Archive | May, 2012

Crispy Chicken

29 May

Boneless skinless chicken breast encrusted with a homemade cracker coating.

  • depending on the size, 2 or 3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 20 to 25 crackers, finely crushed. I used Christie’s Toppable Crackers. I find the easiest way is to place all the crackers in a ziploc bag and then using a meat mallet pound them until finely crushed.
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 eggs beaten

Crushed crackers.

Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken breasts to make them more thin.  This will reduce the cooking which also reduces the likelihood that the chicken will dry out in the even. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken in the egg and then place into the bag of crushed crackers.  Repeat (this is optional but I like to double coat the chicken). Place the chicken on a lined baking sheet. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 400ºC for approximately 30 minutes. Flip the chicken halfway through. Serve with rice, pasta, potatoes, grilled vegetables or salad, or make into a chicken burger.

Chicken right before being placed in the oven.

Chicken after being in the oven for 15 minutes. Ready to be flipped and put back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

Crispy chicken after a total of 30 minutes in the oven. It’s done!

La Patisserie

22 May

Cakes from La Patisserie.

I recently attended a tea and cake social with all of the cakes made at La Patisserie.  The styles of the cakes were:

  • Deep Dish Pecan
  • Day and Night Truffle
  • Carrot
  • Cold Set Honey Cheesecake (gluten free)
  • Raspberry Mousse
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream
  • Lemon Mousse

Deep dish pecan (left), day and night truffle (right).

Carrot cake.

Cold set honey cheesecake (gluten free).

Raspberry mousse.

Chocolate hazelnut buttercream.

Lemon mousse.

My favourite was the pecan torte. The nuttiness of the pecan and crumbliness of the crust was an ideal combination. All the cakes  had its own unique charm and were quite special and beautiful.

Crispy Tortilla Chips

15 May

Crispy tortilla chips.

  • one tortilla, cut the tortillas into eight wedges.
  • extra virgin olive oil

In a pan on high heat, add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot add in the tortilla wedges. (Do not overcrowd the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, two batches may be required.)  It will only take a minute or two for the tortillas to brown and crisp, flip then over (using a tong is easiest) and brown for another minute. Be watchful as the tortillas burn easily.  Reduce the heat if needed.

Serve immediately. The tortilla chips make ideal accompaniments to salad (they act like croutons) or as chips for dipping into salsa or guacamole.

Creamy Chardonnay Sauce with Mushrooms, Bacon and Brie

8 May

Bowtie pasta in a creamy Chardonnay sauce with bacon, mushrooms and topped with slices of brie cheese.

  • 150g bowtie pasta, cook as directed
  • about 10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 slices  bacon, trim fat, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup chardonnay 
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup skim milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 2 to 3 tbsps flour
  • 2 sprigs of green onion, diced (this is mostly for colour)
  • 8 thin slices of brie or camembert

Bacon and onion sauteing.

In a large pot, add in the bacon. Once some of the fat had been rendered, add in the onions. (Remember to trim the bacon before cooking it. You only want a little bit of fat.)  If the bacon sticks to the bottom of the pot, add a few tablespoons of the chardonnay. Cook until the onions are soft, then add in the mushrooms. Mix well and add in the salt, pepper and paprika. Combine well and then add in the remaining chardonnay. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mushrooms are soft (about 5 to 7 minutes).

Mushrooms, bacon and onions sauteing.

Mushrooms, bacon and onions after sauteing for about 5 minutes.

Creamy chardonnay sauce with bacon and mushrooms.

On a medium low heat, gradually add in the flour (start with 2 tbsps and add more if needed) and mix. The sauce should thicken momentarily.  If the sauce appears watery, add in a little bit more flour. Once the sauce is to an ideal consistency, add in the milk (start with 1/2 cup and add more if the sauce appears too thick) and green onions.  When the sauce begins to bubble, add in the pasta. Thoroughly combine so that each pasta is coated with the sauce.  Dish the pasta onto a serving dish and place a few slices of the brie onto the pasta. By the time you walk from the kitchen to the dinner table, the brie should be slightly melted.

Eat immediately. Serves two. Pair this dish with the same chardonnay used to make the sauce, if so desired.

This recipe was inspired by one I ate at Marbles which had cheese tortellini in a chardonnay cream sauce with mushrooms and garnished with grilled asparagus and slices of camembert. This was such a perfect combination that I had to try a home made version. I added the bacon on impulse but feel free to omit and make it vegetarian friendly. (Sorry there is no picture  of Marbles’ version because I forgot my camera.)

Udon Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

1 May

Udon noodles with chicken, carrots, green peppers, shitake mushrooms and onions.

  • 3 packs (200g each) of fresh udon noodles, boil the noodles so they are loose; thoroughly drain
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces (Make it vegetarian by substituting the chicken with some firm tofu or scrambled eggs.)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 3 sprigs of green onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in 2 cups of water for 3 to 5 hours
  • 2 tbsps honey
  • 3 to 4 tbsps soy sauce
  • juice of lemon
  • 2 tbsps oil (e.g vegetable oil or canola oil, extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • sea salt and pepper

Feel free to use different types of vegetables such as baby corn, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cremini mushrooms, shredded cabbage, zucchini, bean sprouts, etc.

Udon noodles, carrot, green onions, lemon, onion and green pepper.

Five dried shitake mushrooms soaking in water for 3 hours.

In a bowl, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Mix in the cornstarch and a couple tablespoons of water. Combine well. Also, slice the mushrooms and save the water from which the mushrooms were soaking in.

Stir fried chicken, green peppers, carrots, mushrooms and onions.

Heat a wok on high. Add in the garlic, onion and chicken.  Add a couple tablespoons of the mushroom water. Once the chicken is almost cooked, add in the carrots, mushrooms and honey. Sprinkle the contents in the wok with a tiny bit of salt and pepper. Add another couple of tablespoons of the mushroom water.  Cook until the carrots become slightly soft, then add in the green peppers and green onions. Add in half the amount of lemon juice. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Udon noodles with chicken and vegetables.

Then add in the udon noodles and soy sauce.  Mix well. If the noodles seem dry, add in a couple more tablespoons of the mushroom water. Add in the remainder of the lemon juice and sesame oil. Combine well. Once the noodles are piping hot, you are done. Serve immediately.

For other noodle recipes, see Oriental Style Noodle Soup, Rice Noodles with Coconut Peanut SauceChicken Curry Noodle Soup and Chicken Stir Fry with Egg Noodles.