probably cooked my chicken 4 minutes per side too…like I said, the breast halves were pretty big. I served the chicken alongside Arroz Gualdo which is basic yellow Mexican rice.

Make this for friends…it’s a solid, don’t worry, “tried and true” recipe. Make it and reap the adoration in. You can’t possibly miss!





Leftovers *Ü*

18 03 2008

This little concoction is leftover stove-smoked salmon set onto your basic Chinese Chicken Salad, without the chicken. It was lunch time, and I knew we had a lot of odds and ends in the fridge, so….

We’ve got shredded iceberg lettuce and white cabbage, spring greens directly from the garden, freshly picked green onion, cilantro, our toasted coriander seasoning and toasted ramen noodles, dressed with commercial dressing, garnished with wedges of tomato, avocado and sliced hard-cooked egg.

The recipe for the salmon was one I found on-line. I have a smoker-pan and use it regularly these days!

CURED, PAN-SMOKED SALMON
From Scott Paul Wines

Quite simply, this is the very best salmon preparation we’ve ever had – anywhere. This is one of those rare recipes that is incredibly simple yet yields results so impressive that you’ll want to serve it to guests. And they will ask for the recipe.

You’ll start by fashioning a cast iron skillet into a smoker. To do that, line a 10 inch skillet with foil, tearing a 1 ½” hole in the center. This is where you’ll place the wood chips (mesquite, alder, etc. Incidentally, grapevines work well). You’ll need a round wire cake rack with 1″ feet. If you don’t have one with feet, improvise by balling up 4 small pieces of tin foil and placing them underneath the outer edges of the rack so the rack is balanced. Lastly, line your skillet lid with foil. That’s it. You’ve done the hard part. Now, on with the recipe.

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
1 ¼ pound center-cut salmon fillet, with skin, in 1 piece
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ tablespoon wood chips

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper and sugar. Place the fish on a platter and rub the seasoning mix all over. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Prepare your skillet as described above (don’t put the chips or cake rack in yet) and place over high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and lightly brush both sides with oil. Add wood chips to the center of the skillet and then position the cake rack on top. When the chips begin to smoke, place the fish on the rack, skin side down and cover tightly with the foil-lined lid. Reduce heat to moderately low and
smoke the salmon for about 10 minutes or until a fork inserted into the
fillet meets with no resistance. Serve hot or chilled, but hot is our
preference.

Serves 4

This really is a fabulous recipe for salmon. I detest salmon, but I’ve been happy to eat salmon cooked like this 3 different times inside of 1-1/2 weeks. I would normally eat that much salmon in 1-1/2 years! I haven’t got the cooking temp and time to coordinate yet, so I finish the fish in the broiler. I cook it until it just starts to separate when prodded. I’d come closer to eating salmon raw as sushi than cooked, so you may want to cook yours a wee bit longer. We really liked it “medium rare.” This particular piece was left from dinner a few nights ago. I wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil and the smoky flavor intensified and worked all the way through the salmon. I’d use this for hors d’oeuvres because it’s so well flavored and moist. Now….what’s for dinner??





Chinese Soup & Salad Night

18 03 2008

Last night I decided I wanted to use some our new swiss chard in egg drop soup, and some of our other goodies in a Chinese Chicken Salad. I just neglected to go to the store, and had to wing it with the items I had on hand.

Shredded cornish game hen (didn’t come out right, saved for this salad)
Shredded cabbage
Garden picked green onions
toasted coriander seed (ground with a mortar & pestle)
toasted sesame seed
toasted almonds
toasted ramen noodles
Cheater’s dressing (packaged…but good!)

Soup ~
2 cans chicken broth
1 green onion cut into 2 inch lengths
2 small ginger “coins”
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 leaves chard, stems removed and leaves shredded
1 egg beaten
1 bundle bean thread noodles (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, cut into short lengths)

Simmer the broth with the garlic, onion and ginger for 15 minutes. Remove vegetation.
Bring to a boil; add bean threads. Cook 2 min.
Add shredded chard, turn off heat, and stir in egg.
Serves 2 handsomely, or 4 reasonably.

The toasted coriander was fabulous on the salad. That flavor got through all of the salad, and gave it a wonderful aroma.
Hubster said this would be a great once-a-week meal. It’s quick…and awful darn tasty! AND…the puppy loved the leftover salad (we picked out the onions for her).





Pi Day?

16 03 2008

Note to self…next year, let’s observe Pi Day! Kitchen Parade did a Pi Day event, and I missed it. Darn it! And I made a pie and the whole 9 yards, I just didn’t know about the event at the time. Oh well… I made a Lemon Meringue pie from a 1908 recipe from Rumsford…who, once upon a time, made baking powder. How did they get involved with the pie you ask? They recommended adding a bit of baking powder to the egg whites for the meringue. There was no cornstarch in the pie either. The thickening agents were the eggs and some flour. The pie had a good consistency, but being made with Meyer lemons, it was a little missing in lemon flavor to me. Next time I should use 1-1/3 cups water and 1/2 cup lemon juice and see if that’s enough difference. Regardless…next year, let’s observe Pi Day!





Back in Mt. Shasta city…

11 03 2008

Okay…I guess I’m just picky. Picky-picky-picky. Having said that, I’ll relate our most recent disappointments dining in the land of Majestic Mt. Shasta. Things haven’t gotten any better.

In November, we gave Lai Lai’s a shot… It’s a little Chinese restaurant that came recommended. The food was supposed to be good and fresh. Fresh, yes. Good, not necessarily. However, compared to Chen & Lee’s, it’s fabulous. Chen & Lee’s was in the neighborhood of our “hotel” (when did they start referring to “motels” as hotels??), and it smelled really good, so we decided to have dinner. Chen & Lee’s was a lot of things, but good wasn’t one of them. The won ton soup was almost good. The broth was a good start, though it was a faint green shade that was mildly disconcerting, at least it had a decent flavor. It was probably the best of all the food we had. If it hadn’t been for the dry, previously frozen peas and carrots, it wouldn’t have been too bad. Frozen peas and carrots we’d find in just about everything… We selected their Gourmet dinner for two…won ton soup, egg roll, fried prawns, BBQ pork, and fried chicken wings with the main dishes being some kind of vegetable dish and a chicken dish with steamed rice. I also ordered house fried rice. I was saving the steamed rice for Jasmine…our fur-baby. The appetizer part was awful. Hubster took one bite of the BBQ pork, and I knew I didn’t need to even taste it. The look on his face was more than enough to steer me clear. Of course, one look at my face as I bit into the prawn did the same for him. Oh awful purveyors of frozen foods they try to pawn off as fresh! Blech. The steamed rice arrived next, followed by a vegetable dish that was utterly taste-free. There were a few fresh snow peas mixed in with some previously frozen broccoli, those ubiquitous peas and carrots, and canned baby corn sauced with something the same shade of green as the soup, but with none of the flavor, and mixed with so much cornstarch it could have been used as glue. Blech!!! The chicken entree was almost ok, but not quite. The fried rice was gummy and gray…and it had the best flavor of anything. Go figure. Hey…I was hungry. But…I wasn’t taking any of that (save the steamed rice) for Jas…I didn’t want her to get sick. Even the fortune cookies were stale. The servers must’ve thought I was off my rocker…the only food we took with us was the steamed rice! Yeah, compared to Chen & Lee’s, Lai Lai’s is good. Chen & Lee’s – 1 Whisk; Lai Lai’s 2-1/2 Whisks.

The Black Bear Diner was closed…remodeling? It looked like it could be, there were workers there, but it wasn’t open. We opted to try The Dugout for breakfast. A perfectly serviceable breakfast it was too. Bacon and eggs is hard…no, it’s not…it’s easy to foul up. This was serviceable. Not fancy, not anything to write home about, just edible. Their lunch and sports bar menu however looked worthy of a stop sometime. The menu looks like standard Sports Bar fare, but it’s got variety and imagination. Breakfast at The Dugout, 2 Whisks…lunch or dinner, to be determined another trip.

We also had dinner at an American-Mexican restaurant north of town. I’ll have to get the name again. It was reasonably good…at least for Americanized Mexican. I had a fajita shrimp tostada (I wanted a shrimp fajita salad – this was as close as I could get), and Hubster had Carne Asada. Amazingly, it was done very nicely…actually medium rare, with nice cross-hatching which is almost impossible to achieve. Bravo to the chef! Everything had a decent flavor, but was a little lack-luster. We’ll go 2-3/4 whisks for this one.

Once again, our dining experiences weren’t outstanding. I think it must be time to go back to the Billy Goat’s Tavern…or whatever it is at the corner of Mt. Shasta Blvd. and Chestnut. We had a really good burger there…and the fries were fabulous. What was that place….