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Author Archives: MikeG

About MikeG

In my forties, married, stay at home dad who loves to write and read. I have a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in English and work as a freelance writer/proofreader/editor. I love reading and writing, music, cooking, am a baseball fanatic, an autograph collector and occasionally enjoy a Guinness or a vodka martini (Grey Goose, please). I've been through a lot, seen a lot, read a lot and have a lot to say.

A Monday Monkfish Recipe – Monkfish Fillets Dijon Style

It’s nice to be able to get back to posting a blog! I am feeling better, and though I am still swamped with work, and we have lots going on around the house, I wanted to make sure I had time to post a recipe today, even if it is just a short one. Since it is the Lent time of year, more people are eating fish right now, which means you might be looking for some new recipes or different ways to make the fish you eat this week. We are lucky since we have a great fish market in the area now where I can get very fresh, great-tasting fish anytime. Such is the case when I went over there recently and picked up some monkfish to make for dinner. Monkfish has great flavor and a good texture, making it meatier than many other whitefish that you find sold. Many people refer to it as “Poor Man’s Lobster” since it has a similar texture and taste lobster without having to go through all of the hassles of getting through a shell for not a lot of meat. Though, by today’s standards, monkfish in many cases costs just as much per pound or more than what you pay for a lobster. In any case, it is a great fish to make and this simple recipe from Pierre Franey at New York Times Cooking gives a fast preparation that has great flavor.

Monkfish Fillets Dijon Style

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 skinless, boneless monkfish fillets, about 1 1/2 pounds

Salt to taste if desired

Freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

¼ cup finely chopped onions

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

cup dry white wine

½ pound small mushrooms

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Select a baking dish large enough to hold the monkfish fillets in one layer without crowding them. Pour the olive oil over the bottom of the baking dish. Turn the fillets in the oil to coat them well all over. Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper on both sides. Brush the fillets with the Dijon mustard. Scatter the onions and the garlic around the fillets.

Place the baking dish on top of the stove and heat the dish until the oil begins to sizzle. Add the white wine and scatter the mushrooms around the fillets. Bring the wine just to a simmer.

Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Baste the fillets and return the dish to the oven and continue cooking the fish for about 5 minutes. Remove the fish from the baking dish and place it on a platter. Swirl the butter in the sauce in the baking dish and then place the sauce over the fish fillets on the plate. Sprinkle the fish with parsley and serve.

This recipe is definitely one you can make quickly, and with ingredients you are likely to have on hand most of the time (except the fish, of course). The flavors all come together nicely, and the Dijon mustard does not overpower the fish at all. The onions, garlic, and mushrooms add a nice touch to the meal, and even just the hint of white wine in the sauce is very nice. You could even substitute another fish in here if you like, though I personally like the monkfish for this recipe. I served this with some wild rice and broccoli, and it was a nice, light, and complete meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day, enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood, Uncategorized

 

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Easy Homemade Condiment Recipes | Tasting Table

We all rely on store-bought condiments most of the time, but is there a better option? Who has the time to make things like ketchup or mayo at home? Surprisingly enough, you do! Making your own condiments is a lot easier than you think, gives you better control of the ingredients you and your family eat and they just plain taste better. Tasting Table has put together 7 easy recipes for different condiments that you can make yourself so you can save some money, eat something that tastes great and really impress your family! Check it out!

I am finally over my sickness after several weeks of fighting it. Though work has been pretty crazy lately too, I am going to try to get caught up on my blogging next week so I can get back into my routine. I have some great recipes I have tried recently that will be fun to share. Stay tuned and thanks!

Source: Easy Homemade Condiment Recipes | Tasting Table

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Recipes – NYT Cooking

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and if you are looking for some great ideas of what to make this year or want something different beyond the usual corned beef and cabbage, New York Times Cooking has put together an excellent collection of recipes that cover everything you might need. From soda bread to side dishes to desserts and drinks, you will find it all. Check it out.

On a side note, I haven’t been around lately because I have been fighting a terrible cold for 2 weeks now. The cold has pretty much sapped all my strength and leaves me coughing quite a bit. When this has been combined with a heavy workload I have had recently, I have little time for blogging. I am hoping to kick the cold this week as it seems to be waning, and then I can get back to posting recipes. Please bear with me a little bit while I get my strength back. Thanks!

 

Source: St. Patrick’s Day Recipes – NYT Cooking

 

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A Bobby Flay Brunch for Dinner – Buttermilk Waffles with Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders and Bourbon Maple Syrup

One of the actual cooking shows I like to watch on Food Network (yes, there are still shows that have chefs actually cooking recipes on there) is Brunch with Bobby. While I do not make brunch very often, I do enjoy a lot of the recipes that he comes up with, and they are perfect for use for breakfast or dinner for the three of us. Just recently, I saw an episode where Bobby Flay was making his take on chicken and waffles. I have done chicken and waffles once before a while ago, but I liked his particular take on it because it seemed easy and it looked like it would taste great. The key to making the recipe for me would be to find the time in to make the batter for the waffles, the soak for the chicken and then the time to cook it all. Luckily, I did have one day where I had some downtime from work and was able to fit it all in and gave it a whirl.

Buttermilk Waffles with Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders and Bourbon Maple Syrup

For the Waffles:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the waffle iron

For the Chicken Tenders:

12 chicken tenders

2 cups buttermilk

Few dashes hot sauce, plus for serving

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Canola oil, for frying

For the Syrup:

3/4 cups pure maple syrup

1cup softened butter

2 to 3 tablespoons bourbon whiskey (or 1 teaspoon bourbon extract)

For the waffles, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

In a second bowl, whisk the eggs until they are smooth, then whisk in the buttermilk and butter until the ingredients are combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until the batter comes together; there will be lumps. Cover the dough and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Set a baking rack over a baking sheet and place the baking sheet on the center rack in the oven. Preheat a waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and brush the plates with melted butter.

For each waffle, ladle about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the iron. Cover the batter with the lid and cook the waffle until it is golden brown and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. As you go, transfer the cooked waffles to the baking rack in the oven and hold them there while you fry the chicken.

For the fried chicken, while the waffle batter rests, place the chicken tenders in a resealable plastic bag. Add 1 cup of the buttermilk and the hot sauce, then seal the bag and marinate the chicken at room temperature for 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder or cayenne, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Transfer half of the flour mixture to a second bowl. In a third bowl, put the remaining 1 cup of buttermilk.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat the pieces dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the chicken tenders with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a high-sided skillet, preferably cast-iron, set over medium heat until it registers 360 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, dredge the chicken in the first dish of seasoned flour, then dip the pieces in the buttermilk, letting the excess drain off, and finally dredge the chicken tenders in the second bowl of seasoned flour, tapping off any excess. Fry the chicken until it is golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a paper-towel-lined plate and season it with salt.

For the maple syrup, bring the maple syrup and the softened butter to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in the bourbon whiskey or extract. Allow the syrup to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until the flavors meld, and the syrup is warmed through.

To serve, put one of the waffles on a plate and top it with a fried chicken tender or two. Drizzle the chicken and waffles with the warm syrup, or with hot sauce or honey, if you desire.

I have to say while I have not had a lot of chicken and waffles in my lifetime, this was the best recipe I had tried. We all agreed that the waffle batter was fantastic, producing perfect waffles with an incredible flavor from the buttermilk and just the right amount of crunch. My waffle maker is a Belgian waffle maker, so the waffles were bigger, but you can cut them down to size if you like. The chicken tenders were the ideal size and portion for the meal, in my opinion. I always found a big piece of chicken with the waffles to be too filling, but the chicken tender was perfect. I liked the coating and double coating the pieces produced an excellent crust on the chicken. The syrup, which I got the recipe for from Food.com, was a nice touch to round out the meal. It was sweet and tasty, and this recipe makes a good portion of syrup, so you are likely to have some leftovers to use for another occasion. All in all, this was a good choice that makes a nice meal for dinner or brunch.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on March 1, 2017 in Brunch, Cooking, Dinner, Poultry

 

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Delight the Family with Bon Appetit’s Best Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

The weather here in our part of New York has been wild, to say the least. We had days of 70 degrees and higher last week, followed up by torrential rains and the wind and then a plunge back down into the 20s today. It is no wonder that we are all fighting colds here now! So what is better to make when you are fighting the sniffles than a nice stew or soup? I had recently made some homemade chicken stock and was ready to take advantage of it when I decided this would be a very good time to break out some chicken and dumplings. It gave me a great way to use up the leftover chicken I had and combine it with some vegetables, an excellent broth and wonderful dumplings to top it all off. I had seen this recipe in Bon Appetit for the best chicken and dumplings, so it only made sense to give the best a try.

The Best Chicken and Dumplings

4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)

1 leek, pale-green and white parts only

4 carrots, 1 whole, 3 chopped into ½-inch rounds

4 celery stalks, 1 whole, 3 chopped into ½-inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped, divided

3 garlic cloves, smashed

4 sprigs thyme

Parsley stems from ½ a bunch

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

Kosher salt

½ cup chicken fat (schmaltz) or butter, melted, divided

Freshly ground black pepper

1½ cups all-purpose flour, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

½ cup heavy cream

Chopped chives (for serving), optional

Bring the chicken, leek, whole carrot, whole celery stalk, half of the onion, garlic, thyme, parsley stems, bay leaf, peppercorns, and 3 quarts of water to a simmer in a large wide pot. Cook, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 40–50 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and let it sit until it is cool enough to handle. Shred the meat from the thighs and legs, discarding the skin, bones, and excess fat. Cover the meat with foil to keep warm. Alternatively, shred any leftover chicken meat you may have (a mix of dark and white meat is great, but use whatever is available).

Strain the chicken stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard the solids. Wipe out the pot, pour the stock back in, and bring the stock to a simmer. Stir in 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of salt. Alternatively, use homemade chicken stock that you have made previously and bring it to a simmer.

Heat ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of the schmaltz or butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook the chopped carrot, chopped celery, and the remaining onion, occasionally stirring, until the vegetables are softened but not completely tender, about 8–10 minutes; season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup of the flour and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are coated, about 1 minute. Scrape the vegetable mixture into the simmering stock and whisk until the liquid is thickened and no lumps remain, then continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10–15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and the remaining 1 cup of flour in a medium bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and the remaining 3 tablespoons of schmaltz or butter in a small bowl. Fold the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients just until the dough comes together (be careful not to overmix, or the dumplings will be tough).

Add the heavy cream and the reserved chicken meat to the stew and return the mixture to a simmer. Drop tablespoon-sized portions of the dough into stew (don’t worry if they aren’t perfect, they will puff up as they cook). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover the pot and check the dumplings for doneness: They should be about 5 times larger and should cover the entire surface of the stew. To be extra sure, you can remove a dumpling and cut it in half to see if it’s cooked through; the interior should look like a soft dinner roll. If they’re not fully cooked, cover and cook for about 2 minutes more.

Divide the chicken soup and dumplings among the serving bowls, then top with the chives, if desired.

This is a very hearty and filling stew/soup. The flavor from the broth is splendid and you get a broth that is just thick enough to provide you with everything that you want. The dumplings are also perfectly soft and tasty and add just the right touch to the dish. I used butter since I didn’t have any chicken schmaltz, leftover chicken and previously made stock to simplify the process even more. All of these shortcuts allowed me to save a lot of prep time and get the dinner on the table in about 35 or 40 minutes and it still had all the flavor you want. This recipe makes plenty; Bon Appetit says it is 6 servings, but you could easily get more out of that, and we had leftovers available for lunches for days. The stew actually gets better the next day, and you can thin it out with a little water or stock to get it the way you want it. It is a nice change of pace from the traditional chicken soup when you want something a little different without a lot of extra work.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

 
 
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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Poultry, Soups & Stews

 

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Bread Week, Part 4 – Go Dutch for Lunch with a Cook’s Country Dutch Crunch Roll

I always have grand ambitions to make my own sandwich rolls for things like hamburgers, sausage and peppers, or just to have for sandwiches for lunch or dinner. I do make them sometimes, but not nearly as often as I wish I had time to and have to make do with what we get from the local store (oh, how I wish we had a real bakery around here!). In any case, I was planning on making chicken sandwiches for dinner recently and decided I was going to make my own rolls for them. I had come across a recipe in Cook’s Country from April/May 2016 for a roll I had not heard of before called a Dutch Crunch. It is a regional roll that is well-known in San Francisco for its combination of a lightly sweet sandwich bread with a crunchy, unique topping. The pictures of the rolls in the magazine looked enticing, so I figured it would be a good one to attempt for dinner.

Cook’s Country Dutch Crunch Rolls

For the Dough:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

4 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 teaspoon salt

For the Topping:

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees)

3/4 cup white rice flour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid rise yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the dough, using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the all-purpose flour, water, melted butter, sugar, yeast, and salt together on low speed until a cohesive mass starts to form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Grease a large a bowl and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough briefly to form it into a smooth ball, about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl and the dough to coat it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until it is almost doubled in size and a fingertip depression in the dough springs back slowly, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Gently press down on the center of the dough to deflate it. Place the dough on a clean work surface and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a rough ball by pinching and pulling the dough edges under so that the top of the ball is smooth.

Flip each ball onto the smooth side and pat each ball into a 4-inch circle. Fold the top edge of the circle down to the midline, pressing on it to seal it. Fold the bottom edge of the circle up to meet the first seam at the midline and press it to seal it. Fold the dough in half, so the top and the bottom edges come together and pinch the edges together to form a seam. Flip the dough to the seam sound down and gently roll it into a 6-inch log. Arrange the rolls in 2 staggered rows of 4 on the prepared baking sheet. Set the sheet of rolls aside to rise at room temperature until they are almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the topping, 25 minutes before the rolls are finished rising, whisk together the warm water, white rice flour, vegetable oil, sugar, yeast, and salt together in a medium bowl. Cover the bowl and let the topping rise until it has doubled in size, about 20 minutes. Stir the risen topping to deflate it. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the topping over each roll and quickly brush the topping on to evenly coat the roll tops and sides.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the rolls until the exteriors are golden brown and craggy and the centers of the rolls register 210 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center, about 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the cooking process. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before serving.

The process of creating the shape of the rolls sounds more complicated than it really is. Once you do one and get it into the form you want it, the rest are pretty easy for you to do. The topping is pretty thick when you are spreading it on (think pancake batter thick), but it forms a really nice crust onto the roll that you will definitely appreciate. The rolls are soft and chewy on the inside, like you want a sandwich roll to be, and have a really nice crunch on the outside thanks to the rice flour. It is the perfect sandwich bread for anything you might like – deli meats, turkey, chicken, tuna, vegetables – and they hold up quite nicely. We all enjoyed them with our chicken sandwiches and had them for the rest of the week to use for lunch. Like any bread or roll, you do need to plan ahead and give yourself some time to make the dough and let it rise (and buy the rice flour if you don’t happen to have any), but this one that is worth the effort.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day (it is beautiful here again, 72 and sunny and I am wearing shorts in February in NY), and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Breads, Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Sandwiches

 

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Bread Week, Part 3 – A Biscuit That’s Hard to Beat (Literally) – Cook’s Country Derby Biscuits

As we continue you along with bread recipes for this week, I get the chance to post a biscuit recipe that I recently tried. Usually, I don’t stray too far from the norm when I make biscuits. I have 2 recipes I rely on pretty heavily – one for quick biscuits and one for a traditional biscuit. However, when I saw this recipe in an old issue of Cook’s Country, I was intrigued. It is a recipe for what is called derby biscuits. Derby biscuits are basically appetizer biscuits that are perfect for use for small finger appetizers involving meats and cheeses. They are biscuits that have been around for hundreds of years, and the traditional recipe, according to Cook’s Country, is one where the cook needed to beat the dough as a way of leavening it. This was before the days of baking powder and baking soda. The biscuits themselves are very crisp and unique, perfect for use for appetizers. I decided I would give the recipe a try.

Cook’s Country Derby Biscuits

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

1 cup milk, chilled

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until the ingredients are combined, about 3 or 4 pulses. Add the butter pieces and pulse the ingredients until the butter is reduced to pea-sized pieces, about 10 to 12 pulses.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the milk and stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until shaggy dough forms. Turn out the dough onto a heavily floured counter and knead the dough until it comes together entirely and feels smooth, with a few small butter flecks still visible, about 8 to 10 turns of the dough.

Roll the dough into an 11-inch circle that is about a 1/2-inch thick. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut 22 to 23 rounds from the dough. Re-roll the scraps once to a similar thickness as the original dough and cut out 5 or 6 more rounds to yield 28 biscuits. Space the biscuits evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Prick each biscuit 3 times with the tines of a fork.

Bake the biscuits in the oven until the tops of the biscuits are a light golden brown, about 27 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet about halfway through the cooking process. Let the biscuits cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack. Serve the biscuits warm or at room temperature.

Of course, the new recipe doesn’t involve beating the dough by hand and makes good use of the food processor and baking powder to mix everything and get the proper texture for the biscuits. The biscuits are very crispy on the outside and still tender on the inside, almost like a cross between a biscuit and a cracker. There is also a hint of sweetness in the biscuits from the sugar and milk that is quite nice. While I  initially served the biscuits with our dinner, I found they worked great for a breakfast biscuit with a piece of sausage on them. I think they would go very well for a small ham and biscuit appetizer or even with some cheese on them. I could also see them going nicely with some jam, preserves or jelly. One thing I will say about the recipe I tried – I didn’t get 28 biscuits out of the dough. I did get 20 (the small biscuits in the picture are what I call the “dog biscuits,” since I usually make 1 or 2 sized for him), and perhaps I didn’t roll the dough out into a large enough circle to get more, but in any case, I got plenty of biscuits for just the three of us to use for days. I would certainly keep this one in mind again to use for a party where we wanted appetizers with biscuits because it is easy to make and yields a nice product.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day (it is beautiful here in NY, sunny and in the mid-60s) and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 23, 2017 in Appetizers, Breakfast, Cooking, Dinner, Side Dishes, Snacks

 

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