Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Roast chicken in cream sauce

Some people say that avid foodtv watching/ foodpicturegazing can have you think/dream/imagine that you are actually tasting the dish. Is it really doing that now? I mean, the looming pixelated and blatantly shameless plug above. Be honest. This is worthy of a fair openmouthed, salivaexiting gawk, right?  It's eery how well I know you by now.

And thus I empathize with you, too. Turning through all the contents I've stacked on BFMK pages, more than half are results of my faithful food ogling capabilities. It's where I giantleap forward, from imaginings to reality, mindgrab what I can, be it screen/ print/ menu cards (where I wish I'd ordered that ONE item) and bring it to my table. 

So, was no different an instance here. A view and conquer method that never disappoints happened a few back, the result of which is the brazen visual looming pretty much all over your screen right now. That which had me reach pure transcendence, what with the handful of ingredients right in kitchen's convenience might have you in same fate, by the end of this commentary.
Further, it was gold at the end of a pinterest rainbow, a reward from an unwillingtodisclose number of hours diligently spent pinning millions of inspirations (!). Some I have neither time nor resource for and some that've indelibly translated my most epic finds into ever- epic fails.

But not this. It is failsafe, a wholesomeness very hard to mess up. Roast chicken in cream sauce is the stuff that makes for quality mealmakingwith a decadence that doesn't require a trip to specialty stores. It can feed amply and satisfyingly the family of four, serve the perfect romancified for-two dinner, even pose as toptier menu item for a quaint wish-to-impress guest list. Should I also mention that it's a bliss I plan to repeat on several weekly rotations? Yes, it is versatile, justlikethat.

I will add that though all elements contribute to the greater good, some shine brighter than others, case in point, the dehydrated tomatoes. These are paramount in lending greatly to the perkiness, wellcut fantasticness, of what could otherwise be a bland creamed chicken compilation. And I cannot begin to extol on the virtues of how gorgeous the blush, pepper-speckled sauce looks against charred golden chicken breasts and greener-than-green broccoli florets. Visuals, people, right? It is everything and more of what you've ever hoped for in a substantial meal in one situation.

In conclusion, I've just handed over what will be one of those classic Greats in dinner prospects. And possibly my redemption for keeping silent so long. Shall we call it even, then?

I made my own "sundried" tomatoes. Which are basically slow roasted in the oven at a very low temperature. Mid February in the desert means I'm not yet roasting on the sidewalk, though I know that season'll be here sooner than I can blink.
For those of you ambitiously in the same league, give it a try; those not so willing, buy the 8 oz. jar.  But I'll give you fair warning, dehydrating tomatoes is just about the easiest thing you will do, apart from painting your nails. And may I say, both tasks can be accomplished, with ample dry and set time, while viewing a movie and a half, in a productive multi-hour session. These chewy now- darkreds own a slightly fresher flavor than bottled varieties, and lend a tastier potency to the overall , which may translate in using a few less than a recipe calls for, even in this case. 

Why not, then?
**Ovendried/sundried tomatoes**~
Preheat oven 250° F ( I do 275°F- sort of speeds it up by half an hour, but err on the side of less heat for your first time)
3 dozen plum tomatoes, halved (feel free to make adjustments to quantity/use tomato variety of choice), 2 tbsp oil, 1 tsp sugar, salt/ black pepper to taste, herbs such as thyme/oregano/rosemary/your choice(all optional). With cut sides up (seeding also optional), spread tomatoes out on lined baking sheet, toss with oil/sugar/seasonings. Bake 2-3 hrs, 250-275°F, until ends curl up and pieces are reduced about 1/3 in size.** Store them in a jar with more oil, keep in the refrigerator. 

( Adapted from Damn Delicious)
Ingredients:
  • 6-8 chicken breast (boneless, skinless)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 c sundried tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • 2 c chopped broccoli florets
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Season chicken breasts with cayenne, pepper and salt
  • Melt butter in large ovenproof pan or dutch oven, place chicken in it and roast on medium -high flame, 5-7 minutes per each side. Take chicken out and set aside. 
  • Reduce heat to medium, add oil to same pan along with garlic and pepper flakes. 
  • Stir in succession tomatoes, broth, cream, oregano and thyme. Allow this to come to boil on high, then add cheese and reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Let simmer for for 2-3 minutes until sauce is slightly thick.
  • Place chicken in the pan with the sauce. 
  • Taste for salt, add more if needed
  • Put pan into the oven.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, take out to stir in broccoli and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until chicken is done.
  • Serve over wide noodles or with a side salad and bread.
BEST. CONDIMENT. EVER.

******
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." Joshua 1:5

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stocking(cake)pops


It's almost Christmas.

And this is what I did last week. 

And it's what you can do this week. 

Because it's fun. Way too fun.

Wee time consuming.

But makes you look like a superstar.

So before I enter into the customary knows-no-end narrative..

And waste your precious holiday time.

Here goes.

Cake pop made into stocking placed on a stick.

I realize it may look difficult.

But I tell you it's tremendously easy.

Stuff your stockings and eat them too. 
Ho ho ho!

This is where I stop and have you start.

But not before I wish you a bright and Merry Christmas.

(Adapted from Bakerella's Stuffed Stocking Cake Pops)

Items needed~


  • 1 9x11 inch cake(about 18.25 ounces)
  • 12 ounces of frosting
  • 48 ounces each of red/green/white candy coating (available at craft/baking stores, or online)
  • various assorted colored sugars, sprinkles, edible oddments for toys and toppers
  • paper lollipop sticks


  • Have also ready~
    • large mixing bowl, several other bowls to "catch sprinkles"
    • 2-3 baking sheets or pans lined with parchment/silicone sheets
    • microwave-safe plastic bowls (for melting candy coating)
    • wax paper
    • toothpicks
    • Styrofoam block or colander (to place your dipped pops on)

    On where to go next...

    For The Queen of cake pops tutorial, it's right here.

    My how-to here.  

    Since it's Christmas, I'll just be generous:

    Directions:
    • Mix 2/3- 3/4 jar of readymade frosting with crumbled cake until well combined. (If using homemade frosting, add half cup of frosting and slowly work up by two tablespoons till well combined with crumbled cake).
    • Roll mixture into 48 balls and place them on lined baking sheet.
    • Shape them into stocking shapes, about 1 inch long and half inch width. Have wax paper on hand to aid you in smoothing and defining the shape. Repeat for each cake ball.
    • Freeze for 15- 20 minutes to firm. Then transfer to refrigerator.
    • Melt red or green candy melts according to instructions on package. The melted coated should be in a bowl deep enough to dip each shaped cake (about 3-4")
    • Take out 2-3 shaped cakes at a time, keeping the rest refrigerated.
    • One at a time, dip about 1/2" of a lollipop stick into the melted coating and insert this end straight into the bottom of the stocking pop. Do not go more than halfway through.
    • Dip the whole cake pop into the melted coating. Gently lift the pop out of the coating and tap off any excess. Let dry completely in large styrofoam block or in holes of a colander.
    • Melt white candy coating in the small microwave-safe bowl. Dip the now dried stocking tops into the melted white coating to make cuffs. While the coating is still wet, decorate with sprinkles as toys on top. Return to let dry completely. Repeat for the remaining stocking pops.
    • When dry, use a toothpick to apply more of the white coating onto cuffs. Sprinkle with white or colored sugar. Use the edge of a clean toothpick to straighten any rough edges by gently pressing it along the bottoms of the cuffs.
    • To decorate the front of the stockings, dot on melted coating to attach button/snowflake sprinkles or anything of your choice. Allow to fully dry.



    Basic cake balls ready and shaped into stockings(or perhaps red shiny boots :-) 


    The more the merrier; edible toys and adornments have them come to life.


    Experiment with different candy melts and sprinkles.


    King of the world. Look how happy gingerbread boy is. Wouldn't have been so with foreknowledge that he'd be finished off in 3 seconds ;-D
    ******

    "Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5

    Source: rachelwojo.com

    "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed." Matthew 2:10