Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chicken Pot Roast

With cooler weather, a pot roast has been sounding good. Something that slow-cooks and gives up a hearty, warming aroma and taste is perfect in cooler weather. This is sort of like a classic pot roast but with chicken for a lighter touch.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half across
4 carrots
4 celery stalks
1 onion
5 potatoes
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 or 2 bay leaves
1/3 c. dry red wine
1/2 c. chicken broth
half a can of chopped tomatoes

Roughly chop all the veggies into large-chop pieces.

Brown the chicken in a roasting pan in a little olive oil. Add the veggies and stir, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Add bay leaf, then red wine. Let evaporate a minute then add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and put in oven at 400. Bake until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Add more broth if necessary to keep from drying out.

I usually make a pan gravy after. Transfer all the meat and veggies to a platter, pour the pan juices into a bowl, then heat a tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the pan. Add a tablespoon of flour and stir well, cooking about a minute. Add the juices (and a little more broth if necessary) back to the pan, stir well to avoid lumps, heat until slightly thickened and pour into a gravy boat.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Two Feta Dips

I adore feta cheese! Salty and crumbly, it adds taste and texture to many dishes. As a dip for crisped pitas and veggies, it can't be beat. These two spreads are simple to prepare, too. I buy "bricks" of feta, either in a package or in whey, then break off a good-sized chunk.

1) Feta and Walnut Dip/Spread
In a blender or food processor combine:
1/2 brick feta
1 clove garlic
a handful of toasted walnuts (but it works nicely with toasted pistachios, too)
a handful of fresh parsley
a sprig of thyme, strip off the leaves
2 TBSP water
Pulse to chop. Then add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and blend well.

2) Pesto-Feta Dip
1/2 Cup pesto (homemade or from a jar, whatever you prefer)
a chunk of feta
Blend or pulse. Voila...done!

Could it be any simpler than that? And the great thing is, your guests will be duly impressed!

2005 Valerie Schneider

Friday, October 07, 2005

Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

This recipe is for you, Cara, my blue cheese-lovin' sister!

1/2 a shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 sprig fresh thyme, strip the leaves off the stem
aobut 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. red wine vinegar

In a small bowl combine all the above.

Whisk in:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. mayonnaise

Then add:
a good handful of crumbled gorgonzola

Great on salad, obviously, but also good on steamed green beans or broccoli or mixed into pasta salad, too.

2005 Valerie Schneider

Monday, October 03, 2005

Penne con Zucca Gialla

It's that time of year again...autumn means squash are in the stores again. I like the little delicata squash, mainly because one is the perfect size for a meal for two, and because they are the easiest squash to peel. I just use a regular veggie peeler on them then cut off the ends, scoop out the seeds and you're ready to go!

This is a fantastic autumn and winter dish, and of course, super easy. I first tasted this dish in a Roman osteria and, when I came home I set to work to replicate it. I think it tastes pretty close.

1 delicata or small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
white wine
chicken or vegetable broth
pinch thyme, salt, pepper
3 tbsp. cream (optional)

In a large skillet, heat some olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the squash and stir-fry a couple minutes. Add a splash of wine (about 1/4 cup) and when it's stopped sizzling and steaming, add about 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup broth. Cover and cook until the squash are tender, adding more broth if needed to keep from drying out. Add the thyme, salt and pepper, along with the cream if desired. Toss with freshly cooked penne pasta and top with a grating of parmigiano reggiano cheese.

copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider