The Italian Throwdown

I have not had an excuse to have a really big Italian meal in a couple of years. So when the chance came up I jumped at the chance. I have been playing with a chicken dish in my head for a couple of months so I thought that this was the perfect chance to try it out.

The meal started with a trifecta of buschette. Tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella, White bean with Ricotta Salata, and finally Sauted Pepper medley with sweet Gorgonzola and basil oil. The tomato and basil was some what of a disappointment, but I loved the other two.

Grilled Bruschetta with Grilled Red and Yellow Peppers, Gorgonzola and Basil Oil
Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay, 2007

Grilled Bruschetta with Grilled Red and Yellow Peppers, Gorgonzola and Basil OilBruschetta with White Beans, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil

Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello

Chef’s Note: The flavor from cooked dried beans is delicious, but you can also use canned white beans here if you want to make this recipe and you don’t have time to cook the beans from scratch. Substitute 1 (15-ounce) can of white cannelloni beans, drained, with a bit of the bean liquid reserved.
For the beans:
3/4 cup cannelloni beans
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt For the bruschetta and topping:
1 small baguette, sliced into thick pieces
1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic, plus 1 garlic clove, peeled, for coating bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
8 to 10 basil leaves
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried drained and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Lemon juice
Salt and fresh black pepper
2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, grated large

Heartless Chicken

I know it is a weird name, but I needed to cook Sunday dinner and my heart just was not into it at all. This however was the best, most original thing I have ever made.

4 chicken breasts
2 tps dry basil (1 tablespoon of fresh would have been better, but I didn’t have that)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 tbls Honey-Dijon mustard.
1 Cup chicken broth (low-sodium)
1/2 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Garlic salt (I used the weirdo’s) and Pepper

Brown chicken breasts in olive oil and butter add salt and pepper to make them eatable. Wipe oil from pan, leave as much of the fond (fancy French term for brown bits stuck to pan) as possible. Add broth and use something to scrape the fond from the pan. Add everything else stir together add chicken to the pan and add cheese. I put it under the broiler to melt the cheese, but make sure your pan can do this before you do it. This would go very well with angel hair pasta.

Let’s Face It I’m A Weirdo.

Who makes their own garlic salt?? Well it appears that I do. And if you want too here is how.

1 tlbs minced garlic
2 cups kosher salt (that is the real reason to do this kosher salt tastes much better).

Using a mortal and pestal grind garlic to a paste, it helps to add a little salt to the mix as you grind. In a clean bowl add paste to the rest of the salt and using fork stir to mix well. Place mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 200 until the salt is dry. Store in an airtight container

Sara’s Christmas Cookies

1 Cup Butter flavored shorting
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup White Sugar
2 Lg Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Cups White All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Salt

Chocolate chips
3-4 crushed candy canes

Mix Wet ingredients well and then incorporate dry into mix. Finally add “other” ingredients. Using a 1 tbls scoop place on cookie sheet. Cook on the lower rack of a 350 oven until done.

I’m MEEELTING chili AKA Colon Blow Chili

Never ask me to enter a chili contest. I whipped up some chili that will melt you from the inside out.

2 cans black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can red or kidney beans
1 cans diced tomatoes
1 bottle of El Pinto Green Chile Salsa
1 small can tomato paste
4 green pepper (red bell pepper makes it even better) diced
3 cups diced onions
2 tbls minced fresh garlic
1 lb meat (this time I used ground bison, thanks Rob)
1 lb different meat (This time I used smoked brisket cubed)
1 cup of an Unholy Trinity Pepper Puree (recipe follows)
2-3 tbls oregano
1 tbls bay leaves
2 tbls cumin seeds
1/3 cup of brown sugar
Salt to taste

Sweat peppers, onions, and garlic till soft. Brown meat and then add beans, tomatoes, and paste. Add oregano and bay leaves. Salt to your taste. Simmer for 2-3 hours and add the pepper puree until the heat level is where you want it.

Unholy Trinity Pepper Puree
1 handful dried Serrano peppers
1 handful dried habenro peppers
4 Ancho peppers
1 1/2 beef broth.

Throw everything in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer cover, remove from the heat and let sit for 1 hour. Blend until smooth.

Habenero Ice Cream

I have not tried this yet, but I can’t wait too.

2 pints half and half
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl butter
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2  cups blanched sliced almonds
1/4  cup chopped Habanera chilies ~ (1/4 to 1/2)
1 Tbl vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbl oil

Lightly toast nuts in a skillet or oven and set aside. In a small skillet, heat the oil and sauté chopped chilies and set aside. In a double boiler, heat the half and half adding 3/4 cup of sugar and stirring until sugar is dissolved. Don’t let the mixture boil. Add egg yolks and continue stirring until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon or tines of a whisk. Add extracts, stir until blended then remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the remaining sugar, stirring until sugar begins to bubble. Add the nuts and chiles and stir until the nuts and chilies are well coated. Remove from heat and let cool. Combine the nuts and chilies with the half and half mixture, stir and let cool in fridge. After the mixture is cool, get out your ice cream freezer, dump the mixture in and proceed according to the directions for your unit.

Southwest Egg Rolls

This is about the only thing that I crave from Chili’s. So I made my own recipe.
3 grilled chicken breast diced
2 jalapeños seeded and finely diced
½ onion finely diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 package of frozen spinach
1 can black beans rinse and well drained.
1 lb shredded jack cheese (pepper jack if you like)
6 cloves of minced garlic
Juice of two limes
Salt and pepper to taste.
40 egg roll wrappers (available in most non-Fillmore grocery stores).

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Using about ¼ cup of filling per wrapper. Keep every thing covered with a damp paper towel when not in use to help keep your sanity. Don’t worry after the first couple of wraps you will get the hang of it. Fry in 375 degree oil and dip in ranch dressing laced with the hot sauce of your choice.

Habby Honey Chicken

2 Tbls Honey
1 Tbls Habby Vinegar
1 tsp dill weed
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp yellow mustard
Chicken breast

Mix everything, except the chicken.
Grill chicken, brush glaze on at the last minute. Eat, enjoy, and wait until the end of the meal to tell everyone that it has habenero. The monkey even liked it, until told that it had the Habby vinager in it.

Habby Vinegar

This is a toughy:

One bottle of white wine vinegar. I choose a bottle that I liked.
3-4 Habanero peppers

Bring the vinegar to a boil put peppers into the bottle. Pour the vinegar back into the bottle. Let sit and age. Has a real good heat without the harsh vinegar bite.