Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Way to a Co-Worker’s Heart is Through the Stomach

Last summer I was known at my job for being a baker. I would make cookies and cupcakes. Now that I’m back, but on a different team, I wanted to endear myself to my new co-workers. At the same time I was hoping that being nice would help me get a computer faster and relieve my boredom! You can make this into little 1 inch pies or do a larger mini tart using a 4 inch spring form pan or pie dish.

Mini Peach and Blackberry Tarts

Crust:
3 cups flour
2 stick of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup water

Mix the flour, butter, salt and sugar in a mental bowl with a fork. Mash in the butter until it forms course meal. Gradually add in the water, you may not need all of it. Mix the dough together till it forms a ball. Pinch off 1-inch balls of the dough and press it out into a flat layer with your hands. Fill mini muffin tins with the dough, fluting the edges to make mini pie shells.

Filling:
2 bags frozen peaches, thawed
1 bag frozen blackberries, thawed
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon
1/2 cup flour

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Chop the peaches into chunks, about the same size as the blackberries. Mix all of ingredients in a large bowl. Using a spoon, being careful to not pick up too much liquid, fill the pie shells with 3 pieces of peach and 1 blackberry.

Cook the pies for about an hour. Once the shells are golden brown, remove from the oven. Let them cool in the tins for 5 minutes then move them to a rack and cool completely.

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Eating Whole Lemons

I was watching the food network and saw Tyler Florence make a similar chicken cacciatore. I was intrigued by his use of lemons in the sauce. They are an amazing addition. After reducing the sauce you don’t see the lemons anymore, however they surprise your mouth and create a fresh burst of flavor in every bight. Serve this with fresh Parmesan shavings over mashed potatoes or polenta.

Chicken Cacciatore

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
salt and pepper
garlic powder
flour
oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
16 oz crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
parsley
3 anchovies
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon sugar

Cut the chicken into thin cutlets. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Lightly dust the chicken with the flour so that it is all just coated. Knock off the excess. In a large non-stick pot, heat a layer of oil on medium high heat. Fry the chicken in batches so that it is brown on both sides. Remove the chicken to a plate and wet aside.

Sautee the onion and garlic in the same pan and oil. Once the onions are browned and soft add in rest of the ingredients and stir. Simmer the sauce for at least one hour till it is reduced. When the sauce is a thick consistency and has a rich flavor, add back in the chicken and cook thoroughly.

Southern Comfort

I had some buttermilk left over from another project. As far as I’m concerned there are two preferred uses for buttermilk: fried chicken or biscuits. I love biscuits. They are super easy and a crowd favorite.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cup flour
½ cup dry powdered milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup melted butter, divided in half

In a large bowl, with a fork, mix the flour, powdered milk, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and cream of tartar till the pepper looks evenly distributed. Add the shortening and mash it into flour mixture. Keep mixing in the shortening until the flour gets an even course meal texture and it all looks slightly yellow.

Preheat the over to 450 degrease.

Stir in half of the melted butter and then the buttermilk. Switch to mixing with your hands. The mixture will be sticky. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then turn onto a floured surface and need the dough till smooth. Roll out the dough to a ½ inch thickness and cut into biscuits with a glass or round cookie cutter. Place the biscuits onto a silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown. Brush with the remaining melted butter.

Sausage and White Gravy

1 package frozen breakfast sausage links, thawed
2 cups milk
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sage
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons milk

Cook the sausage in a large skillet. Make sure you brown each side of the link. Remove the sausage to a plate. Add the milk to the same pan, deglazing the pan. Season the milk with salt, pepper, garlic powder and sage. Cook the mixture until boiling.

Mix the flour with the remaining milk and whisk it into the hot milk mixture. Keep stirring to thicken. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.