Stuffed Chicken Breast

1 split chicken breast filet, skinless
1 c, Riesling wine or mirin 

3 baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
2 prunes, chopped
1 shallot, minced 
1 c panko
1 egg, yolk
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mushroom powder (dry porcini blended)
Salt + pepper

Mix all the ingredients of the stuffing together. 

Pound chicken between two pieces of Saran Wrap, until about 1 cm in uniform thickness. 

Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the stuffing at the edge of the chicken breast.  Roll tightly to encase the stuffing.

In a ovenproof pan heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the chicken breast seam side down onto the pan. Panfry just barely to give the chicken breast some color. Add the wine to the pan carefully. Transfer to a preheated 450° oven for 20-25 minutes. Baste with pan sauce about every five minutes.

To serve, cut into 2 cm sections and finish with some pan sauce on top. I served with colorful couscous. 


Apple Rose Tartlets

While visiting Cape Cod last summer, we happened upon an awesome French bakery, PB Boulangierie. After enduring a long line in the morning, we finally filed our way in to get a couple of croissants, Pain Au Chocolate, and an apple tart, E selected.  After watching her eat the tart, which is a story of its own, I haven't been able to stop thinking about how appetizing it looked. Dozens of thinly sliced apples weaved together into a rose; wafting of caramelized sugar, apple and butter. 

I took my best guess at the technique to create the roses.  Set in pate brisse with boysenberry jam, this is easy, but meticulous. I can't wait to buy the original this coming summer.


French Style Meat (Chicken)

Does "French style" meat, as it's known at the Russian table, really take its origins in France? Not exactly... The Russian version is a distant reproduction of a dish prepared for the Count Orloff in 19th century France, a popular destination for Russian nobility.  He enjoyed the dish so much, it was named after him, and eventually served by his staff back home at Cathrine the Great's court.  Of course, a culture of culinary excess, this was a cardiologist job security dream.  Today, it can be found quite readily gracing most Russian tables, with varied interpretations that may include meat (originally veal) potatoes, mushrooms, cheese, onions, and most likely mayonnaise replacing the original béchamel sauce. 

Here's my version:

4 skinless chicken quarters
3 potatoes
1 onion
1 cup of your favorite grated cheese ( I used gruyere) 
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup sour cream
Salt + pepper
2 tbsp olive oil 

Season skinless chicken quarters with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet.
Slice onions on a mandolin and mix with a tbsp of oil. Sprinkle on the chicken. Slice potatoes on a mandolin, season with salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Arrange potatoes atop the chicken with some overlap. Bake at 385F for 25 minutes. Mix sour cream, mayo and cheese with smoked paprika. Remove the chicken from the oven and spread the cheese mix atop potatoes. Return to oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes raise the temp to 425 and watch for the cheese to turn a nice caramel color. Once it does, your "French" chicken is ready to remove from the oven and serve.


Tom Khaa Soup

Thai cuisine is one of my absolute favorites.  Eggplant, lime and cilantro have a lot to do with it.  I gave one of my favorite soups a try.

1 can coconut milk
3 c water
1 chicken breast filet
1 c baby corn or corn kernels
3 large shiitake mushrooms
2 medium sized tomatoes
2 cups rice noodles (dry, estimate)
1 c cilantro
2 limes
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sliced ginger
1 tsp rooster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Bring to boil water and coconut milk with chicken in a pot. Reduce to medium-low heat. Add rooster sauce, fish sauce, ginger, sugar, juice of limes, and salt.  Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn (I used fire roasted kernels) and sliced mushrooms. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add the rice noodles, tomatoes sliced into wedges and cilantro. Close the lid and remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes, slice the chicken filet and return to the pot.  Serve with some fresh cilantro sprigs.

I didn't have bean sprouts, chilli peppers, lemon grass or red curry sauce on hand however if you do, add them as well; all at the beginning with exception of bean sprouts right before serving.


Basic Risotto (Blanco)

6 handfuls of short grain rice
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1 shallot
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
Salt + white pepper

Bring your stock to a boil and switch to very low heat to keep hot. In another thick bottomed pot, on medium heat, add olive oil, chopped shallot and thinly sliced garlic. Cook long enough to make translucent but do not brown. Add in washed rice. Stir rice to coat in oil, for about 30 seconds and add the salt and pepper. Start adding the stock one ladle at a time, as you continuously stir rice (carefully not to break the grains). It will take about 45 seconds for each ladle to evaporate (if it takes less time or is starting to scorch, your heat is too high) , as you repeat the process for 16 minutes. As tedious as it may seem to stay at the stove for that entire time, stirring and ladling, it's worth the wait. You will not use the entire pot of stock most likely. After 16 minutes the rice should be tender and creamy. Turn off the heat and move the pot. Add butter and Parmesan to the rice, stir and close with a lid. This should stand for about 10 minutes to finish.

You can work on favoring as the risotto blanco is resting under the lid. Roasted onions and mushrooms or sun dried tomatoes and linguica, or shrimp, peas and parsley...it's endless. Pan roast your additions, than ladle the risotto blanco in to mix.  Or serve risotto blanco as is!  


Pink Lentil Puree or Spread

Those of you that have read my blog know that I have an addiction to impulse purchases at grocery stores. This problem tends to steer me towards the unknown, taunting the size of my pantry and refrigerator. A recent trip to the neighborhood Indian grocer is taking up 2 cubic feet of cabinet space I need to do something with, thus I give you pink lentil spread (if you like hummus this will soon be a favorite).

2 c pink lentils
1/4 c sesame seeds (white)
1/4 c sunflower oil
2 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp rooster sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika 
Dash of cinnamon

Boil lentils in 4 cups of water on medium heat until water has mostly evaporated. Remove from heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Blend in 1/2-1 cup of water to create a purée or an additional 1/2 cup of oil for a spread. It can also be left as is however when blended lentils cool, they harden so if left as is it should be eaten while still warm.