Tarragon Chicken Fricassee with Celeriac Purée

Celeriac Puree is one of those foods that most people never try because they think it’s must be complicated, but it’s actually an easy-going, forgiving dish to make that is a perfect cook to impress dish for the cook who doesn’t want to hover. My recipe is perhaps a bit tangier and less creamy than most, but it is also significantly lighter.

  • 1 knob of celeriac or celery root, peeled and chopped into big cubes.
  • 1/4 cup of half and half
  • 1 fresh lemon, juiced
  • 2 quarts of water
Add lemon juice to the water, then the half and half, toss in the celeriac and put on medium heat. Bring to a boil and let cook for 25 minutes or so, until tender. Remove, strain, reserving liquid. Put the chunks into a blender or Magic Bullet® and add back 1 cup of the cooking liquid (more or less) and puree. Add more liquid to get the texture you like. You can add salt and pepper if you like. I like its bright, lemony tartness as is.
With chicken, leeks and mushrooms you can make a fricassee so many different ways, the most difficult thing about cooking it up is deciding which flavor profile to choose. Since celeriac puree is common in French cuisine (though usually made with 4 times as much dairy and whole cream, not half and half) I decided to go with tarragon. Makes 4 servings.
  • 6 oz of cooked chicken (I have this from when I made Chicken Noodle soup the other day)
  • 1/2 leek, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin, just the green end
  • 1/2 celery stalk, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 6 mushrooms, cut in half and sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp tarragon
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 TBSP pear brandy
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a skillet, adding leeks, celery and tarragon and cook until softened. Add the mushrooms and pear brandy and stir. Add the chicken and 1 TBSP of water and cover. In 3 to 5 minutes, slide everything over to one side of the pan. On the other side add the roux made with butter and flour. Add about 1 cup of water and the mustard and stir. Mix in the with fricassee and cover for a couple minutes. Serve on top of the celeriac puree. Makes 4 servings, just like the celeriac.
I dished up two servings each of puree in two bowls and put the fricassee on top.  I had one for lunch and put a cover on the other for lunch tomorrow.

Lubia

Lubia ia a fantastic stew made of lamb, tomatoes and green beans. Greece and Lebanon both claim it as their own and who am I to argue with either one. Wherever it comes from, it’s yummy goodness.

  • Lamb Shank (approximately 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 4 whole cloves garlic
  • 10 roma romatoes (or equivalent of other tomatoes)
  • 1.5 pounds of green beans, fresh or frozen
  • 2 TBSP turmeric
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
This is one of the simplest soups. Soften some onions and garlic in about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the turmeric and oregano. Add the lamb shank and sear the outside. Add water until the shank is nearly covered. Trim the top of the tomato and add to the pot in big chunks. Romas cut in half, larger tomatoes in quarters. Bring to a rolling boil. Cover and let simmer for an hour. Pull out the lamb shank and cut the meat off the bone (it should slip right off) and cut into cubes. Put back in the pot. Add green beans. Cover and cook for 15 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. Makes about 30 cups of soup for 30 1 cup servings. Freezes well.

Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers & Mango Shake

I mixed up a batch of Swedish Meatballs last night but forgot to snap a picture, I was that hungry when I was done. I will do a post about them next time I make them. The mixture makes plenty of meatballs for a few meals, so I only cooked up a portion, putting the rest in a baggie for other things – such as stuffing banana peppers.

The Meat Mix

  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 1 pound of ground beef, lean
  • 1 egg
  • 4 TBSP of bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp of cardamom
  • 1 tsp of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 2 TBSP of dried parsley
Mix this all together and use it to order. I cut the tops off the peppers and cleaned them, heated them in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften them enough not to crack when stuffed. Stuffed the meat in, packing it in deeply, and putting the caps back on. I laid them on an ungreased pie plate and baked them 30 minutes in a 350° oven.
I served with a salad with some feta, olives, and Girard’s Greek Feta Dressing.
While the peppers were roasting, I cleaned a mango and put it in a magic bullet cup (you could use a blender), I squeezed the juice of half a lemon in with the mango and added 1/4 of plain yogurt. Adding a touch of fresh nutmeg, I whipped it until smooth, for a tart, fresh, summer drink.

Gyros Burger & Greek Salad

This is embarrassingly easy. New Seasons sells a fresh gyros lamb sausage. I bought 5 ounces and fried it in a burger shape on the skillet. For the bun, I combined three of the raw English Muffin dough pieces I had stored in the fridge and cooked on a griddle 10 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other. The sauce is 2 TBSP of plain yogurt, 1 TBSP of feta cheese, 1 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp of garlic powder and some salt and pepper. A one-minute sauce reminiscent of tsatziki.

The sald is made from three leaves of romaine, 1/2 ounce of feta, 6 olives, 1/4 of a Roma tomato and one green onion sliced finely. I added 1 TBSP of Greek-Feta Vinaigrette.

Chicken Wraps & Cheesy Sauteed Zucchini

You can make the chicken salad while the veggies cook. First chop up one clove of garlic and 3 thins slices off a large onion (about 3 TBSP) and soften in 1/2  TBSP of olive oil. Add 3 finely slice mushrooms and cook for a few minutes before adding 1 zucchini sliced fine. When it’s nearly done, add 1/4 of a Roma tomato chopped up, toss in 1 TBSP of dried dill weed and cover. Just before serving sprinkle 1 ounce of shredded or finely sliced cheddar cheese and cover for 30 seconds.

The salad is made with 2 ounces of cooked chicken (reserved from soup I made earlier) and 2 ounces of diced pink lady apples. I added 1/2 of a stalk of celery, 1 TBSP of sweet onion and about 2 tsp’s of diced red pepper and a sprig of cilantro. Then I squeeze 1/2 a lemon on it, some salt and pepper and 1 TBSP of plain yogurt.  I took 3 leaves of romaine and put them on the serving platter and heated them for 15 seconds in the microwave  so they would be flexible enough to be salad wraps, but still have fresh crunchiness in the texture.  I sliced wedges of the remaining apple and served on the side.

 

Cuban Bean Salad

Okay, this is not my recipe and not a single serving. I use the Kraft Cuban Bean Salad recipe and just cut the dressing in half. They make too much dressing and it’s a bit oily with all the olive oil. By cutting the sauce in half, I get a tasty salad that is not overdressed.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup  chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp.  white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1   fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1-1/2 cups  chopped Dill Pickles
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 can  (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
  • 1 stalk  celery, sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 2   green onions, sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
Mix oil, cilantro, lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, jalapeno pepper and oregano in large bowl until well blended. Add the other ingredients, stir and refrigerate. You can serve in a couple hours, but it gets better and better. Makes about 3 pounds of salad. You can double the beans and still have a tasty salad.

Chicken Mushroom Soup and English Muffins

This is the same soup I made earlier this month. It’s a favorite of mine and I make it a lot. This time, though, I used fresh noodles that I picked up at the grocery store which are closer to homemade noodle, my favorite way to make it. I made some homemade English Muffins to go with it. You will notice they are quite small. I am diabetic and bread is worse, I think, that candy, for managing my glucose. So, I make smaller individual muffins and pretend I am eating more. It should not work since I know what I am doing, but it does. It just makes me feel like I am not denying myself two muffins. How much smaller do I make them? The recipe makes 16 normal muffins and I get 26.

Warm up some water.

Mix 1/2 cup warm water and 1 pkg of dry yeast. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 1 cup of milk (or as I did,  1/2 cup of nonfat dry milk with 1 cup water), add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar and add to the yeast. Add 2 cups of flour and stir until blended. It will be soft and sticky. Now add 3 TBSP of vegetable oil and 1.5 cups of flour and stir. It will still be soft, but no longer sticky. Cover with a towel and let sit until double in bulk – about one hour.

Knead lightly and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with a circular cookiet cutter (my muffins) or tuna can (normal size muffins) and let rise 1/2 hour. Cook on a hot griddle that  you have dusted with cornmeal. Cook about 10 minutes on one side and flip and cook about 15 minutes on the other. I only cook the ones I want to eat at the time. The dough for the rest have been dusted lightly with cornmeal and are bagged up in baggies in the fridge for fresh, hot English Muffins on demand.

I added a lovely Red Velvet Apricot for some fresh, bright color, but then I went and ate it while the muffins were cooking.  There’s a nice article with pretty pictures over at foodie hunter. When you see how pretty they are, you will understand why it didn’t make it to the table.

Slow Scrambled Eggs with Quesadilla

Normally, I like to make quick and easy dishes that are done in no time. One huge exception to that rule is my love of slow-scrambled eggs. Yes, you can scramble and egg in five minutes or less, but until you have spent 20 to 30 minutes coaxing eggs to a soft, creamy perfection, you have not really had scrambled eggs as they deserve to be served.

I was hungry this morning so I used three eggs. I took them out of the fridge and let them sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes while I melted a tbsp of butter on low heat. Cracking the eggs into a bowl and mixing them lightly, I made sure they were well-blended but not frothy. I didn’t want to beat air into them. I added pepper. If you want, you can use white pepper so you don’t see little dashes of black.

I poured them into my pan and began to stir in slow circles, scraping along the edges and turning the eggs again and again so that they never got to sit in place and begin to set. Depending on how done you like your eggs and how low the heat is, this can take 10 to 20 minutes. More eggs take longer to cook, obviously. The eggs are done when they start feeling sort of like porridge. Exactly how much longer you keep cooking after that depends on how dry you like them. I don’t like them very dry, so I stop a little sooner than you might. Add salt after you are done because salt ruins them if you add while cooking.

Meanwhile, in a skillet on medium heat, I placed 1 whole wheat tortilla to heat and added 1 ounce of pepper jack cheese to melt. You can easily serve this on plain toast or a plain tortilla because the eggs are very rich and creamy. I just happened to be wanting a little heat with my eggs this morning.

Certainly, most of the time you scramble eggs you won’t have the time to indulge in creating these delicious creamy slow-scrambled eggs. But when you have a slow morning and can take the time, try it. You might never settle for ordinary scrambled eggs again.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Roast Pork, Curried Root Vegetables & Caramelized Pecans

This was another quick from start to finish meal, taking about 20 minutes total. When I made the pork roast yesterday, I reserved the liqueur enriched roast juices in a container. I put about 1/4 cup of those juices in a skillet with 6 mushrooms washed and quartered and 3 slices of pork roast cut into inch size bites (about 4 oz.) I brought it to a simmer and left my wooden spoon in the skillet to stir occasionally.

Turning my attention to the salad, I chopped 1 stalk of celery, 6 baby carrots, 1/4 cup of green onion bulbs and 4 radishes. I added 2 tablespoons of the curried yogurt from lunch and a teaspoon of soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

I put my small nonstick pan on the small burner on medium high. Melting 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar with a pinch of powdered cardamom, I stirred until the mix began to caramelize when I tossed in 1/2 cup of pecans and stirred until the pecans were covered and then turned it out onto parchment paper. It made 1/2 cup – enough for 4 desserts.

Now the mushrooms are done and all that was left was to plate with some fresh watermelon for something fresh and colorful.

BBQ Pork, Jamaica Jerk Yams with Curry Yogurt & Salad

I wish I could get my cat with a head cold to eat these Jamaica Jerk Yams. It would clear his head right out. This is a very easy meal to make and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

Start with the yams. Turn oven to 450°. Take one yam and peel it. Slice it into 1/8 inch chips. In a baggie, put 1 TBSP of peanut or vegetable oil. Put the chips in the bag and shake it. In another baggie, put a couple tablespoons of Jamaica Jerk seasoning blend. Toss the chips in there and shake.  Lay out on a cookie sheet so they don’t overlap. The oven should be hot enough now to put them in to cook.

Now, slice off some pork from that roast from last night and toss in a nonstick saute pan with 2 TBSP of barbecue sauce. Reheat on medium low, stirring occasionally.

Now, Put about 3 TBSP or so of plain yogurt in a bowl and add curry powder to suit your taste. Start with 1/2 tsp and stir and taste test. Add another 1/4 tsp and so on. You could make up one small package of plain yogurt and store it. It keeps well and is good on cold macaroni in a salad.

Clean and cut up 2 leaves of romaine, cut 5 olives in half and toss on top with a bit of Greek Feta dressing. Put the BBQ pork on the plate, add the curry yogurt and pull the hot and done sweet potatoes out of the oven. Serve while nice and hot.